I was so excited when Ava from Bookishness and Tea informed me that I was going to be part of the Knights of Whitechapel Street Team for Stalking Jack the Ripper!!! Below are my thought about the book and an interview with the amazing and kind Kerri Maniscalco, but first a little more about the book.
About the book: Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget
My Thoughts and the Interview!
You guys this book is so me it’s crazy! There’s forensics, mystery, snark, romance, Victorian London, and Jack the Ripper!!! When I first heard about this book I knew I HAD to have it. I entered every contest for an ARC and asked people going to BEA for a copy, to no avail. But then Kerri tweeted the most glorious thing! SJTR was going to be at BFest and it was going to be at the B&N near me!!! In case you didn’t know I live in DE and nothing is ever at my B&N. So needless to say, when BFest came around I was first in line to get SJTR. I tried waiting til August to read it so that I’d be closer to the release date, but I failed at that and read it in July. I loved everything about it and I am so happy that this is going to be part of a trilogy because I love the characters, especially Audrey Rose and Thomas.
Ok, so on with the interview that the wonderful Kerri Maniscalco was gracious enough to do. I emailed her these questions in July, before she got super busy. She was an all-star and got them back to me within a week!
- Why did you choose to write about Jack the Ripper of all the unsolved cases?
When I first brainstormed ideas, I knew I wanted to write a book that was like a CSI for young adults. It was the book I would have gobbled up as a teen—and even now as an adult—and felt so passionate about it. Taking my love of forensics, I thought about what would immediately add tension and up the stakes. That’s when I knew my teen girl MC was going to be restricted by society. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like, being told that forensics were off the table simply because I’m a girl. Jack the Ripper was one of the first times forensics were used in an investigation, and it all fell into place from there. Plus, there was so much going on with the shift towards women’s rights in Britain then. The suffragettes had been rallying since the 1860s and it wasn’t hard to imagine Audrey being inspired by this notion of living authentically even when others don’t get you. Also, I say it all the time, but my grandma loved whodunits and this takes one of the biggest whodunits in history and gives it a new twist.
***Y’all it’s like Kerri and I are one, except she writes books and I sit in a lab. lol. I too LOVE forensics and hope to eventually work in that field.***
- Which character was the easiest or most fun to write?
Gosh. It took a while to really understand each layer of every character. Figuring out how they ticked, how they reacted, how they hid true feelings. I’d have to say my favorite character to write was Thomas. He’s brash and honest and his process was always an adventure—he definitely surprised me with some of the things he’d blurt out. I also really enjoyed Liza and can say we will be hearing from her again in book two.
- You’ve mentioned that this book is part of a trilogy. Do you know where the story is going or do you just plan it one book at a time?
The really fun thing about this series is there are new mysteries and infamous killers in each book. I’ve always had an idea of where I’d like to take the characters and have had working proposals in mind for all three books from the beginning. Book two basically starts from the point we leave you in Stalking Jack the Ripper and continues into the next gothic adventure. So yeah. I’ve definitely always envisioned where to go next and am so excited I get to continue their story and see their character growth and meet new characters along the way.
*** If y’all have been following Kerri on twitter you might have seen some sneak peaks for book two!***
- What do you hope people take away after reading your book?
At the end of the day I just hope readers enjoy themselves and get lost in a story about a girl who loves science. My favorite books are the ones that live and breathe atmosphere and drop me into a new (or old, historically speaking) world where I can smell the coal burning in the air, and feel the hairs rising on the back of my neck as something stalks the night. I hope this satisfies that craving for a good, creepy mystery.
- Are any of the characters based off anyone you know?
Oh, no. I try really hard to avoid writing about anyone in my personal life. I think it would be too weird to write about friends or family and have them read characterizations of themselves, and then be like wait…you think what of me? Though I do joke often enough that mean people will end up as victims in my next book… I definitely can relate to Audrey, though—I was really into forensics growing up and wanted to study it in college—and I think we’d be great friends.
- Do you plan on writing more historical/gothic books or do you hope to branch out to other genres?
I typically go where my muse takes me and write whatever story is begging to be told. I’ve got a YA historical fantasy that I haven’t had time to finish but plan on revisiting one day soon. I also have a contemporary science fiction thriller that I’d love to revise and add historical elements to. But I definitely love the gritty atmosphere of gothic novels, and could easily see myself doing another in the SJTR series.
***I want to read all these books!***
- Are you going on a book tour or going to any Cons for SJTR?
Oh, yes! Both blog tour and my fall tour are being finalized as we speak. I think I should have dates and cons confirmed and posted on my site in the next week. I can’t believe publication date is almost here! It feels like I received news of the deal only minutes ago.
*** UPDATE: I’m so excited that I’m going to her NYC stop!!! Will you be able to attend any of her stops?***
- So from talking with you, I know you’ve never been to London but are planning on going. What are the top five places you want to go to while there? (I highly recommend the Tower of London!)
That’s definitely on my list! I can’t wait to do a Jack the Ripper tour, first of all. I’d also love to visit the London Dungeon, The Globe Theater, Harrods, and the ride the London Eye. And then Hyde Park and a bunch of places that are in SJTR.
***I highly approve of all these places. The London Eye is spectacular (I actually have 2 pictures I took of it hanging in my living room) and Harrods is a dream world. Also I’ve done two different Jack the Ripper tours and they are amazing. Each one is different and so fun. I can’t wait to see all your pictures Kerri!***
- When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Writing was always something I did for fun, but it took me a while to figure out that I could actually do it professionally. I started creating plays with my toys when I was little, and I’d make my dad video them so I could watch them and work on “my art.” But it wasn’t until 2009/2010 that I decided to really give it a shot and I’ve never looked back. It’s been hard. It’s taken a lot of work and rejection and tears and doubts, but I can’t ever imagine waking up and not having that need to write and create something new.
- What is your favorite book overall and a new release that you love?
I absolutely love WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS by Shel Silverstein—his poems were so visually appealing to me and I love re-reading it. And one of my favorite new releases is definitely CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber. The mystery and magic are exactly what I love to be swept away by when reading a good book.
*** I LOVE Where the Sidewalk Ends so much. I have two copies of it and the fact that Kerri loves this book too made me so giddy.***
What is your favorite color? Dark blue.
Would you rather be reading or writing? Both! (My agent always says “Read 2,000, write 2,000.”)
What is your favorite food? I’m obsessed with curry and pizza, but am a giant foodie and can’t choose.
What book are you currently reading? GIRL IN PIECES by Kathleen Glasgow
What is your favorite thing to drink while writing? Reading? Depends on the season! Winter/Fall I drink green chai tea for writing, and a vanilla-spiced tea for reading.
Spring/Summer I like making fresh limeade with agave for writing and a glass of chilled sangria (or an Old Fashioned) while reading. I’m also really into yerba mate, and drink that ALL the time.
Thank you so much Kerri! I hope y’all enjoyed the interview. Now go get SJTR on 9/20/16! 🙂
About the author: Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.
STALKING JACK THE RIPPER, her debut YA gothic horror, is coming September 20, 2016 from JIMMY Patterson/Little, Brown. It’s the first in a new series and incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.
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