Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Dickensen Academy by Christine Grabowski - Book Tour and Giveaway

Dickensen Academy isn’t a typical boarding school. The faculty is hiding an unbelievable secret within their fine arts program. When Autumn Mattison receives an invitation to attend the high school, she yearns to escape her overbearing father yet remains reluctant to leave her mother and brother. Her doubts fade away when a vivid dream convinces her she belongs there.

Away from home, Autumn discovers a unique school environment that awakens her creative potential, and her new friends become like a second family. However, as she uncovers more about the dark side of the school and struggles with its curriculum, she questions whether Dickensen Academy is truly where she belongs. 

When tragedy strikes, Autumn must learn to believe in her own power and stand up to her greatest fear or risk having her memories destroyed to protect the school’s secrets. Caught between secrets and dreams, can she find her true self?


Clues to the secret existed from day one, yet they appeared to belong to separate puzzles. Most students either missed these signs or chose to ignore them. We were busy acclimating—as the faculty called it—to a new environment. Some outsiders might call what they did to us those initial weeks a form of brainwashing or fostering a cult-like mentality.

But not me.

I agreed with Principal Locke. We weren’t ready. We needed time to separate from our families and become a cohesive group. And some of us, myself included, even needed a little nudge to accept the invitation. If someone had told us the truth on Day One why they’d brought us to Dickensen Academy, we would have never believed it. We’d think they were crazy. Or worse, we’d turn around and run back home. But if we left, we would have missed out on something extraordinary. Something worth the wait.


What inspired you to write this book?

I knew I wanted to write a young adult novel based around an unusual premise because those are the types of books I am drawn to. I began to go through my dreams each morning hoping I’d dream up a blockbuster idea like Stephenie Meyer did with her first written scene of Twilight. Although I never dreamed an amazing dream, I did start to question why I remembered some dreams but forgot others. That idea led me to the premise for Dickensen Academy.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

I love the dance scene followed by the first kiss. By this time in the book, I am in love with Ben too and am so happy Autumn and Ben finally get together and share their true feelings.

What exciting story are you working on next?

Although I published Dickensen Academy as a standalone with series potential, my early readers have overwhelmingly asked for more in the series, so I have working on a sequel about Autumn’s sophomore year. It will be a little darker and the antagonist will be someone on campus rather than her father as the issues in book 1 were wrapped up. I am currently a little more than half way through the first draft and has been my focus during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

How do you react to a bad review of your book?

I read all my reviews carefully (good and bad) to see if there is any feedback that will help me improve my writing. Fortunately, there have been few bad reviews. For the most part, it seems it is simply not the book for them, so I try and forget about them and focus on all the good ones. I have to remember books are subjective and I can’t take it personally.

What are four things you can’t live without?

Coffee, books, exercise, my family/friends/dogs 

Favorite place to read?

It’s strange to say, but my bedroom closet. (It’s big, so there is room to lay down). I have a lot of sleep issues and need a consistent nighttime routine to fall asleep. Because my husband goes to bed early, reading in our bed isn’t possible. I used to read downstairs in my favorite chair, but I found I would get sidetracked on the way to bed. Upstairs, I can read until I’m ready to fall asleep and then be in bed within one minute. Also, there are no interruptions from my kids because they think I am asleep.

Anything else you might want to add? 

Although adults love the fresh spin on a boarding school story, parents and teachers believe Dickensen Academy is a perfect book for tweens and teens because it appeals to this group but doesn’t have the mature content that is in some YA books. It might make a great holiday gift.


About the Author

Dickensen Academy is Christine’s debut YA novel. After graduating from the University of Washington, she earned her MBA at the University at Albany. She honed her technical writing skills in marketing and consulting but attributes the creative part of the process to her passion for reading.

When she isn’t reading or writing, Christine can often be found running, skiing, or hiking. She lives in Newcastle, Washington, with her supportive husband, two avid teen readers, and their energetic wheaten terriers.

Buy Links:

Christine Grabowski will be awarding $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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