The character Dolly is introduced in quite an unusual way, but what interests me most as a writer is how long you are able to keep him on the fence between alive and dead. A close read indicates that with some careful word choices and a lot of sensory observation you were able to extend the reader's imagination into a childlike realm. Is he alive? Is he dead? Is he in between? You seem to go for "all of the above," and you manage it quite well. This is just one example of many in the novel where you are able to tap into Ren's "suspension of all belief," to flip a familiar phrase to its opposite. At the heart of this, I think, is the craft of writing from a child's perspective. Would you please talk about writing in third person with a child as the primary character? This is a maneuver that many writers find difficult to pull off, but you do it with success.
Writing in a third person limited POV is certainly a challenge, and when you add to the mix that the perspective is that of a child, it makes it even more difficult. There were many sections that I had to cut, because I realized in revisions that Ren would probably not have access to that comparative description or thought. I had to remind myself—how does Ren put this into context? And I realized that I had to keep going back to his own experiences at Saint Anthony's Orphanage. That was his only point of reference. But a child also learns quickly, so by the end of the book I could open his descriptions to a broader place.
As for Dolly, his sections were actually the first I wrote in the book. The first scene I put down was the one where they dig him up, and then I wrote the chapter that follows, where he becomes friends with Ren. I knew from the start that this novel was going to be about resurrection, of a physical and spiritual nature, so I wanted Dolly to stay in-between worlds. In those scenes, I also tried to stay very close to Ren's view of things, focusing on his five senses, so that the reader could experience the fear and wonder alongside him, as well as the magic.