Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
on September 20th 2016
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.
Hello, hello! I’m so excited to be a part of the Knights of Whitechapel and today I have a special guest here to talk to us! The fantastic Kerri Maniscalco agreed to let me pick her brain a bit!
I will be reviewing this book in a separate post, but spoiler alert! I LOVED it! It is beautifully written and gripping and haunting and….I should really stop before I go on and on with my gushing.
I had such a pleasure putting together this interview with Kerri! Check out what she has to say! Everybody say HIIIII KERRIIIIIIIIIII!!!!
Hi Kerri! And welcome! This is your debut novel and the first novel selected by James Patterson to be published by his new imprint, JIMMY Patterson Books. First of all, congratulations! Secondly, how does it feel to have your first book published? What was it like going through the process of working with a brand new imprint (and one created by a very well-known author)?
Thank you so much! It is completely and utterly surreal. I’ve been writing with the hopes of getting published since 2009/2010 and for it to *actually* be coming true? I still think I’m in shock and denial. The entire team at JIMMY Patterson Books have been incredible in every sense of the word. There were no hiccups or issues and I’ve been treated so well. I’m grateful to have each of them on my team—they’re amazing humans, and are extremely passionate about books and their jobs. I could gush over the whole team for days. But yeah. James Patterson has been really great with making sure my voice and story are well taken care of. And my editor is an absolute dream. I think everyone should be so lucky to work with Jenny!
Stalking Jack the Ripper is teeming with history, and a bit of gore as well. What drew you to the idea of telling this story?
Honestly? I’m in love with science. Forensics are a field that I’ve always been interested in for as long as I can remember. At one point, I almost switched majors—from art school in NYC to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville—to study forensics at the Body Farm. I fully believe that seeing beyond the gore and using clues left at a crime scene is like real life magic. I could nerd out for a while, so I’ll try to keep it brief…and not so gory and geek out over the Body Farm…
That mixed with my love of inspiring female leads and how they bucked the system in a restrictive society were some big draws for me.
I can picture the world you are describing so vividly as I am reading! How much research did you have to do for this book? Where did you begin? And what was one of the most interesting (or weird) things you learned while you were doing your research?
Oh! This makes me so happy to hear—thank you for the compliment. I did more research than I can ever properly express. Everything from clothing and what was worn when, from tea parties and the various nuances of what was served or discussed during them, to every detail about the Ripper case/murders. I even read through medical examiner documents that were taken at the murder scenes.
I started with the Ripper crimes and then fleshed out more historical details—even down to what soaps were used and if there were phones and electricity or gas in homes—as I wrote each chapter. Sometimes it would take three or four hours to sift through articles and documents in order to find the information I needed for a half of a sentence. Those details are worth all the time it took to find them, though. (I hope.)
One of the weirdest things I discovered was that a body smells like a raw, whole chicken when no injuries had been sustained. Pretty creepy stuff. Luckily I had my mews snuggled next to me for most of the scarier research 😀
I love the photos that you included throughout the book! They really pull you even deeper into the story. What made you decide to add photos to your book? And how did you decide which ones to use?
Thank you! I love historical novels that include period photos and illustrations, and I felt they would really add to painting a clear picture for readers to have some crime scenes or locations included. The Mitre Square photo was so evocative by itself, and then the Necropolis was another I adored. It’s always interesting to see the actual historic sites…at least, I think so.
As I am reading Stalking Jack the Ripper, I can picture you in a candlelit library, sitting in a plush armchair, plotting ways to make your readers squirm. So spill….what is your writing space really like? Do you prefer to work in order or chaos?
Hahaha I definitely like that imagery and will have to see what I can do to make that happen in reality! While writing STALKING JACK THE RIPPER I spent time between my house and Chris’s loft. I’d either write in my bed or in his while he was working on his projects in the living room, and I’d split up the scarier scenes by drinking tea and making food. For such a dark novel, I really had a great time writing it!
Recently I purchased an actual desk—it’s this really cool industrial piece with reclaimed wood—and paired it with a feminine tufted chair, so I have an office space that’s very, very neat. I have bookshelves along one wall and have hung fairy lights above them to give off a twinkling glow. I love vintage pieces and also have them sprinkled about for inspiration. I need organization in order to function, so my desk has drawer organizers and I have all my supplies in their proper homes. I like being able to know exactly where something is when I need it. When things are neat I just feel better mentally.
I know SJTR hasn’t even released yet, but what’s next? Are you working on another book? Give us the scoop!
I’m finishing up book two in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series — it’s been a TON of fun to write…probably more fun than is acceptable given the subject matter. But it’s been really wonderful getting to explore the characters and see them grow on this next leg of their journey. I’d written SJTR with the hopes of it being the first in a new series of interconnected standalones, and am thrilled I get to do just that. Book two has the same characters, a new setting, new infamous murderer, and a whole lot of intrigue. And maybe some more kissing… I love it and cannot wait for it to hit shelves in September 2017.
Ah!! I can’t wait! Thank you so much for joining us Kerri!
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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Photo credit: Kelli Maniscalco @ Dogwood Lane
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When you stalk Jack the Ripper…..
…..blame it on the books.