Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 27, 2021

Book Giveaway: MORTAL REMAINS by Mary Ann Fraser

Mary Ann Fraser’s debut Young adult book, MORTAL REMAINS is Sterling’s new imprint, Sterling Teens and it is there debut book. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner with someone living in the United States. Be one of the first writers to read and get an idea what Sterling Teen likes.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Mary Ann.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


Six Feet Under meets Edward Scissorhands in Mortal Remains, a tight, smartly written romance with an occult twist. Though her classmates call her Morticia and Ghoul Girl, Lily actually likes her work the dead are good listeners, and they don’t judge. Lily learns their stories, shares her worries with them as she makes up their faces, and embroiders pillows for their final rest. ‘The way I figure it,’ says Lily, ‘a person’s arrival into this world is about as unglamorous as it gets. The least I can do is dignify their departure.’ Then, after a mysterious explosion burns down a neighborhood house long the source of weird stories, Lily and her friends poke around in the debris and come across the hatch to an underground vault. Inside, they find an injured teenage boy who has been trapped there for days. He has little memory of his life before the explosion and speaks in an odd, stilted manner that suggests limited interaction with the outside world. Yet the boy, Adam, feels there is something familiar about Lily and Lily must admit that she feels a strange connection to him as well. Could Adam be the boy who, years ago, protected her from the bullying of a gang of neighborhood kids? But when she finds out that boy died shortly after their encounter, she realizes Adam couldn’t be him could he? Where did Adam come from, anyway? And, most importantly, why was he kept prisoner by his own father? Within days of the explosion, my night terrors returned with a vengeance. In them I was falling, always falling, until I heard the crack of bone and woke screaming, my hair plastered to my sweat-drenched cheeks. I knew I d only find peace when I d put the question of Adam s fate to rest once and for all. It became my obsession. . .


First, thank you Kathy for this wonderful opportunity to share my YA debut, MORTAL REMAINS with your readers.

Every novel asks a question. Settling on that question isn’t always a straightforward journey.

My path to creating MORTAL REMAINS began in 2009 with a few pages quickly penned in a small notebook while waiting for my son in a Best Buy parking lot—inspiration comes in the weirdest places sometimes. That initial kernel of an idea lay dormant for months until one day I ran across an article about studies conducted in the 1970’s by NASA’a Ames Research Center. The studies were based on a theory proposed years earlier by Dr. Cairns-Smith. He claimed that clay was not only the building-block of early life but also possessed evolutionary properties. It made me think of all the creation stories that have been written, and I began to wonder: to what the lengths would someone go to bring a loved one back from the dead? At last, I had my question.

One of the strangest things that happened to me in my quest for answers occurred in the very beginning of my first draft. I had visited a funeral home to ask if it would be possible for a teen to work at a family-owned mortuary. The person I spoke to replied, “Oh, absolutely. In fact, we used to have a seventeen-year-old working here. His name was Adam, and he was our IT expert.” I shivered and told her that my protagonist was named Adam, he was seventeen, and was the mortuary’s IT expert.  (Insert “Twilight Zone” theme song here.) We laughed at the uncanny coincidence. As the story evolved so did Adam’s role, but the spookiness of that moment still brings goosebumps to my arms. Oh, and by the way, I was told by more than one funeral home that they have ghosts!

MORTAL REMAINS became a story about the depths to which people grieve as seen through the eyes of two characters—a girl passionate about honoring the departed but ill-at-ease with the living and a boy veiled in dark secrets. The problem with telling my story in alternating points of view was that by nature Adam was a stiff narrator and my early beta readers found it difficult to connect with him. Thanks to a grant from SCBWI, I was able to work with a professional editor who helped me see that this was Lily’s story to tell. After working closely with my agent, Abigail Samoun at Red Fox Literary, my book was finally ready for submission. It was a lucky day when it reached Ardi Alspach at Sterling Publishing. MORTAL REMAINS is not your typical gothic romance, but she totally got the book. I could not have asked for a greater supporter.

So, how far will someone go to bring a loved one back from the dead? The answer lies within the book.


Mary Ann Fraser grew up in California’s Bay Area. She attended UCLA and is an award-winning picture-book author-illustrator with over 70 books for young readers. Her books have been Junior Library Guild Selections, and have been awarded Book Links Book of the Year, IRA Young Readers Choice Award, and American Booksellers’ “Pick of the List.” She makes her YA fiction debut with MORTAL REMAINS.

Some of Mary’s other books are, NO YETI YET (Peter Pauper Press), HEEBIE-JEEBIE JAMBOREE (Boyds Mills Press), the OGG & BOB books (Two Lions), TEN MILE DAY (Henry Holt), and WHERE ARE THE NIGHT ANIMALS (HarperCollins). Her books have received a Junior Library Guild Selection, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Book Links Book of the Year, IRA Young Readers Choice Award, and American Booksellers “Pick of the List.”

She is a former SCBWI Regional Advisor and a long-standing member of the SCBWI, plus she is a founding member of the Children’s Authors Network, and a member of the Children’s Literature Council. Mary Ann lives in Idaho’s Treasure Valley where she enjoys hiking, skiing, gardening, and painting. To learn more visit

Thank you May Ann for sharing your book and journey with us. After reading your journey, I can’t wait for my copy to arrive, so I can read Mortal Remains. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Sounds great! I’d love to read it (as a writer and school librarian!). I’m also a blog subscriber 🙂


  2. This looks so good! I hope to read it soon. Thank you so much for featuring this intriguing book. I am also a blog subscriber and the author of Moldilocks and the Three Scares (inspired by The Addams Family and the Munsters) so it’s right up my alley!


  3. Love reading book origin stories! This sounds awesome. Sharing on twitter!


  4. Thanks for introducing me to an exciting book! I follow your blog and shared this post on tumblr:


  5. This sounds greaat! and also I’ve been looking for a mentor text. This may fit the bill. Sharing on twitter.


  6. Can’t wait to read Mary Ann’s first fiction book…It sounds interesting and then some!!


  7. Reblogged this on Terry Pierce and commented:
    Mary Ann Fraser’s debut novel is featured today on Writing & Illustrating. Congratulations to my writing friend and former SCBWI RA!


  8. Congratulations, Mary Ann! I can’t wait to read your intriguing story.


  9. Looks like a good one. Thanks for telling me about it. I will pass on the giveaway though. Too many books, too little time.


  10. Sounds wonderful! Congratulations! I’m also a blog follower 🙂


  11. This book sounds very cool.


  12. sounds awesome, glad I found your blog.


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