Monday, September 17, 2012

The Spencer Hill Press Summer Blog Run Finale--Mary Gray

The SPENCER HILL PRESS SUMMER BLOG RUN is coming to a close and gearing up toward the grand-prize, which is an extremely generous B&N Gift Card from all of the Spencer Hill Press authors, who have participated. 
More information for the grand prize will be on Monday, September 24th.

I am ever so pleased for my last author of the run to be, Mary Gray. 
Not to be confused with Mary Gary (it’s so painful when people do that!)

Once again, because I am thinking of my readers, I am providing all the links for you. Go checkout Mary on her webpage, Goodreads, and twitter. 
And the website is brand new with an integrated blog, and I finally got the Goodreads librarians to clear out all the extra books I had supposedly written. I’ve only written one book!

Mary, also, has a brand-spanking new facebook page, so please go over there and give her a like. 

Mary's debut novel, THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM, won't be released until Oct. 2013. I'm sure that seems like a lifetime from now, but we are going to give you a little bit here to keep her novel on your mind until release date.
What’s more, the cover will be released the week of October 8th of THIS year, so only a few weeks until I can share something!

The title of your debut sounds really creepy.  I like that. A lot! 
Thank you! I owe the brilliance to my awesome editor, Danielle Ellison, and her former roommate, Nate. It used to be called my fragility but we wanted the title to be something more concrete, while still relaying the connotation of fragile and creepy. It is a creepy read. J

Thank you so much for visiting and helping me wrap up the Spencer Hill Summer Blog Run, Mary.
And thank you so much for having me! I haven’t been interviewed in such a very long time!

*laser-beam show with the Trans Siberian Orchestra playing kickbutt music*
 Mary considers pitching a few aerials, but decides that probably wouldn’t be a good idea.

Throughout the different stages of life, share with us your favorite books.
Child: TEN LITTLE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED (My mom used to always act that one out)
Young adult: THE SNEECHES by Dr. Seuss (I used to perform that one over and over in competition)
Adult: Neal Shusterman’s UNWIND, Carrie Ryan’s THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, R.L. LaFever’s GRAVE MERCY, and Lucy Christopher’s STOLEN.

What book is on your nightstand, now?
AMAROK by Angela J. Townsend. A twitter buddy said she loved it so I can’t wait!

I'm reading that one, too, right now. YAY for Angela!

What author inspired you most?
Stephanie Meyer. It seems to be the popular thing to belittle her writing and her books, but it was only after reading her stories that I started writing my own. I always loved writing and English in school, but she showed me what it was like to get swept up in another world again.

Who is your number-one fan, and how does he/she support you?
My little sister. She always reads whatever I need her to look at and always has so many kind words. She gets what I’m trying to do—she’s not a writer herself, but we love all the same movies and books.

When did your love for writing sprout and why?
We were living in Virginia and I really wanted to move to Texas. My husband I were fighting about it constantly, and when I could see that we weren’t going to move anytime soon, I started writing in the afternoons and evenings when the kids were down. It helped me keep my mind off the fact that I wanted to move to Texas and I soon saw how fun it was to get swept up in my own worlds.

Can you tell us a bit about the first story you ever wrote?
It was called THE ETHOS and was actually picked up by a small press, though I halted the editing process when I could see that I didn’t want it to be my debut (it needed too much work, and I didn’t think my editor and I were a good fit). But it was about the descendants of Aristotle and how they embodied his ethos, logos, and pathos (ethics, logic, and persuasion) and used these persuasive tactics as super powers.

I see you're a stay-at-home mom, one of the hardest jobs in the world (I speak from experience). Do your children inspire your characters in your books.
I did have a character based off my daughter but ended up having to take her out in editing, but eventually I’m sure one will stick!

What steps do you take when writing?
My best writing takes place when I’m all alone and everything is quiet. I love to write in my car when there’s no internet access (when the weather cooperates) or else the library in a private study room. Sometimes I listen to music, but lately, not so much. I also work in spurts where I’ll read, read, read, or watch lots and lots of shows on Netflix, and then the writing bug will hit and I’ll do nothing but write.

