Hi, I’m Carol Riggs, and it’s my pleasure today to interview Mary Crocker, the co-author of DREAM BOY. This is her debut novel, released July 1 by Sourcebooks and written with her author-friend Madelyn Rosenberg.

dream-boy-cover-300If dreams can come true…then so can nightmares.
One night Annabelle Manning dreams of the perfect boy: tall and handsome with impossible blue eyes. Then, just as suddenly as he appeared, he’s gone…until he walks into her science class the next day. Perfect and REAL. The boy of her dreams. And when he brushes past her, he whispers “Annabelle.” Suddenly, Annabelle’s got the perfect boyfriend who’s totally into her, and a date to homecoming. Her life is like a dream come true—until her dreams stop and the nightmares begin.

“Hits the chick-lit and romance buttons, adding suspense and an intriguing idea as well for nicely rounded entertainment.” — Kirkus Review

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CR: It’s so great to interview you, Mary! Congratulations on your debut. Can you tell us about your inspiration, and how you and Madelyn came to write DREAM BOY?

MC: You can blame Ginger Rogers. And insomnia.

I was up at 4 AM one Saturday, half-sleeping, half-watching an old Ginger Rogers movie on the classic film channel. I didn’t get the whole gist of the movie, but I did get that there was some guy dressed up like a Native American who showed up from Ginger’s dreams.

The next morning, I started thinking that it might be fun to write a book about a dream who shows up in someone’s life. I contacted Madelyn to ask if she’d like to work on it with me. She said she was in, and we started emailing each other.

About 1000 emails later, we had Dream Boy.

CR: What’s it like to write a novel with another author—how does that process work for you, exactly?

MC: We just volleyed things back and forth—sometimes rewriting what came before, sometimes just pushing the story forward.

Madelyn probably explained it best here:

CR: As a related question…how in the world did you and Madelyn approach editorial revisions and rewrites?

MC: We talked out the revisions and divided tasks. But when it came down to the deadline, we both had to sign off on any change, no matter how small, and that was pretty grueling.

We had some marathon phone conversations. Luckily, Madelyn had unlimited minutes.

CR: Are you anything like your main character, Annabelle? Who is your favorite character in the book, and why?

MC: I guess there’s part of me in any character I write—so yes, there’s part of me in Annabelle. She’s not quite as enthusiastically goofy as I am. She also has artistic talent, which I only wish I had. But the way she sees the world is not so unlike the way I saw the world when I was sixteen.

As for favorite character, hmmm… I’m pretty sure I answer this question differently every time. I love all the characters in Dream Boy, even the people Annabelle thinks are jerks.

I guess today’s favorite is Will. I like his loyalty and his sense of humor. And I feel for him. At the beginning of the novel, he thinks things are finally falling into place in his life—and then Martin shows up and turns everything upside down.

CR: In this novel I really loved the realistic and often humorous exchanges between members of Annabelle’s family as well as between her and her friends. Are any of these relationships based on your own experiences, such as growing up with multiple siblings and/or loyal best friends? (or did Madelyn spark the ideas for those parts?)

MC: One of Madelyn’s main interests as a writer is the relationship between brothers and sisters, and she naturally created a good bit of the interactions between Annabelle and her brother Nick. We didn’t assign characters or anything. We both wrote for all characters. But I think Madelyn was more drawn to explore that relationship.

I’d say we were equally invested in the friend-part. We didn’t plan out the characters as we went; we’d just introduce someone when they seemed necessary and then find out more about those people as they were put into various situations. That made it a lot of fun. Now we know much more about those people than ever made it into the book, but at first, we were getting to know them too.

CR: Why do you write YA, and what draws you to the magical realism/contemporary fantasy genre that is DREAM BOY?

MC: I love YA because it shows that point in life when people are really figuring out who they are—what they’re capable of, what matters to them. The things that happen to you as a teen shape the person you become.

Plus, I love YA readers. They’re so enthusiastic about the books they love. They give themselves over fully to a book—they engage with it mentally and emotionally and imaginatively. It’s hard to ask for more than that!

As for magical realism/contemporary fantasy, I enjoy the possibilities that come with writing fiction. A good bit of what I write is realistic contemporary—both comic and downright depressing. So it’s kind of fun to escape into fantasy, where anything can happen. I do like fantasy to be grounded by reality, though, the way it is in Dream Boy.

CR: Last but not least, as this community is fearless, we’d like to know something you are afraid of and something you are not afraid of.

MC: I’m afraid of snakes. If you read Dream Boy, you can probably guess that.
I’m not afraid of looking foolish. I have a lot of experience with it, and I’ve found that a lot of good can come with putting yourself out there in a way that might be embarrassing. It’s a risk, but taking a risk can make life more interesting.

CR: Thanks for stopping by the blog, and congrats on your debut!

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Madelyn is on the left, Mary is on the right!

Mary Crockett is a young adult writer who is also a teacher and poet. She likes turtles, licorice, and the Yankees. Madelyn Rosenberg likes cats, avocados, and the Red Sox. Luckily they both like the weirdness of dreams (and each other) enough to write novels together. The friendship has survived three moves, six kids and countless manuscript revisions. Madelyn lives just outside of Washington, D.C. Mary remains in the mountains near their hometowns in southwestern Virginia. You can find them on Twitter @marylovesbooks and @madrosenberg or their blogs at  and

Carol RiggsCarol Riggs lives in northern California. Her YA sci-fi novel, THE BODY INSTITUTE, explores identity and body image in a near-future setting. She enjoys reading, painting and drawing, quilting, and listening to music of all kinds. You’ll usually find her in her writing cave, surrounded by her dragon collection and the characters in her head. Visit her on Twitter, Facebook, and her blogsite for writers.

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