Thursday, October 27, 2011

Interview + Giveaway with Marianna Baer

I got the chance to interview debut author, Marianna Baer!

A little bit about the author:
Marianna Baer received an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a BA in art from Oberlin College. She also attended boarding school, where she lived in a tiny dorm called Frost House, the inspiration for her first novel, Frost. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Frost by Marianna Baer
Published September 13, 2011

Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school begins with a shock: Frost House, her cozy dorm of close friends, has been assigned an unexpected roommate: confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar. But while Leena’s anxiety about a threat to her sanctuary proves valid, it becomes less and less clear whether the threat lies with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind, or within the very nature of Frost House itself. Mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and Celeste’s brother, and the reawakening of childhood fears, all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. Frost is the story of a haunting. As to whether the demons are supernatural or psychological...well, which answer would let you sleep at night?

What's the inspiration behind Frost?

My senior year at boarding school, I lived in a tiny dorm called Frost House with a few of my closest friends. It was SO much fun, but also an intense social situation -- no going home at night to escape any drama. When I started writing YA, I knew that it would be a great setting for a novel. The ghost story/psychological suspense aspect of FROST came from my love of that genre, and from the fact that the real Frost House, a dilapidated old Victorian, always seemed like it held secrets in its walls...

Describe Leena's character?


What is the scariest thing that ever happened to you?

On Halloween several years ago, I was watching a horribly scary movie -- Dementia 13 -- with my boyfriend and his friend. They went into the kitchen, leaving me alone in the front room. The movie was still playing, and I began getting progressively more freaked out, even though I could hear the guys talking in the kitchen. All of a sudden, a loud CRASH came from right next to me. I turned and there was a huge man outside, slammed up against our window. He was staring at me, his hands and face pressed against the glass. He looked absolutely insane. I didn't even think, just let out a true bloodcurdling scream and RAN back into the kitchen (with my hands in the air, according to a witness). I was sure that we were about to be attacked by an enormous lunatic.

When I got to the kitchen, my boyfriend was there alone. It turned out that his friend had snuck outside -- wearing a massive coat -- and was the one who had scared me. The whole time, my boyfriend had been in the kitchen talking to himself, to make me think they were back there together! They still laugh about it now, years later, remembering the sight of me tearing through the house with my hands in the air. I don't remember it quite so fondly! I experienced real terror for those few moments.

Who are your favorite villains from literature and movies?

Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs (and other Thomas Harris books) is a classic. He changed the way I think of Chianti forever.

What is the strangest, funniest, or most unique Halloween costume that you've ever seen or worn?

Okay, this is R-rated, so fragile souls should avert their eyes. A woman I knew through a friend came to a Halloween party dressed as a pirate. She was carrying a beautiful wooden box in front of her chest. I asked if there was anything inside. She lifted the lid and the inside of the box lit up with a few twinkling lights. First, I just saw some large, fake jewels; but after a quick moment I saw the real booty -- her bare breasts (with jeweled pasties)! The box was built without a back, and she was holding it right against herself. It was her "Treasure Chest." Very memorable! (Don't try this at home, kids. She's a fabulous artist and it only worked because the box was so well made. It was really remarkable -- all lit up with Christmas lights -- even aside from the boobs!)

Do you have a favorite Halloween or autumn recipe?

I do! 1. Go to store. 2. Buy bag of mini-Snickers bars. 3. Open bag, remove a Snickers. 4. Tear open wrapper. 5. Eat!

Can you share an excerpt from Frost, or if not what was your favorite scene to write?

