Tuesday, October 14, 2014

YA Horror/Thriller Spooktacular Day 10 - Mary: The Summoning

For the interview today I have a debut author whose first novel just screams to be read at night, possibly by candle light, and might give you nightmares.  Hillary Monahan wrote a book about one of the most prolific ghosts of all time, Bloody Mary, and she's here to talk about spooky things, like her book and ghosts.  Please give her a super warm welcome!

Peace, Love, Teen Fiction:  We need the basics to start with, tell us about Mary: The Summoning in no more than 10 words.

Hillary Monahan:  Four teenaged girls summon Bloody Mary in a bathroom mirror.

PLTF:  For those people who might not know can you also describe the myth of Bloody Mary?

HM:  I'm going to give you two answers.  In England, Bloody Mary is the ghost of the dead queen, Mary 1, who got her nickname after she executed droves of Protestants in the 1500s. 
Americanized Bloody Mary showed up in the 1960s.  The only common dominators for the ritual is the name said three times, darkness, and a candle in a bathroom.  Number of girls vary from one to three or four.  Even the name of the ghost changes.  Mary's Stateside origins lack consistency.  She' been everything from a more traditional woman-in-white ghost to a woman scorned to a bullied teenager.

PLTF:  Why did you choose the Bloody Mary myth/legend?  And were there any other myths/legends in the running to begin with?

HM:  I chose it because I wanted to write about something that scared me as a teenager.  It's what I knew.  Take a personal terror, write some circles around it, and then some bigger circles around it.  Voila.  Fleshed-out ghost.
And yes, there were other urban legends in contention.  You may yet see them one day. I 'm particularly interested in the Hook Hand urban legend. 

PLTF:  If you were going to write about another myth/urban legend which one would it be?

HM:  I think I accidentally answered this already.  Oops.  MY BAD.

PLTF:  What’s next?

HM:  Finishing Mary 2 and then I'm delving into a middle grade novel.  I just finished a book about a Mean Girl who dies and the stepsister investigating the Mean Girl's death.  It's a black comedy tackling grief and identity in the wake of a tragedy. 
After that, more horror.  It's never far from my thoughts.  There's an adult horror to be penned with my bestie Lauren Roy (out with NIGHT OWLS from Ace Books) the beginning of next year.  Lovecraftian style horror with tentacles and old cults.  It should be fun!

Lightning round
1.     On a scale of 1 to 10 how scary is your book?  This is hard to answer.  For me?  A five.  I feel this is introductory horror.

2.     If you were a character in your book would you survive?  No.

3.     Favorite scary movie?  The Exorcist.

4.     Favorite Halloween candy?  Twix.

5.     What were you last year for Halloween or what do you plan on being this year?  I actually think I'm going to go as Mary for Halloween.  Is that meta?  It might be meta.  
This or that
1.     Ghosts or monsters?  Ghosts.
2.     Summon her or chicken out?  Chicken out.
3.     Myths/legends or true stories?  Myths.
4.     Lights on or lights off?  Off.
5.     Tricks or treats? Treats. :D

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her. 

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go. 

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror. 

Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?

Find Mary: The Summoning on

Hillary is in her early thirties and lives in a lovely little suburb just south of Boston with her horror dork husband. They have three basset hounds and three cats.  They're suckers for punishment. At least, Hillary is. The husband just gives her what I want because listening to her piss and moan is no fun.
At night, when the lights are dim and the creepy crawlies scuttle around in the dark, she throw words at her computer.  Sometimes they’re even good words. Her YA horror MARY: The Summoning was published  9/2/2014 by Disney Hyperion. Her lit agent is Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Agency.
She tends to blog about writing. And horror movies. And whatever other random thing is on her brain at the moment because she has the attention span of a goldfish. Questions or comments, feel free to reach out to her. She doesn't bite often, so it’s relatively safe!
Find Hillary on

1 comment:

  1. Mary DeBorde
    I can't wait to read this, and how cool that book #2 is nearly finished!! Btw the cover art for Mary is really good! :)