2015 Spooktacular Day 7 - Mindy McGinnis + Giveaway

Sorry that I didn't get this up yesterday, but I have some cool news, I got an email back from one of the authors I asked for an interview and it contained answers to the questions I had sent, so instead of this being the last day of the Spooktacular there's actually one more day!  That being said Today's author is the wonderful

Mindy McGinnis

who is here to talk about her first YA horror novel

A Madness So Discreet

The Interview;

Once Upon A Teen Reader:  Using no more than 10 words how would you describe A MADNESS SO DISCREET? 

Mindy McGinnis: Gothic historical thriller set in an insane asylum.

OUATR: You went from a post-apocalyptic wasteland to a 1890's insane asylum, what prompted the staggering change in scenery, or at least time period (seeing as I think they are both actually set in Ohio)? 

MM: They are both set it Ohio, yes! As far as prompting the huge change, I'm varied in my storytelling. I read across all genres and so I write across them as well. There is always one story that supersedes the others, and MADNESS just happened to be what percolated after I was finished with NOT A DROP TO DRINK and IN A HANDFUL OF DUST

OUATR: Not only did you have regular historical information to get right, you also had some criminal psychology and medical history to get right.  What kind of research did you do while writing this book?

MM: I researched for an entire year before writing a word of this book. There was much to learn – the beginnings of criminal psychology, the history of asylum medicine (both the good and the bad), and of course historical details in general. What kind of lighting would be in a room in 1890? What would an asylum inmate be wearing? I’m very particular, and there were days when I couldn’t finish a sentence without doing half an hour of research in order to make sure I got it (hopefully) right.

The specific setting – the Athens Lunatic Asylum in Ohio – has an amazing history. You can do a quick Google and learn about how it’s one of the most haunted places in the world and hear horror stories about the graveyard. And while I’m a fan of the supernatural, I’m also a fan of data. That type of history doesn’t interest me, because most of it quite frankly, just isn’t true.

The Athens asylum was actually an amazing model of humane treatment for the insane. If you were crazy (or just unlucky enough to be deemed so) in 1890, it was a good place to land. One of my best resources for the history of the asylum was Asylum On The Hill: History of A Healing Landscape, by Katherine Ziff. If you’d like to learn more about the actual history of the Athens Lunatic Asylum give it a shot.

I also toured the buildings, which are now part of the Ohio University campus. You can’t go into the patient wards for safety reasons (they are literally crumbling), but some parts of the building are currently in use as staff offices as well as an art gallery. The gallery is open to the public, and when you visit you can see original floors, staircases and woodwork from the insane asylum years. Definitely hit up my Pinterest board if you want to see some pics from my tour!

You can most definitely repost some of my pics from Pinterest, just make sure if you use any of the older ones that you use the attribution that I did, b/c some of those actually belong to University Archives.

OUATR: Not only is Grace struggling with being pregnant in a time where that's taboo, but she's also struggling with a madness that twists her mind.  How did you go about writing a character that may not be able to trust everything she was seeing or hearing?

MM: Being in touch with our own dark sides is an important part of fully understanding who you are. I use writing to learn about myself in that way, so I'm familiar with what it's like to really consider the parts of yourself that aren't that pretty, or socially acceptable. 

OUATR: You have two novels set to be published in the next two years, what can you tell us about them?

MM: In the future you'll be getting a dark contemporary - rape revenge and vigilante justice - titled THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES (Fall, 2016 from Katherine Tegen Books) and also GIVEN TO THE SEA, the first in a fantasy series, coming Spring 2017 from Penguin/Putnam.

Fast Five;

1. On a scale of 1 to 10 how scary would you say your book is?  I think that really depends on what you think is scary. I personally find the reality of how horrible people can be to each other much more frightening than anything supernatural -- so if we're talking that kind of scary - a 10.

2. Would you survive in your own book?  Honestly, probably not. I have a terrible temper and would be blowing up and running my mouth off at the asylum staff... which wouldn't end well. Grace is smart enough to keep her mouth shut and her head down.

3. What is your favorite scary movie?  Hitchcock's Vertigo

4. Favorite Halloween candy? Reese's peanut butter pumpkins

5. What YA horror/thriller would you recommend? ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE by Kate Karyus Quinn

The Book;

Title: A Madness So Discreet
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Series: n/a
Published October 6, 2015
Add it on Goodreads

Grace Mae knows madness.
She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.
When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

Buy the book on Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | The Book Depository 

The Author;

Mindy McGinnis is an assistant YA librarian who lives 

in Ohio and cans her own food. She graduated from 

Otterbein University magna cum laude with a BA in 

English Literature and Religion. Mindy has a pond in 

her back yard but has never shot anyone, as her 

morals tend to cloud her vision.