Page 152 (slightly edited to make sense):
"Leena?" Celeste's voice called out from the bathroom. "Can you... can you come in here?"
Figuring she had forgotten something -- she had a hard time getting out of the tub with her cast, and was always needing me to bring her a razor or towel or something else -- I tossed my laundry bag in our bedroom and went in. Celeste sat in the bath, a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface of the water. Her cast was propped up on her special stool, in its plastic bag. Her other leg was bent, her arms wrapped around it. There was something not quite right about her face. Her jaw muscles were tense, her skin paler than usual. She looked like she might be trembling.
"Are you okay?" I said.
She shifted positions slightly to show me: a bright red mark seared the back of her left upper arm. I knelt quickly by the tub. It was a burn. The size of a baby's fist. Not blistered, but still obviously painful.
"What happened?" I asked.
"I...I was sitting here while the water was running," she said. "And I guess I bumped against the faucet. I don't remember. It happened so quickly and then it hurt so much."
"That's from the faucet?" I said. "The water must have been so hot."
She shook her head. "I was trying to cool the bath down. Only the cold water was turned on."
"You must have turned the wrong handle."
"I didn't." Then she said it again, louder. "I didn't. I know which handle I turned. This wasn't my fault."
The faucet couldn't have burned her if it was running cold water, obviously, but there was no point in me fighting with her. What mattered was her burn.
"Let's drain the bath," I sad. "And then you need to hold your arm under a stream of cool water. I'll cover the faucet with a facecloth." As I did, I found that the metal wasn't hot at all. The bathwater wasn't especially hot either. How long had she been sitting here? I didn't ask, just handed her towels to wrap over her legs and her shoulders, so she'd warm up. Her whole body was shaking.
What had gone on here while I was with David?

What can fans be expecting from you next?

I'm writing a second standalone YA titled IMMACULATE. It's about a 15-year-old girl in Brooklyn who is pregnant, but says she has never had sex. It's a complicated story to write, but I'm incredibly excited about it.

Thank you for the interview!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Ashley!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Marianna is generously letting one lucky blog reader win a signed copy of Frost! Just fill out the form linked below if you'd like to be entered.

Must be a new or old blog follower.
Ends on November 8. Open to USA only.
Two extra entries to those of you that spread
the word about this interview & contest!

Click here to fill out the entry form!


For 3 extra entries, leave a comment answering this question:
Would you be able to spend the night in a haunted house?

FIND MARIANNA ONLINE: Website | Goodreads


  1. I dont know if I could spend the night in a Haunted House or not. I think I would try to if there was some kind of prize to be won that was worth it but otherwise, I dont think I would try it. I am too sensitive to things.

    LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

  2. I would totally love to spend the night in a haunted house!!!!
    Wait I have...LOL
    817 Barn st, Jacksonville,NC
    I swear that house has something wrong with it!
    My neighbors used to call the cops when we weren't home because they would hear screaming coming from it. Doors would slam...lights would turn on and would move, my little brother wouldn't sleep in his room at all. I was so glad when we moved after 6 months.

  3. Mary DeBorde [M.A.D.]

    Yes, absolutely but ONLY if it had working electricity ... I'd be too much of a weenie without lights [which would be turned on all freaking night lol].
    We always swore that one of our previous homes WAS haunted, things would happen too often for sheer coincidence ;P

  4. I've always wanted to spend the night in a haunted house!! I'd even go old school with no electricity. Just flashlights and candles. Extra spooky.

  5. Hell no who the hell can deal with that I'm already irrationally paranoid add a couple of ghost and I'm a doner!

  6. I've actually lived in a few houses that had paranormal activity going on in them (in my bedroom, no less), so I think I could spend the night in a haunted house.

  7. I believe I could spend the night in a haunted house but it would really depend on whether the haunting was evil & dangerous or just irritating.

  8. It would truly depend on who I was with!! If it was a big tough person I'd feel safer :)

  9. No, I couldn't spend the night in a haunted house. I watch those shows where people lock themselves in and I think they're nuts!

  10. I would never be able to spend the night in a haunted house. I'm scared of the dark as it is, staying somewhere that things go bump in the night would be bad.

  11. Haunted houses freak me out, so I would never, ever stay the night in one! I would be the one who would spook at the slightest sound and pass out first.

  12. I would never spend time in a haunted house! I would die of fright! The idea of ghosts freaks me out!

  13. Depends on the condition. I would stay at a hotel that is haunted and not think twice about it. Would I stay at a run down decrepit house? No. Also it would depend on what rumored spirits live there, if they are nice or harmless I would have no problem with it. If they are mean or evil, heck no.


Thanks, I love what you have to say!