Friday, October 11, 2013

Blog Tour & Guest Post: The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray

 
A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields--a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus--she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.

At first, Elysian Fields,with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne's heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.

The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now "Persephone," and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.

If they play it right, then they'll be safe.

But if they play it wrong, they'll die.
 
It’s been fascinating to read reviews about my villain. Some confess, almost guiltily, to be in love with him (despite their better judgment) others state he’s awesome as a villain but aren’t all that star struck; and some readers absolutely despise him—his treatment of Cheyenne, and see zero redeeming qualities in his behavior in Elysian Fields.
 
It’s natural for us all to respond differently. That’s how relationships are: we don’t all connect with the same people. Further, we can’t all connect with the same books. But in writing Teo, I thought I’d share exactly what went into him, and why I wrote him the way I did.
 
Growing up, I watched a couple of abusive relationships. Nothing physical (mostly), but it was
emotional abuse, where the men played with the emotions of the girls. I saw how both parties loved each other (even in the men’s twisted and selfish ways, they did love their girls) and what the women would do to try to appease them, make things work. It’s a dark, dark feeling to be around that type of relationship. I would feel so heavy, so miserable that the discomfort became almost physical, a tangible pain.
 

 As a person who’s susceptible to others’ emotions, I feel like I know a little about the sufferings of these women. Empathy, in fact, can be my greatest liability—I want to please others so much that it becomes a fault. That’s where Teo came in. I saw this dark, foreboding, amazingly charismatic person who I was terrified of (just like the men in my real life) but this person was my own personal kryptonite—I became obsessed with him, much like the women were devoted to the men in their lives. I loved his passion for books and math and theater and music and wanted to wrap my arms around him and kiss him. I wanted to go places with him. Listen to him.  I heard his reproaches, and yearned to hear his words of approval, yet inched away when his wrath might be kindled. He still lurks.
How often have we seen an unhealthy devotion such as this? We are in the third wave of feminism, so most women in the US understand how to stand up for themselves, but what of the women who haven’t, who flounder about in an abusive relationship? What goes on in their heads? I wrote a post about Cheyenne, specifically, which you can read in the blog tour; for the purposes of this post, though, I’d like to focus solely on the antagonist.
 
Finally, a word about Marcus. Because, how can you understand the dark without understanding the light? My husband’s love has been instrumental in my character development for Marcus, how healthy love should make you feel good inside, build you up, never make you feel like you’re doing too much or not enough. Marcus holds a joy I hope all of us can find in our relationships. I didn’t write him to make a “love triangle,” but for contrast so we can more clearly see the budding good relationship amidst the corrosive one. If you’d still like a label, I’d prefer to say THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM is about a “love ladder.” Cheyenne has to climb the rungs of the ladder to escape the darkness below and find Marcus waiting at the top (and in his case, with Slurpees from Seven Eleven).
 
As I said in Cheyenne’s post, this story is for those people entangled in emotionally harmful
relationships. Or, for those people who aren’t, to let them see the darkness, pain, and treachery
they’ve escaped. I suppose I’m not surprised that THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM hits a nerve
for many readers (how could she love him like that?!?!) but if you look close enough, amidst
the stabbing, tongue cutting, and lions and snakes, you’ll find a story about a girl who comes to
grips that this sort of relationship doesn’t belong in her life. And, in congruence with her mild
mannered personality, she takes care of it.
 
About the Author:
 
 
Mary Gray has a fascination with all things creepy. That's why all her favorite stories usually involve panic attacks and hyperventilating. In real life, she prefers to type away on her computer, ogle over her favorite TV shows, and savor fiction. When she's not immersed in other worlds, she and her husband get their exercise by chasing after their three children. The Dollhouse Asylum is her first novel.
 
 
Thank you so much again Mary for stopping by with a guest post and for including me in this fabulous tour! 
 
Be sure to check out the rest of the stops along the way for the tour, you won't want to miss out on all the great interviews, guest posts, review, etc...

October 8 - Interview  - Fantasy Book Addict
October 9 - Book Review - Books Live Forever
October 10 - Interview - Kiki's Bookshelf
October 11 - Guest Post  - The Bookshelf Sophisticate 
October 12 - Interview - Falling for YA
October 13 - Book Review - YA Sisterhood
October 14 - Interview - Fragments of life
October 15 - Guest Post - Two Chicks On Books
October 16 - Book Review - Harley Bear Book Blog
October 17 - Book Review - Lost in Believing
October 18 - Guest Post - Jessabella Reads
October 19 - Book Review - Stuck In YA Books
October 20 - Guest Post - The Book Goddess
October 21 - Interview - Swoony Boys Podcast
 
An of course here are the links to buy this fabulous book!
 
 
So if that wasn't enough for everyone...we've also got a fabulous giveaway going on!
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


And now, for those of you interested, my review of The Dollhouse Asylum...
 


What a surprise this read turned out to be. Yet again I read the synopsis, thought it sounded interesting and was looking forward to reading it, but at the same time, the second I started to get a little ways into the book, I was caught off guard for some reason. I knew in some ways what to expect, and what the characters would be going through, but when readers actually get the chance to get more of a background and real in-your-face examples of the kinds of tests these indivudals are expected to perform and pass, I think they'll find it down right chilling.
 
If ever there was a villain to hope would get what they deserve in the end, it's Teo! Gray created a character so vile and evil that I'll be shocked if ANY reader feels different. She created one sick individual that readers will find themselves hoping the others bring him down. And on top of that, Gray throws in some of the great love stories readers have been falling for since the beginning of time.  I've always considered myself a fan of the classic love stories and I know I'm not alone. While a lot of them do have tragic endings and rather sad overall stories, readers are still able to focus while looking back and remembering the power of true love and what some individuals (whether real or ficticious) have been willing and able to fight for and overcome in the hopes of experiencing.
 
But after reading Gray's work, I'll admit that I think a small part of me (even if it's very small) will now remember and think about this book and what these characters were forced to act out in the name of these classic tales of love. Truly terrifying if you ask me.  Chilling scenarios and anxiety inducing and incredibly suspenseful twists and turns are thrown in all over the place throughout this read, and at times I felt myself needing to take a break before the stress got the best of me.  Only a small break was doable because at the same time I couldn't resist knowing what would happen and what the fate of these characters would be.  Readers will find themselves hooked.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for posting my guest post, Katelyn, and for going the extra mile and including an honest review. Thank you!!

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