Find her on Her Website | Twitter | Facebook

The Giveaway;

I ended up with an extra copy of Mindy's newest novel and have decided that this is probably the best place to give it away.  Mindy also said she would offer up a signed copy of NOT A DROP TO DRINK so someone will win both of those, all you have to do is enter the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2015 Spooktacular Day 6 - Katie Alender

There's just one day of the Spooktacular left after this, but today I'm super pleased to bring you an interview from

Katie Alender

who is here to talk about her newest book

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall

The interview;

Once Upon A Teen Reader: How would you describe THE DEAD GIRLS OF HYSTERIA HALL in no more than 10 words?

Katie Alender: Unmanageable girl becomes unmanageable ghost; faces off with haunted house. 

OUATR: You've penned 6 YA novels and all of them fall into the category of horror/thriller.  Is there something in particular that drew you to that genre?

KA: It’s funny, because I never set out to be part of the horror genre. I honestly didn’t even know my first book was scary until my agent told me it was. I just thought it was a book about a teenage girl who happened to have a bit of a ghost problem. What’s made it easy to continue in this genre is that I love the stakes in a ghost story — it’s all or nothing for most of my characters. That brings a lot of issues to the forefront, which is great for a writer. I joke with some of my horror writer friends that I wouldn’t know how to plot a book where there wasn’t someone trying to murder everybody. What do the characters do with their time when they’re not running for their lives?

OUATR: All of your novels also feature ghosts/spirits. Why did you decide to go the paranormal route for all of them and do you think you might one day write one that falls into the contemporary genre?

KA: For me, the paranormal is tied closely to the idea of horror. So in my mind it’s not a separate motivation. That’s just my “neighborhood” as a writer. Occasionally I’ll get an idea that’s more romance/contemporary, but as I said before, my mind boggles at the thought of actually writing one.

OUATR: Your newest novel takes place in a former insane asylum, which seems to be the quintessential horror setting.  What was it like writing a story set in one?  Is the one in your book based off of any real ones and either way what kind of research did you do to make it seem more real?

KA: I did some research. There are some amazing photos and stories online that give you a sense of what the mental healthcare situation in the US used to be like. But I didn’t base the Piven Institute on any actual institution. I did my research to get a base knowledge, and then I kind of veered off to create an environment that would be a solid and effective setting for the story.

OUATR: What's next for you?

KA: A new book! But I can’t say anything about it because the ink’s not dry on the deal yet… not to mention it doesn’t have a title! I’m a little behind, and I’m hoping to jump on the NaNoWriMo bandwagon to push myself to get it done in time for the deadline.

Fast four;

1. On a scale of 1 to 10 how scary would you say your book is?  Oh, gosh. I truly have no idea. This one, I think is more of a creepy mystery, and the “scares” aren’t really “jump out at you” scares, but more a sort of horror/dread that I hope builds as the book goes along. But as the writer, I never have any clue whether anything I write is actually scary or not. In the past I’ve written a few scenes in various books where I thought, “Now this actually is scary,” but overall I’m completely clueless about what’s going to spook people.

2. Would you survive in your own book?  Well, the main character doesn’t even survive so I’d say my chances would be pretty slim!

3. What is your favorite scary movie?  The Others, with Nicole Kidman. It’s the perfect scary movie for me — especially because there is no gore! I can’t handle slasher-style horror movies or anything gross.

4. Favorite Halloween candy?  All of it. I like a good balance. My daughter is three now so I’m afraid my free-for-all days of raiding her loot are over. 

The Book;

Title: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall
Author: Katie Alender
Publisher: Point
Series: n/a
Published August 25, 2015
Add it on Goodreads

In this asylum, your mind plays tricks on you all the time…
Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females—an insane asylum nicknamed “Hysteria Hall.” However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.
But the house still wants to keep “troubled” girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia gets trapped.
And that’s when she learns that the house is also haunted.
Ghost girls wander the halls in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia finds that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, as well, harbors shocking truths within its walls—truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.
But she’ll need to act quickly, before the house’s power overtakes everything she loves.

The Author;

Katie Alender (rhymes with “calendar”!) grew up in South Florida, where she attended high school at the Palm Beach County School of the Arts, studying Communication Arts. After graduating, she studied film at the Florida State University Film School, and then moved to Los Angeles, where she worked in TV development and production for several years, including a long stint producing dog shows for Animal Planet.
In her spare time, she enjoys writing, reading, sewing (especially quilts), practicing yoga, photography, visiting friends’ blogs, and hanging out with her family.
Find her on Her Website | Facebook | Twitter

2015 Spooktacular Day 5 - Scott Sigler + Giveaway

Today's author is actually one that I asked last year (which is why the questions are a little different), but he was so busy that it took him a while to get back to me, and thus here he is this year.  I'm happy to introduce

Scott Sigler

whose first novel directed more toward YA audiences came out.


is the first book in the Generations Trilogy!

