Interviewing Megan Shepherd, and ENTER TO WIN one of the books in her MADMAN'S DAUGHTER Trilogy!!!

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An interview with 
Megan Shepherd

Author Photo by
Kristi Hedberg Photography
About Megan: 


I’ve been many things, like a professional exchange student, park ranger in Montana, and LOST enthusiast, but what I am now is a writer. 

I think it’s fair to say I was born into it. I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, raised behind the counter of my parents’ independent bookstore, Highland Books in Brevard. Ah, so many free books. But I never thought being a writer could be a real career. After college I thought I’d end up as a foreign service officer somewhere dashing and exotic, like Canada. I studied French, Spanish, German, and Russian and still speak a few of those. Then I joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in Senegal, where I learned a few more languages I’ll never speak again and lived in a mud hut with no electricity or running water. You can probably imagine how that experience went, but if you’re curious, here are the dirty details

Megan Shepherd's parents' bookstore
It wasn't until a chance acquaintance read something I wrote and said, "have you ever considered being a writer?" that something clicked and I realized it was possible. My husband encouraged me, and I quickly fell head-over-heels in love with writing and children's literature in particular. I started out writing articles, which have appeared in Faces, Appleseeds, and Calliope magazines, and stories for younger children. I soon realized I wasn’t sweet enough to write fiction for that age and found myself writing young adult literature instead, which doesn’t require nearly as many tender moments and includes a lot more cursing. 

When I'm not writing, I can usually be found horseback riding, day dreaming at coffee shops, or hiking in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. I love to hear from readers, so please drop me a line! I am represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary

This review was first posted at A Backwards Story on January 20, 2014.
Some of the questions are probably dated now--since, you know, all three books are out!
BUT I wanted to give new readers a chance to read Megan's awesome interview...and even be introduced to the trilogy!!!

I love that you based the first book around THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU and the second one on THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. Will the third book be based on a classic novel as well? (My guess is FRANKENSTEIN, lol)

You made an excellent guess! Yes, the third book is based on Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN. For the final book, I was dying to explore FRANKENSTEIN because it is just so epically creepy, and also a book more readers are familiar with. I think readers will find it touches on all the great FRANKENSTEIN tropes from the original book and also from later Frankenstein culture, like Igor the laboratory assistant, and lightning rods, and grave robbing.

What lies in store for poor Juliet in HER DARK CURIOSITY? (I *love* that title, btw! So perfect... AND foreboding!)

Thank you! I wish I could take credit for the title. That came from my brilliant editor Kristin Rens and the HarperCollins marketing team. We toyed around with so many different titles, but I think this one perfectly captures the mood and theme of the book. In HER DARK CURIOSITY, Juliet is back in London and has had a change in fortune—she’s now ward to a wealthy professor and once more living in luxury. But she soon learns that luxury masks a lot of darkness, and that money can’t protect her from dangers—especially dangers that have followed her back from the island.

I read this alongside another blogger, Stephanie from Chasm of Books, and you had us going with all sorts of theories and possibilities. You managed to surprise us both! How did you go about creating the suspense and laying down the groundwork for such a complex novel with so many twists and turns?

As a reader, I adore books with surprises and twists. So it’s natural that those are the kinds of books I want to write too. It involves a lot of outlining. It’s like building a puzzle: you don’t want to give away too many clues, but you don't want twists to drop out of the blue, either. I try to make some twists easier to guess to throw people off, and then hit them with something else they never saw coming! Mostly it involves laying a lot of groundwork in the beginning of the book: introducing pivotal characters and plot lines that might not seem important early on, but build to something significant in the end.

What are some other great novels full of creepy atmosphere and twisty happenings that you would recommend to readers looking for something else after devouring THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER and HER DARK CURIOSITY while awaiting the final book?

In the YA world, Cat Winters’ IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS has a wonderful atmospheric feel and is great for those who love their books well researched. April Tucholke’s BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA is full of delicious angst and timeless creepy elements. Kendare Blake’s ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD is one of my favorite ghost stories, both funny and frightening. 

In the adult fiction world, Neil Gaiman is the master of fantasy horrors, with books like THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE and my favorite short story collection, SMOKE AND MIRRORS. I love the twists in GONE GIRL and NIGHT FILM. And THE THIRTEENTH TALE and THE NIGHT CIRCUS have atmosphere that totally swept me up and drew me into their beautiful worlds.

If you yourself could be a character from any classic novel, whose life would you want... and why?

The problem with classic novels is that they usually end tragically. I love the atmosphere in books like WUTHERING HEIGHTS and JANE EYRE but they’re just so bleak. It’s a modern classic, but I might chose Claire from Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER series. She’s a nurse in the 1940s who falls back in time to Highlander Scotland and is swept up in a dashing romance. There are parts that are still pretty bleak, but I would so love to travel back in time, and Scotland is one of my favorite places.

Thank you so much, Megan! 

I love so many of the books you recommended. IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS has been pretty high up my TBR list for a while, THE THIRTEENTH TALE is my third all-time favorite book by anyone, and THE NIGHT CIRCUS is pretty up there on my favorites list, too! Some other great choices as well, but especially those!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Megan Shepherd
Release Date: Jan. 28, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins

To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it. 

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her. 

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again. 

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive. 

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.


During The Books Under Your Bed Week,
We're giving away a book of YOUR CHOICE
from the event!

It could be any book in the Madman's Daughter trilogy!

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL to any country that Book Depository ships to.  You can also claim an e-book as a prize; it doesn't have to be a physical copy!

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