How do you form your characters from thought to actually entities living within your words?
It’s been a very long process for me getting to know my characters. At first, they’re actually quite trite. But one idea at a time comes along and I’m able to see that side of their personality. At least, that’s how DOLLHOUSE has been (my characters were easier for me to see in my first book). But now they leap from the page and I owe a huge thanks to my editor for helping it happen. She had me do these character exercises where I had a day in the life of each character and identified aspects of their personalities (i.e. greatest weakness, what they want) and it helped so much. I will always use this process for future books.

Tell us a little about your world building.
I do best with one foot in the world and one out. (That’s why I always loved paranormal books.) For THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM though, my fantasy is mostly made up by the fear and otherworldly environment of an ordinary subdivision in the middle of nowhere. Lots and lots of fear. But for this story, I’ve learned to draw pictures of the scenes to help with the setting, and think about the props in the scenes like a play. This is something my editor has also helped me to do. I’m usually a directionless person, so the drawing bit helps. A lot.

Tell us some other hobbies you enjoy while not clacking away on a keyboard or running after kids.
Right now I’m obsessed with the show Supernatural (I get so much inspiration from TV shows and books). I also enjoy baking, basketball, and spending time with my husband, but honestly, since my kids are all so little I get very little time for myself, so I use the majority of that time immersed in other worlds.

Do you have a favorite recipe you would like to share with us?
Chicken and Dumplings (EASY crockpot recipe great for the fall)

1 lb. frozen chicken tenders
2 cans cream of chicken soup
¼ cup water
¼ cup onion
½ cup diced carrots
1 can Pillsbury biscuits

Dump everything but the biscuits in the crockpot and cook on high 3-5 hrs. Add the biscuits 30 min. before eating. Enjoy! (I love this recipe because it’s like a comfort food—so warm—but so easy when you have such little time.)

First thing to pop into your head….
Chocolate or vanilla? 
Vamps or werewolves or zombies?
Depends on the story. I love them all. I love the vampires in Vampire Diaries and the werewolves in Supernatural, and I absolutely fell in love with the zombies in THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH.
Shorts or slacks?
SHORTS! I live in Texas, after all!
Cupcakes or cookies?
If I make them, cookies. If Georgetown Cupcake makes them, cupcakes.
Hugh Jackman or Zac Efron?
Hugh Jackman! I love beardy men.


Most embarrassing moment in your life? (Unfortunately for you, you have to make this extremely good since you are the one closing the blog run...mua ha ha  *curls mustache with finger tips*)
When I eight months pregnant, I ran into the bathroom in Walmart once. But as I was taking care of business, I looked down to see this hairy foot. At first, I couldn’t makes sense of it. Why was there so much hair? And then I realized it was a man’s foot and I could just feel the tendrils of crimson running down my cheeks as I bolted past the five or so men outside the stall. It was only then that I noticed the urinals and realized there had only been two stalls.

Tell us a little about The Dollhouse Asylum:

This is the Publishers Marketplace listing:
Mary Gray’s THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM, in which a group of teenagers are granted asylum from the apocalypse–and then assigned new identities as famous, tragic literary couples and forced to reenact their stories… or die, to Kate Kaynak at Spencer Hill Press, in a nice deal, for publication in October 2013, by Kat Salazar at Larsen/Pomada Literary Agents (World English).

Where did the idea come from?
Again, I was living in Virginia at the time and kept dreaming of moving to Texas, and all I kept seeing was this terrified girl trapped in this perfect subdivision in the middle of nowhere. The love interest/villain had always been there, too (her captor, if you will). I knew she both loved and feared him and I wanted to explore their world.

How did you form the complexity of the plot?
Larry Brooks’ Story Structure helped A LOT. I also attended David Farland’s Professional Novel Writers Workshop before writing the plot that got me my agent (formerly, Kat Salazar). But the plotting has changed a fair amount as I’ve worked with Danielle to bring out the romance further (which is always good!) and better flesh out the relationship between my main character and the antagonist.

