The Monsters of Marymount Mansion by Gregory G. Allen
About the book:
Meet Toby: a young monster who has skin like a fish, fur like a dog, and smells like cotton candy when he gets excited. He lives with his family in the basement of Marymount Mansion and once a year ventures out into the real world when everyone is dressed for Halloween. Toby becomes frustrated with hiding below ground and sets off on an all-important quest.
Enter for the chance to win a signed paperback copy of The Monsters of Marymount Mansion, a signed paperback copy of each of the author’s previous picture books** (Chicken Boy: The Amazing Adventures of a Superhero with Autism, Chicken Boy: A Superhero with Autism Deals with Doctors & Dentists, and Irving the Theater Nut!), and a $50 Amazon gift card to buy other books! **All books teach children not to fear those who are different and to be proud of themselves FOR those differences.
One (1) grand prize winner receives:
- A signed paperback copy of The Monsters of Marymount Mansion
- A signed paperback copy of Chicken Boy: The Amazing Adventures of a Superhero with Autism
- A signed paperback copy of Chicken Boy: A Superhero Deals with Doctors and Dentists
- A signed paperback copy of Irving the Theater Nut
- A $50 Amazon Gift Card
Four (4) winners receive:
- A signed paperback copy of The Monsters of Marymount Mansion
Interview with the author:
Q. What is your elevator pitch for The Monsters of Marymount Mansion?
A. An 8 year old monster has grown tired of hiding in a basement and decides it’s time to venture out into the world to see how he’ll be accepted. The reader gets to take this journey with him and learn some wonderful lessons along the way.
Q. Where do your ideas come from?
A. For adult books I can dig deep into adult themes and issues: something it might be something my friends are discussing. For kids books, it comes out of things I hear from parent friends, teachers…I think I’m an observer and then I love to turn those observations into stories.
Q. How did you name your characters?
A. I can’t even say why, but the name Toby came to me right away and stayed the entire time. Other characters often change as I do rewrites. Some of the names are anagrams and at least one is based on a character from another famous story about hiding.
Q. You have a wide background in writing with non-fiction books, short stories, and children's books. What is your favorite type of book to write and why?
A. This is really a great questions and one I haven’t thought much about. I think it depends on where my head is at any given moment and what I’ve trying to say. Each of them require a different skillset and when I’m deep into it, I love the challenge it presents. For children’s books, I get to return to a simpler time…putting myself into the mindset of a child. I really love being able to do that.
Q. In addition to writing books, you have been a movie director, actor, and songwriter, among other jobs in the entertainment industry. How did you have the opportunity to do all these things?
A. My mom would tell you I’ve always been this way: I love to immerse myself in all things creative. I was a singer and actor since 4th grade when I played Elvis Presley in a school talent show. I realized quickly how much I loved performing and then it turned into writing musicals by 14 and a wonderful children’s theater company produced four of my musicals by the time I graduated and moved to New York City to go to acting school. I only went into film because someone wanted to turn one of my novels into a film and I went to a crash weekend film seminar just so I wouldn’t feel silly on set when my book became a film.
Instead, I fell in love with filmmaking and went down that road. I honestly feel no matter which medium I choose, it’s always about the storytelling.
Q. With your background in the entertainment industry, would you like to turn your book into a show or movie?
I have had the pleasure of being able to do this before and it’s truly exciting to see how stories can change and morph when you try a different medium. My first short film was based on the very first book I wrote about my half brother. I’ve turned a play of mine into a film, one of my children’s books was filmed during the pandemic as a short film, and I’m currently adapting one of my books into a screenplay with a writing partner.
Q. Do you plan to write more children's chapter books?
A. Something weird about me is every time I write something I never know if I’m going to write one again. I’ve loved this experience so I believe I will want to do it again if readers take to it. I’ve had some adult novels that readers really want sequels to, but I’ve never gotten around to it. I have one a quarter way written so that might need to be finished before I do another chapter book.
Q. What do you enjoy in your free time?
A. I love to read. I love going into NYC to go to the theater. I also tend to binge watch series trying to think of something else I might want to write.
Q. Do you have any pets?
A. I don’t. I grew up with dogs. I enjoy spending time with friends’ dogs…but I’ve never had a pet as an adult as I think I’m just way too busy and would hate for a pet to feel ignored.
Q. Do you plan your books or write as the story comes to you (plotter or panster)?
A. I’ve done both. Sometimes I plan a book and then midway through it will shift and I have to follow where the characters are telling me it needs to go.
Q. If you could go back and give advice to yourself when you were the age of the kids reading this book, what would it be?
There might be many times in life that you feel weird or different but just know that feeling will make you stronger in the long run…plus “normal” is overrated.
About the Author:
Gregory G. Allen is an award-winning author, screenwriter, filmmaker, and actor. His children’s books include Chicken Boy: The Adventures of a Superhero with Autism, Chicken Boy Deals with Doctors & Dentists, and Irving the Theater Nut! He is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and The Dramatist Guild. The idea for his monster book goes back to the first musical he ever wrote, which was produced for the stage when he was 15, with the message that it’s okay to be different.
For more information, visit gregsimagination.com.
About the Illustrator:
Shelby Goodwin is an illustrator, letterer, graphic designer, and all-around creative living in Hoboken, NJ. She is extremely passionate about children’s media and the power of art to romanticize the everyday. When she is not making things, she can be found with her spouse and three cats exploring new places, eating pastries, or cuddling up in her favorite reading chair.
For more information, visit heartonmysleevedesign.com.