Monday, June 8, 2015

Choose Your Own Death by Marianna Shek - Virtual tour and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Marianna Shek will be awarding 1 Choose Your Own Death book mark and 4 postcards by the illustrator Tara Brown (can be sent internationally) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

I think all writers have a natural ‘voice’. It’s like slipping into a pair of comfy pajamas. I’ve always written in a young adult voice. I worry as I get older, my writer voice will change but so far, this hasn’t happened. Having said that, I always try to challenge myself by writing in other styles. I also love writing speculative fiction and chick lit.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I was the biggest Babysitters Club fan. And my favourite babysitter was Kristy because I thought she was the smartest but I knew it wasn’t cool to like Kristy so I always pretended to like Stacey.

Growing up as a Chinese migrant, I was always encouraged to read. My mum took me down to the bookstore all the time and just let me pick out a new book every week. I’d buy a new babysitter’s club or Sweet Valley High or another of the ongoing series. I read all the Roald Dahl, RL Stine and Robin Klein books. I loved the front cover of Klein’s Hating Alison Ashley and spent many lunch hours drawing it. BRB…

I just drew this from memory!

I also just realized Robin Klein may not be as popular in other countries so your readers may not have a clue what I’m talking about but trust me, growing up in Australia, her books were compulsory reading in every school.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I wanted to be a writer or an artist but it mattered because my parents were very traditional Chinese and insisted I could only be a doctor, pharmacist or lawyer. I ended up being a pharmacist. The most fun I had working in pharmacy was when a drug rep left a two metre tall dragon plushie as a marketing gimmick for one of their drugs. I drew the dragon and turned it into a colouring competition for all the kids. The best picture got to keep the dragon plushie. After that, I knew it was time to quit pharmacy and pursue my own dreams.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

This is possibly not a superpower but I always imagined I was the most amazing sharpshooter. I’d be able to turn three quarter, do that squinty thing with my eye, draw back the bow and drill a five cent piece into a tree from fifty metres away. I would of course look very cool and attractive while doing this.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

Hhhm – I have both physical books and my Kindle on my nightstand table. Ursula LeGuin’s The Earthsea quartet has been gathering dust for about a year now. I’m finding it really difficult to get into despite it being a classic. On my Kindle, I must have over three hundred books but the one I’ve just finished reading is Lois Lowry The Giver. (it was wonderful – I stayed up over two nights to finish reading it)

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

Hunger Games, of course! I have a thing for bow and arrow. (See response regarding superpower)

Which of your characters would you most like to meet IRL? Why?

Amelia. She’s a zombie orphan. ‘Nuff said.

What four literary characters would you most like to have over for dinner?

Dobby or any house elf because they would cook and clean.
Anoia, God of things stuck in drawers because I have a few drawers I need help cleaning out.
Inigo Montoya because he’s the coolest character ever written.
Sirius Black but only if he’s in his animagus dog shape because I love dogs.

Goultown. The sort of place where kids could walk down the street in the middle of the night. Or accept sweets from strangers because strangers were just friends you hadn’t met yet. A place where grown-ups got tattoos of smiley faces and if kids graffitied, they were sure to do smiley faces too.

That was before the murders began. After Sally Ellerson drowns at the chocolate factory, you know there’s something weird going on. It’s time to take charge.

Choose Your Own Death is a path-picking adventure where every wrong turn unleashes an eldritch evil. If you don’t solve the mystery soon, the next death could be yours.

Enjoy an excerpt: ‘Wicker witches!’ She rummages through her backpack, pulls out a peg and clamps it over her nose making her sound like she’s blocked up from a cold. ‘I’ve read all about them in Scented Supernatural. They lull you into a sense of dullness and kill you.’

‘Sandalwood and lavender. My favourite.’ Angus seems to have forgotten Tammy lying stiffly at his feet.

The trees are closing in. Shuffling like old people. Dribbling waxy secretions onto the ground with every step. The wax drips and curls into crevices forming eyes, mouths and noses. They look and smell like giant scented figurines from a candle shop.

Jessica pulls out two more pegs and places them on you and Angus. The spell breaks.

‘Wicker witches?’ Angus howls. ‘Let’s get out of here!’ He grabs the torch, scoops up Tammy’s stiffened form and flees.

‘Come on, Drew!’ Jessica takes off. She’s the fastest runner on the track team at school. She used to try and get you to train with her but you always laughed and asked what was so great about being sporty.

You stagger after her but the wax on your jeans has set hard. You hold out your hands to break your fall.

‘Wait for me,’ you cry, but the words come out muffled. The wax has coated your lips shut. You try yelling out some swear words but realise you’re wasting time. You upturn your knapsack looking for a weapon. Rock. Paper. Scissors. What the? You will never let Tammy pack the survival kit again!

Marianna Shek is a writer, reader and ideal eater. She took a ridiculously arduous route to get there, dabbling in pharmacy before switching to animation and finally settling down as a writer. She has a wonderful day job as a researcher and producer. You can follow some of her crazy art and film projects at: She rambles specifically about books and creative writing at:

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  1. Thanks for the interview. It was super fun only not sure I should have sent through that illustration!