What do you like most about writing young adult?
It just resonates with me! I love how the young adult age is on the brink of everything. They’re not married yet (usually) and are in the throng of so many choices and yet so many things are holding them back (or so they feel). Like parents are usually a thorn in a young adult’s side. The choices they make then impact the rest of their lives and I feel like the young adult genre in literature is so vibrant and embraces trying new things. The emotions are so raw and real and I love the emphasis on romance. I need romance in my books. I love how young adults are so smart—they’re pretty much on par with adults (sometimes smarter!) and yet everything they feel is so intense, even heightened. I live to relive that when I write.

The Dollhouse Asylum blurb:
I’m not supposed to share that yet! But it will be available October 13th along with the cover, so just a few weeks!

Time for the Tantalizing Teaser Temptation ... .
Without going into too many specifics, allow me to just share why this story is so important to me. So many women are in love with someone that is so bad for them. This story is in large part for these women. For them to see that the emotions are very real, that the trauma isn’t all in your head, that it tears your heart out to figure it out.

Be sure to check out more information with the cover reveal and blurb during October on Mary's website! Here's the link, again.

For all the lucky people who stopped by, Mary is kind enough to give away...
A $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble—winner’s pick.

Just two things to enter:

1)  You have to follow my blog.  Need directions---scroll back up closer to the top, right hand side and click follow
2)  Since all the authors have shared an embarrassing moment, I thought it would be fun if the readers shared one of theirs.  Bwahaha!

Contest ends Saturday, Sept. 22nd.
Winners will be announced Sunday, Sept. 23rd.

Oh, and don’t forget, everyone who comments is automatically entered to win the grand prize of a Barnes and Noble gift card at the end of whole summer run. 

Thank you all for stopping by.  Please leave Mary a comment thanking her for her time and for the ultra-cool prize.


  1. Wow! Once again, it amazes me to see how much Stephenie Meyer inspired so many of us to write! This book sounds awesome, and I can't wait to read it!

  2. Can't wait to read Mary's book!!!! I will be one of the first in line when it comes out next year!!!!

  3. This book sounds so good! And I love Supernatural too. Great show and the two males leads are nice to look at. ;)

  4. Hahah thanks for the fun interview Mary, I may be trying that recipe! (Starved college student here) lol. Oh and onto embarrassing moments--try showering at a hotel, you know lathering up the shampoo then have the fire alarm go off.

    I grabbed a robe, shampoo still in my hair and dashed out with my family. Note I had no contacts in and the robe didn't have a tie so it wouldn't shut properly AND I was naked underneath. Yeah, I was also in the mountains of Colorado and it was cold. When you can't really see who is staring at you--you get paranoid. It

  5. What a great premise for a book. Can't wait to read the blurb (and the book). :)

  6. Kim, yes, she inspired so many of us!

    Kelly, when we finally meet we can gush over the Supernatural boys together. :)

    Elizabeth, man. Oh, man. My heart goes out to you. No tie? That must have been freezing! (Among other things.)

  7. I love the premise for your story and can't wait to read it. I'm also a big time Winchester Boys fan.

  8. And what an amazing tour it's been! Fabulous job.

    It's great to meet you, Mary. The book sounds like something I'd love. So glad J highlighted you. Off to check out your links.

  9. Yaaaaaaaay, Mary! You are so much awesome! :D Can't wait to read all the creepiness! I better be on the ARC list for this one! :D

  10. Mary, I also love Supernatural. Castiel fan all the way! Great interview and best of luck with your book!

  11. What a fabulous interview and I love the book title!! I am already extremely intrigued.

  12. Glad you guys like the title! A bit of clarification: Danielle reminded me it was her room mate, Derrick, who came up with the name.

  13. Love this blog series! Great interview!

    Um, embarrassing moment? One that comes to mind is when I took my then-2-year-old boy into the bathroom at the airport and he asked me (as loudly as possible, of course) where my penis was. LOL. I had to tell him I don't have one, and he asked why, and so on. I could hear snickers from at least two other stalls...

    1. LOL!! You should have told him it fell off.

  14. Lol mary it sure didn't help tht my younger brother was laghing at me! Thanks again forf the intervew n fun contest!

  15. I love Mary, and can't wait for October 2013 to arrive so I can finally read her book!

  16. Definitely going to have to try this recipe.