Anna thought life was going to be awesome. She was right…and wrong.
Won her dream job acting in a hit TV series. Check.
Working with her best friend. Check.
The set’s haunted and she’s in the middle of a supernatural war. Uh, check?
Anna Rose Ellington is sixteen and living in Hollywood, hoping to be a star. Anna just landed a major role on Ghost House, TeenTV’s new fall drama. A show promising to be so hot, Meg Sweet (the reigning teenage diva), signed on for the lead, and Adam Lewis (international rock sensation) is a principal player.
Her dreams are falling into place until she gets on set and begins questioning her sanity. It’s true she has an unusual dream life, where once in a while her dreams literally come true. But it’s been a while. On top of her dreams not staying put in her brain, including the guy she’d been dreaming of for years, the house they’re filming in, Gold Manor, might actually be haunted. But that’s the least of her worries.
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As a special treat on this, my 11th birthday, Aunt Melinda invited me for a sleepover. The promise of pizza, painting toe nails, and having the attention of my favorite person in the world, all to myself, was the perfect way to celebrate.
I remember sitting on the dusty rose laminate countertop of her kitchen as she kneaded the dough. She listened as I told her about school and the drama of the playground. I remember her strange reaction as I recounted a vivid dream I had about a boy with an English accent, dark curly hair, and jade eyes.
Her hands dripping with tomato sauce and chest covered in flour, she hugged me, holding on tightly. I was trying to figure out why she was acting so strangely when a heavy knock on the front door broke the moment.
I remember the look in her eyes as she made me promise to stay out of sight in the kitchen, no matter what I heard or what happened. She made me promise, yet again, to never tell the secret she made me keep. She knew I didn’t understand what the big deal was, but I promised.
“Swear, on my life,” her voice too urgent.
That was the last word she ever heard me say.
I heard the door open from my hiding place under the sink.
I heard her gasp in surprise.
I heard a shot and her fall to the ground screaming, and a rough, low voice say, “Check.”
I heard her cries turn to gurgling.
Fear ruling my brain, I had to see what was going on. Creeping out, yet remaining hidden, I looked.
I saw her on the floor, bleeding.
I saw a tall, broad man standing over her, smiling.
I saw this man bend down, rip out, and eat her heart.
I saw Aunt Melinda standing in the doorway as pale as a ghost… and on the floor, dead.
About the author:
Born and raised in Bakersfield, California, Merry Brown now lives in the northwest corner of Tennessee with her husband, three boys, and Daisy the cat. She teaches philosophy at the University of Tennessee, Martin, where she counts it a great privilege and joy to introduce students to perennial questions about the nature of the universe, meaning, morality, and the human condition. Merry Brown's love of philosophy and young adult paranormal and dystopian literature inspired her to write THE KNOWERS, the first book in the Exiled Trilogy. GOLD MANOR GOLD HOUSE is her latest YA paranormal romance book.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
Gold Manor Ghost House was inspired by my kids, primarily. The shows they watch on TV are laugh-track comedies about kids, and I had the idea of writing a YA book about teenagers on a TV show, but where the show is a drama. A drama that wasn’t completely base, like the vast majority of teen shows today. I also wanted this show to just be the backdrop for the “real life” drama of the story.
2. What characters do you connect with most?
Usually, the main character. So, if I don’t like the main character, it’s hard for me to stick with and/or enjoy the story. I’m sure this shows some like of literary/imagination failing in me.
3. What's your favorite book-turned movie?
Probably Lord of the Rings. Though the books are “better,” Peter Jackson and crew did an amazing job creating that tale of Middle Earth. The Hobbit is a different story….
4. If you could be best friends with one of your characters, who would it be?
It would either be Lizzy from The Knowers or Corey from Gold Manor Ghost House. Lizzy is kind, and being around her would make me a better person. Corey is loyal, and would stick with me to the end, regardless of the circumstances. And we all know life is filled with both pleasant and painful surprises.
5. Can you tell us about any other books you're writing?
I’m in the process of editing The Second Fall, which is the second book in The Exiled Trilogy. The first book in the series is The Knowers. I’m really happy with how The Second Fall is shaping up, and it will be released November 2013.
Toward the end of the summer, I hope to return to the world of Gold Manor Ghost House, with a second book coming out in spring of 2014.
6. What do you do in your spare time?
Write? I have three kids, a husband, a job, friends, church, and community obligations. Just about the same as everyone else. I do write, read YA lit, spend too much time on Pinterest, and too much time trying to come up with clever things to tweet (I fail miserably. Go to @merryebrown to see what I mean).
7. Who's your inspiration?
The wonder of my kids and the work ethic of my husband inspires me. I’m also inspired by pop culture, with its abounding creativity and astounding lack of decency. The creativity inspires me to stretch, grow, and create, whereas the degradation motivates me to produce work peppered with light and hope.
8. If you were stranded on a desert island, which character do you want by your side?
Any character at all? Well, if I choose Edward, he could make me a vampire and we could easily swim to safety… but then I’d be a vampire and the undead life is no life for me. So, the person would need to be living, fun, kind, not afraid of hard work, and resourceful. How about Jane Eyre?
9. Team Edward or Jacob?
I’m sorry, but I don’t even understand the question. There is simply no comparison. Edward all the way!
10. Team Peeta or Gale?
This is a hard one for me (unlike the Edward question. I mean, really, there’s no contest. It’s like asking, “What do you prefer, rich creamy chocolate or stinky socks?”). In the first book, I suppose it’s Gale, but then Peeta in the second book, and then by the third book, everything’s messed up. So, if I had to choose, today I’m going with Peeta … but don’t hold me to it!
11. What are you reading now?
I have several books on my night stand, but I’m in the middle of The 5th Wave, which I suspect I’ll be done with in a day or two. I’m really enjoying it. I’m also reading Slaughter House Five.
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