The Interview;

Once Upon A Teen Reader: Straight to the point, can you describe Alive in 10 or less words?

Scott Sigler: LORD OF THE FLIES meets SAW. 

OUATR: Your books have all been geared towards adults in the past (although I think I read Infected when I was just over 13), have you toned down the blood and gore in this novel or left it on par with your previous books and why?

SS: Quantity-wise, yes. Quality-wise, no — there are some deeply visceral scenes in ALIVE that will make many readers wince. The fact that it’s being marketed as YA will, if anything, set those scenes up as far more shocking to the reader. As for the “why,” I don’t tell the story what needs to be done, it tells me. There is a slow build in ALIVE where the characters are struggling to deal with a reality that defies explanation. They are lost and alone. The horror of these emotions takes center stage. Once they start to take control of their situation, once they start to fight, that’s when things get crazy. In my opinion, ALIVE maintains a general theme of my work: if you want blood, you got it. 

OUATR: It sounds like this novel is going to play at some very real fears a lot of people have (being buried alive, being left for dead, ect), did you incorporate any of your own fears into the book and if so what are they?

SS: I watched my grandfather wither away with dementia due to Alzheimers. I was a teenager when it happened. At the time, it scared the lining hell out of me to watch this loving, brilliant man stare at his own flesh and blood and not know who they were. He couldn’t remember his own daughter. That stretch of time drastically shaped my outlook on life — Grampa’s hardware was working just fine, but the software was forever corrupt, permanently scrambled. When I began to understand that end might be hereditary in my family, I felt deep fear imagining what it would be like to have my knowledge of the world gradually fade away. I dug deep into that emotion for ALIVE. Our characters are teens, but for all intents and purposes they are just like my grampa — floundering in a hell of memory fragments where you know just enough to realize that your memories are gone.

OUATR: What’s next?

SS: Next is ALIGHT, the sequel to ALIVE and Book II in the Generations Trilogy. ALIGHT is scheduled for a 2016 release. So much of the ALIVE experience revolves around the reader discovering the world at the same time the characters do, so I can’t even give a partial teaser about what happens in Book II for fear of spoiling Book I. What I can say is that those characters who do survive ALIVE are going to feel the heat crank even higher in ALIGHT. Things are going to get nasty. 

Fast Five;

1.On a scale of 1 to 10 how scary is your book?  I think ALIVE is about a 6. There are severe moments of intense creepiness, but it shouldn’t get anyone nightmares. Well, not a lot of nightmares, anyway. The frightening bits of ALIVE  are deeper than jumping-cat scares. The books philosophical elements speak to the human nature of divisiveness that is embedded in our core — if we move past sexism and racism, what new reasons will we find to hate each other?  

2.If you were a character in your book would you survive? I think so

3. Favorite scary movie?  ALIENS is the end-all be-all of scary movies. It’s an absolute masterpiece of physical terror and strangle-you-to-death story pacing. 

4. Fight or die?  Fight. Always. And a quote from alive: “If you run, they will hunt you — kill your enemy and you are forever free.”

5.Tricks or treats?  Treats!!

The Book;

Title: Alive
Author: Scott Sigler
Publisher: Del Ray
Series: The Generations Triology #1
Published July 14, 2015
Add it on Goodreads

A young woman awakes trapped in an enclosed space. She has no idea who she is or how she got there. With only her instincts to guide her, she escapes her own confinement—and finds she’s not alone. She frees the others in the room and leads them into a corridor filled with the remains of a war long past. The farther these survivors travel, the worse are the horrors they confront. And as they slowly come to understand what this prison is, they realize that the worst and strangest possibilities they could have imagined don’t even come close to the truth.

 The Author;

New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler is the creator of fifteen novels, six novellas and dozens of short stories. His works are available from Crown Publishing and Del Rey Books.
In 2005, Scott built a large online following by releasing his audiobooks as serialized podcasts. A decade later, he still gives his stories away — for free — every Sunday at scottsigler.com. His loyal fans, who named themselves “Junkies,” have downloaded over thirty-five million individual episodes.

Find him on His Website | Twitter | Facebook

The Giveaway;

I have one copy of ALIVE to give to someone!  All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter below and you're all set.  And yes, this giveaway is international! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway