Meet the Newbies: Samantha Mabry (Interview+Giveaway)

Meet the Newbies: Samantha Mabry (Interview+Giveaway)

I’m super excited to be helping out with Meet the Newbies today! When Rachel asked me if I wanted to help promote some of the awesome 2016 Debut Authors I had to say yes! Today I get to introduce you to the author of A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON, Samantha Mabry!! She also did an awesome interview with us and there is a giveaway at the bottom of the post, so make sure to enter!

Author Most Likely to Steer the Conversation Toward Ghost Hunting

Nickname: Sam (obviously)

First Day of School: April 12, 2016

Homeroom: Algonquin Young Readers

Grade: Magical Realism

Extracurricular Activities: talking about ghosts/ghost hunting (see above), cat hoarding, rockin’ out.

Favorite Class: Latin (yes, really)

Favorite Quote/Motto: “Fortune favors the bold.”


Meet the Newbies: Samantha Mabry (Interview+Giveaway)A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry
Published by Algonquin Books on April 12th 2016
Genres: General, Magical Realism, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Buy the BookGoodreads

In this stunning debut, legends collide with reality when a boy is swept into the magical, dangerous world of a girl filled with poison.   Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl--Isabel, the one the senoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family's Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill. Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He's grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers--and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.A Fierce and Subtle Poison beautifully blends magical realism with a page-turning mystery and a dark,  starcrossed romance--all delivered in lush, urgent prose.


B: What inspired you to write A Fierce and Subtle Poison?

S: Two things inspired this book: the short story “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which is about a boy who falls in love with a girl who’s full of poison, and magical realism –like, all of it, just in general.

B: Are there any scenes you had to cut before publishing that you could share?

S: Throughout the novel, Lucas (the main character) wanders around San Juan and does a lot of thinking about all kinds of stuff, and this is another example of that. I really wanted there to be a scene in the book that took place in this cemetery, which is really there and has been there forever, perched on the edge of the island, but I ended up editing it out because it caused a bit of a lag in the action. I still do love it, though.

     I went out to the cemetery near El Morro and looked out into the sparkling ocean and listened to waves crash against the rocks. I thought about the stories I’d heard in school about the days long ago when the Spaniards first came here on their ships. The Boriqueños saw these swarthy, lice-covered men coming off of their boats and greeted them with their word for peace: taíno. The Spaniards thought the natives were telling them what the name of their people was, so they started referring to the Boriqueños as Taínos.

     It was the first of many misunderstandings.

After looking for gold, the Spaniards built cathedrals, garrisons, walls six feet thick, and mansions. For centuries, they fought to protect what they’d taken and created. I wondered at what point they learned that there were unnamed and unknown dangers on the island far worse than rebellious Indians or European rivals, dangers from which even great stone walls couldn’t protect them.

My thoughts of the past would inevitably lead to those of the present, and my own dangers: the ones that came from within and without, the ones long foretold, and some others I could have never seen coming.

B: If you could be any character in your book for a day, who would you be and why?

S: Probably Rico. He’s one of Lucas’ best friends. He’s kind of a loafer and a player and he has a scooter. I’m very square, and it would nice to live in the skin of someone who doesn’t have a lot of cares and just basically does what he wants.

B: What was the weirdest thing you had to research while writing A Fierce and Subtle Poison?

S: I put a lot of research into the effects of poisonous plants on the human body, from rashes and blisters to hallucinations, all the way to death.

B: What is the first book you remember falling in love with?

S: This is a really hard question! I remember in elementary school, if I got good grades on my report card, my dad would take me out to buy the newest Baby-Sitters Club book. So, I obviously loved those. I think was a Claudia. Or least I wanted to be a Claudia. In my youth, there was a lot of side-ponytail experimentation gone very wrong.

B: If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

S: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

B: If you could co-write a book with ANY author, who would it be?

S: Either Téa Obreht, who wrote a book called The Tiger’s Wife, which does cool things with fables interlocking with reality, or Laini Taylor. My mind boggles when it comes to high fantasy, and also Laini’s ability to write such magnificent sentences makes me jealous.

B: If someone dared you to write “book nerd” on your forehead while wearing your favorite pajamas- and then share a photo of it – would you do it? (If so, we double dog dare you to do it and share it with us right here!)

S: I would not, mostly because I have no favorite pajamas.


About Samantha Mabry


Samantha was born four days before the death of John Lennon. she grew up in Dallas, playing bass guitar along to vinyl records in her bedroom after school, writing fan letters to rock stars, doodling song lyrics into notebooks, and reading big, big books.

She spends as much time as possible in the west Texas desert.

A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON (Algonquin Young Readers, spring 2016) is her first novel.


1 Pre­Order or Finished Copy of Any Debut Novel Featured on Meet the Newbies

International (as long as The Book Depository ships to your country)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Carina Olsen says:

    Such a lovely interview and promo post Crystal 😀 Thank you so much for sharing about this book. <3 Yay! I am so curious about it. Not sure if I would like it or not, lol, but that cover is so pretty. And I have heard some great things about this one. Hmm. Think I must read it one day 🙂

Leave a Reply