Friday, October 10, 2014

YA Horror/Thriller Spooktacular Day 8 - Sanctum

Very rarely do I get the chance to interview a NYT bestselling author, and so when I asked for an interview I didn't actually think I would get it, but I did.  So today I present to you an interview with an author whose novels have been compared to Ransom Rigg's bestselling Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  Please give a big warm welcome to Madeleine Roux.

Peace, Love, Teen Fiction:  Let’s start with something simple; can you describe your Asylum series in no more than 15 words?

Madeleine Roux:  Troubled boy discovers a frightening past that will define his future.

PLTF:  What was it like using picture to help enhance the reader’s experience?

MR:  It's an exciting opportunity, really, because it adds an extra dimension to the story. Not all of the photos are directly related to the text, it's not always a description followed by a corresponding image. Sometimes the photos are there to provide atmosphere and keep the reader immersed in the world of the books.

PLTF:  Where did you find the pictures you used and do you have a favorite/one that scares you?

MR:  The photos are a collaboration with an extremely talented and hardworking team at HarperCollins. Many of them are curated from archives and others are especially set up and shot for the series. It's almost impossible to pick a favorite, but the shot on the back of SANCTUM has really been growing on me. I think it perfectly sets the tone for the vintage carnival with a twist flavor to the book.

PLTF:  Your books are set in what was once an asylum for the criminally insane, what kind of research did you do to get the detail right?

MR:  There's a wealth of information about the checkered past of mental health care in this country and elsewhere. It's incredible to realize how far mental health care has come just in the last fifty years or so. We still have a long way to go, I think, in terms of removing the stigma and fear surrounding mental health issues, but there are patient files, photos, essays, books, pretty much every kind of resource available to learn more about how we used to approach these illnesses. Some of the hardest research was just looking at real photos of people who were not treated well at all, who were more or less cast aside because their issues were misunderstood or demonized. I went through dozens and dozens of patient cards, where it listed the details of their illness, the subsequent treatment and how "well" it was working. It's chilling stuff, because we know better now, but back then some very barbaric treatments were considered the height of medical science. You have to manage your shock, because you're watching the evolution of an entire field of medicine.

PLTF:  What’s next?

MR:  That's tricky! I can't divulge much about the future of the series, but I should have some announcements for readers soon. For now I'm heading into a big promotional stretch for SANCTUM, and I'll be on the Dark Days Tour this October.

Lightning round

1.  On a scale of 1 to 10 how scary is your book?

7? I'd say it's more atmospheric, less scary.

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

I think so, I like to think I have a strong sense of self-preservation.

3. Favorite scary movie?

Cabin in the Woods

4. Favorite Halloween candy?

Almond Joy

5. What were you last year for Halloween or what do you plan on being this year?

Last year I was a Russian Jaeger pilot from Pacific Rim, I'm not sure about this year. I do a fair bit of costuming throughout the year, and cosplayers never seem to have anything together for Halloween. A few people have suggested Cressida from the Hunger Games because of my hair.

This or that

1. Asylums or creepy carnivals?


2. Genius or insanity?


3. Reveal secrets or keep them buried?

Keep 'em buried

4. Return to the asylum or stay away?

Stay far, far away

5. Tricks or treats?

Treats, please!


For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it's a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it's no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux's teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

SANCTUM (Highlight for synopsis as it contains spoilers for ASYLUM)

Dan, Abby, and Jordan remain traumatized by the summer they shared in the Brookline asylum. Much as they'd love to move on, someone is determined to keep the terror alive, sending the teens photos of an old-timey carnival, with no note and no name. Forsaking their plan never to go back, the teens return to New Hampshire College under the guise of a weekend for prospective students, and there they realize that the carnival from the photos is not only real, it's here on campus, apparently for the first time in many years.

Sneaking away from sample classes and college parties, Dan and his friends lead a tour of their own—one through the abandoned houses and hidden places of the surrounding town. Camford is hiding a terrible past, and the influence of the asylum runs deeper than Dan ever imagined.

Find Asylum on

Find Sanctum on

MADELEINE ROUX received her BA in Creative Writing and Acting from Beloit College in 2008.  In the spring of 2009, Madeleine completed an Honors Term at Beloit College, proposing, writing and presenting a full-length historical fiction novel.  Shortly after, she began the experimental fiction blog Allison Hewitt Is Trapped.  Allison Hewitt Is Trapped quickly spread throughout the blogosphere, bringing a unique serial fiction experience to readers.

Born in Minnesota, she now lives and works in Los Angeles where she enjoys the local beer and preparing for the eventual and inevitable zombie apocalypse.

Find Madeleine on

1 comment:

  1. Mary DeBorde
    I really enjoy Madeleine's stories, especially Allison Hewitt is Trapped! Can't wait to read her newest! You know, I've also read a fair amount regarding the unsavory years of mental health *treatments* and they were grim, especially the so called 'Cold Water Cure' :P