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


  1. Wow, cool interview! I like candy corn during Halloween. Love the cover!

  2. Uhh, I like the less than 10 words description. And quite honestly, girls in white, old-fashioned Nightgowns creep out ever since I watched "The Ring". Quite the combo with the mental health facility...
    Cannot wait to read the last interview in the spooktacular series. Loved all of the so far. :)

  3. AH! I'm so excited for this book too!