Saturday, September 14, 2013

YA Debut Author Bash: Mary Gray, Author of The Dollhouse Asylum {Interview+Giveaway}

Debut Authors Bash at

I am so exctied to be part of this year's Debut Author Bash hosted by YA Reads!
And I'm honored to host
author of The Dollhouse Asylum

The Dollhouse Asylum
The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray
Release Date: October 22nd, 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press 

Goodreads Summary:
A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields--a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus--she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.

At first, Elysian Fields,with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne's heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.

The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now "Persephone," and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.

If they play it right, then they'll be safe.

But if they play it wrong, they'll die.

Hi Mary! It's awesome having you here today. So let's get started!

1. Describe The Dollhouse Asylum in less than 10 words.
 Teens forced to reenact tragic literary couples or die.

2. Who's your favorite Dollhouse Asylum character? Who was the hardest character to write?
 The villain, Teo, is by far my favorite. When I wrote him, he felt so real, and I still have a crush on him. He’s that passionate, broody guy we shouldn’t like but do anyway, and he’s so smart and poetic, and…. Ahhh.

3. How many drafts did you have to write for The Dollhouse Asylum until it was exactly what you wanted?
Before I landed my agent? Five. After I signed with my editor? Five or six more. A lot.

4. Was the publication process for your book just as you thought it would be or was it easier/harder?
 I knew it was hard going into it, but I think the hardest part is learning just how much I had to learn about storytelling and writing. We all think we have an awesome story, but then people pick it apart and you think they’re nuts, but then industry professionals pick it apart, too, and you realize how much there is to learn—even more so than you thought. The trickiest part for me is finding the balance between believing in yourself and being humble enough to learn what you need to learn next. I’m still working on it. I think it’s a delicate balance. (Sidenote: it’s actually one of the themes of my book.)

5. Is writing hard or a natural thing for you?

Both. I’m happiest when I’m writing, but my everyday job makes it hard to happen. I have three little ones at home now, and sometimes I say writing is the exact wrong profession to get into—it’s impossible to write when they’re around. That said, I’m not sure I would have turned to writing so fervently if I didn’t have my kids. It’s an escape for me, and my husband watches the kids for me one night a week so I can write earlier one evening when I still feel fresh. I also recently joined the YMCA which has been invaluable for brainstorming while I work out.

6. Favorite part about being an author?
 When someone connects with your writing—you feel like it was all worth it. As a writer, my favorite part is when the ideas are sizzling and you have the time and ability to write them down. It’s the best sort of natural high. I live for that.

7. Any writing quirks?
My writing friends tease me that I do everything I can to write with my laptop on my lap (which can make it awkward when we’re at a restaurant). I also love to say what I’m writing out loud, but rarely get to do that. 

8. Any song inspirations that helped you write certain scenes?
 Muse helped A LOT when I was writing earlier drafts. Also, my sister’s band has a few songs that match the brooding tone of the book perfectly (you can hear part of one of the songs in the trailer for my book).

9. Any characters inspired by real people in your life?
 The villain definitely is, but you’d have to drag me by wild horses to learn who I based him on.

10. Do you think The Dollhouse Asylum would be better suited as a movie or t.v series?
 A movie, definitely, since it’s a standalone book.

11. Have you read any good YA reads that you would recommend?
 I always rave about Robin LaFevers’ Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph. Also Neal Shusterman’s Unwind, and his latest, Unwholy. Amazing, twisted books. I’m in the middle of Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart and both my husband and I are loving it, which never happens. My eight year old stole it and finished it a while back saying it rocked.

12. Do you have any new books or ideas for the future?
 No official future books yet, but I’m working, always working. Not as quickly as I’d like, but when the kids are all old enough to be in school, I’ll be faster.

13. If someone were to see you in a random public place where would it be and why?
 Last night I was tucked in a chair in the corner of Starbucks, or you might see me writing in my car if the weather’s not too cold or hot. Last night I creeped up on a street that actually had a recent tragic event and I saw this shady news van, and *goose bumps* I wrote an opening scene for a new book and totally wigged myself out.

14. What would you most likely fangirl about (t.v series, movie cast, actor, author, etc.)?
 Ah, there are so many! I already mentioned Robin LaFevers and Neal Shusterman. Also Tahereh Mafi, Carrie Ryan, Victoria Schwabb, Kendare Blake. For shows? I’m huge fans of Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twisted, Pretty Little Liars, the Bachelor/Bachelorette (pretend you didn’t read that), Vampire Diaries, and loved Lost, Alias, and Prison Break a few years back.

15. Which YA character would you like to hang out with for a day?
 Hard question! I actually love the melancholy natures of Mary in The Forest and Hands and Teeth and Bella in Twilight (no tomatoes, please!) but if I wanted a good laugh, I’d say the best friend in Insomia. That boy is hilarious!

Any phobias? Strawberries. Just ew. And snakes. And sleezy guys.

Favorite superhero? I’d have to say Batman as portrayed by Christian Bale. Yum.

Favorite t.v show? Er. See above?

Unicorn or bunny apocalypse? Ha! I’d have to say unicorns. Horses are pretty.

Celebrity crush? Milo Ventimiglia (he’d make a great Teo, my villain). Also, Ian Somerhaulder, Jeremy Renner, Josh Hutcherson, Gerard Butler… give me a few hours and I could give you pages more.

Favorite literary couple? Not telling!! That’s why you have to read my book!

More about Mary Gray:
Mary Gray has a fascination with all things creepy. That’s why all her favorite stories usually involve panic attacks and hyperventilating. In real life, she prefers to type away on her computer, ogle over her favorite TV shows, and savor fiction. When she’s not immersed in other worlds, she and her husband get their exercise by chasing after their three children. The Dollhouse Asylum is her first novel.



  1. Can I say Juliette & Warner from the Shatter Me series? If I put it out there maybe it might come true in Ignite Me :)

  2. My favorite couple? Urghhh this is HARD. I'm going to just list a few I love: Alyssa(I think I spelled her name wrong) and Jeb. Jericho and Evie from The Diviners, Gansey and Blue from The Raven Boys, and lastly, Lissa and Christian from Vampire Academy.

  3. I'm so excited to read this book! I just received a copy of it last week. Hope it's good!

    Thanks for hosting!

  4. Wow, that sounds very creepy and quite intriguing!

  5. That's such an insanely hard question but probably Darcy and Elizabeth from classic lit, and Chaol and Celaena from my recently read books.

  6. Hmmm.... I'm gonna have to say.... Kaylee and Tod from Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series. I just loved them together so much. I never liked Kaylee with Nash... He just wasn't right for her!

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway! I'm so excited for this one!

  7. This sounds great! Definitely on my to read list.

  8. I know this is a lot of people's answer, but I still have to say Peeta and Katniss. I just freaking love that series.

    On another note, I am SO excited to read The Dollhouse Asylum!!! It has been on my Goodreads TBR list for so long now, it would be so cool to win it!!!!

  9. I actually really love Harry and Ginny. Fun to see them develop through friendship into a couple instead of going instantly into infatuation.

  10. I have so many, but my most recent one would be Eleanor and Park.


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