In Damned, Chuck Palahniuk's 13-year-old narrator, Madison Spencer, met Satan in hell. Now, in Doomed (out October 8 from Doubleday), she's cast into purgatory, a ghost among the living on Earth.
Madison's story is part horror, part hilarity. Why this choice? I like the disconnect between horrific things and how they're depicted. So something awful is really happening, but it's told through the eyes of a child -- that makes it bearable.
She returns to a life of Steiff teddy bears and yachts -- these cartoonish trappings of wealth. The books started when I was caring for my mother during the last stages of her cancer. It was such an isolating experience, and I wanted to write about it without putting off the reader. I put it in terms of the luxury experience, like merging her sick room and the rest of her house.
So what's on tap for the Doomed book tour? My writer friends and I have been doing these big bedtime events: the venues serve alcohol; we provide prizes, toys, games. It's like a big slumber party, but with adult stories. We want to reconnect with the context of reading that initially engaged us as children: the bedtime story.