Mary Crockett Hill '91 authors first novel, "Dream Boy"

Mary Crockett Hill '91, left, with "Dream Boy" co-author Madelyn Rosenberg. Photo courtesy of Mary Crockett Hill.

Mary Crockett Hill '91, left, with "Dream Boy" co-author Madelyn Rosenberg. Photo courtesy of Mary Crockett Hill.

The book, co-written with Madelyn Rosenberg, is a young adult novel, billed as a "paranormal romance."

"I've always been obsessed with dreams," says Mary Crockett Hill '91 about the genesis of her new young-adult novel "Dream Boy."

"It seems a strange thing to me that we go to sleep at night and tell ourselves stories, and the stories we tell say some interesting things about ourselves," says Hill, who co-authored the book with Madelyn Rosenberg, a Northern Virginia-based former newspaper reporter and journalism professor. "I thought it would be kind of cool to explore the idea of questioning what is and isn't real in our dreams."

Hill, a former writing teacher at Roanoke College, is an award-winning poet who has also written a history of Salem and served as director of the Salem Museum. "Dream Boy," is her first published novel. The book was published by Sourcebooks and released on July 1.

The book's plot was described by WinterHaven Books, a YA book blog, with this: "Annabelle Manning feels like she's doing time at her high school in Chilton, Va. She has her friends at her lunchtime table of nobodies. What she doesn't have are possibilities. Or a date for Homecoming. Things get more interesting at night, when she spends time with the boy of her dreams. But the blue-eyed boy with the fairytale smile is just that - a dream. Until the Friday afternoon he walks into her chemistry class."

The idea of someone in a dream coming to life struck Hill as "a fun way to look at questions of dreams vs. reality." The subject seemed a natural fit for a young-adult novel.

"I love young people," Hill explains. "They are in a really interesting part of their lives. Teens are very alive - maybe it's just the hormones. They are full of ideas, rebellion, and humor, and are always questioning things. They're also very smart."

It was also natural for Hill to turn to Rosenberg as co-author, as the two met 15 years ago while co-teaching a creative-writing class for teens. "It was very rewarding to collaborate with her," Hill says. "Madelyn and I are friends, first and foremost, and writing together allowed us to stay in contact with each other in a way we wouldn't have been able to otherwise."

Hill and Rosenberg will be at the Salem Museum from 3 to 5 p.m. this Saturday, July 12, for the "Dream Boy Book Party." The launch event will feature giveaways, a book talk, refreshments and a book signing. All book sales will benefit the Salem Museum & Historical Society. The event is free and open to the public. The museum is at 801 E. Main St. in Salem.

- James Shell '79

To read more about "Dream Boy," click here and here.

Released: July 10, 2014