Deadly Destinations: Susan Dennard & win SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY

August 12, 2012 Deadly Destinations 77

Today’s Deadly Destination is and interview with Susan Dennard about her debut SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY (published on July 24, 2012 from HarperTeen). Want to win a copy? Enter via the widget below.

**Visit Dark Faerie Tales today for her Deadly Destination from James R. Tuck & a chance to win BLOOD AND SILVER**

Hosted by All Things Urban Fantasy & Dark Faerie Tales  August 1st-31st 

Interview with Susan Dennard from SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY

ATUF: SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY is set in 1876 Philadelphia.  What made you choose that time period and location for your story?

SD: I’ve always been fascinated by 19th century civilization. Some of my favorite classics are from that time–Dickens, Poe, Doyle. I also knew that the time period would add some delicious conflict for my heroine–all those SKIRTS and CORSETS, not to mention the suffocating social restrictions. Plus, I’ve loved steampunk as an aesthetic since I was kid (thank you DINOTOPIA!).

Main Hall Interior, Centennial Exhibition

Main Hall Interior, Centennial Exhibition

When I was trying to find a setting for SS&D, I knew I wanted a steampunk vibe with some horror elements thrown in.  After some early research online, I stumbled on the Centennial Exhibition–America’s first World’s Fair–and I thought, “What a COOL place for some zombie take overs!”

ATUF: What can you tell us about the Spirit Hunters? Their lab?

SD: The Spirit-Hunters met a few years before the events of SS&D. Chance–and a nasty haunting–brought them together on a steamboat in the Mississippi. They very rarely get paid, but fortunately, Joseph has some money saved up…and Jie and Daniel can be pretty resourceful when it comes to snagging finding food.

Their lab–a tiny hole in the wall at the Centennial Exhibition–is actually more of an insult than it is a useful space. Daniel takes up most of the space with his inventions and experiments. Fortunately, their drab quarters don’t hold them back–and in book 2, A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY, the team gets a major upgrade in Paris!

ATUF: The zombies in SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY rise out of Laurel Hill Cemetery.  Is this a real location or fictional?  Does it have any distinguishing characteristics?

SD: Laurel Hill IS in fact quite real, and I actually visited the cemetery while I was writing the book. (I probably disturbed the other visitors though, since I ran through the graveyard as if zombies were on my heels and tried to figure out where exactly Eleanor would go!)

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Laurel Hill is it’s white gatehouse, which stood in 1876 and STILL stands today!  Eleanor presses her face against the iron bars to watch the corpses shamble by within, and I actually did the same thing! Well…minus the shambling corpses, of course. 😉

ATUF: What were some of your favorite steampunk elements that you incorporating into SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY?

Eleanor by Natalia Pierandrei

Daniel by by Natalia Pierandrei

SD: Well, I definitely wouldn’t call SS&D a hardcore steampunk. It’s more a gothic adventure with–as you say–steampunk elements (or that’s how I see it, at least!). I have to say, I LOVED making up the Spirit-Hunters’ inventions. My husband, who’s a mechanical engineer, helped me come up with all of them. From the goggles with magnetic powder to the earrings to the explosives, he would help me take my idea and flesh it into something that could actually (well…in theory) work.

ATUF: If SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY were ever made into a movie, who would your dream or, to keep things interesting, nightmare cast be?

SD: Nightmare cast?! Um, if anyone waifish and thin were cast as Eleanor, I’d DIE. Or more likely, I’d punch someone in the nose. 😉

Rachel Hurd-Wood and Ben Barnes from the movie Dorian Gray

As for a dream cast, I think Rachel Hurd-Wood (with blonde hair and those voluptuous curves) would be a great Eleanor. Or–if she could gain some weight!–then Mia Wasikowska would be the perfect Eleanor Fitt.

I’d also love to see Max Irons as Daniel (swooon!), Anthony Mackie as Joseph, and Jessica Lu as Jie. Ben Barnes is the PERFECT Clarence, and Emma Roberts (with dark hair) would be a great Allison.

Sigh…I love imagining my book as a movie or TV show. Dream big, right? 😉

ATUF: What other projects can we look forwarding to reading from you soon?

SD: Soon? Hmmm…well, there’s a SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY novella in the works–shhh! And also the rest of the series (A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY + an untitled third book).

In the meantime, I’m working on a space opera/romance with author Sarah J. Maas–though who knows when that might actually reach public eyes!

ATUF: What are some of your favorite titles/authors in the paranormal or steampunk genres?

SD: I lovelovelove M.K. Hobson’s NATIVE STAR. It’s definitely one of my favorite steampunk-ish books out there! I also adore A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY by Libba Bray (though it’s more gaslamp than steampunk).

ATUF: Finish this statement with as much/little detail as you like: You’ll like SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY if you like…



Giveaway provided by Susan Dennard & HarperTeen
2 winners: One winner will receive a copy of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY & swag
One will receive a copy of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY 


Published on July 24, 2012  from HarperTeen


There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

The year is 1876 and Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

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77 Responses to “Deadly Destinations: Susan Dennard & win SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY”

  1. erinf1

    thanks for a fun post! I’ve heard such wonderful things about this book, congrats to the author on the great release!

  2. Keslynn

    I heart zombies and I especially heart Philly. I definitely want to check out Laurel Hill Cemetery now!

  3. Marie O.

    Ooh…this book sounds really good. I can’t wait to read it!

  4. TayteH

    That’s a pretty fancy entrance to a cemetery. I like it. But I bet it’s really creepy at night. Perfect for the book. 😀

  5. Jen D.

    I love that your vision of Eleanor is a curvy girl. Also, I would have loved to see you running through that cemetery. 😉

  6. Julie S.

    Thanks for the post. I think a horror steampunk book is really interesting and I’m looking forward to reading it.

  7. Kelly Mills

    I really enjoy genre mash-ups, although I don’t think we see enough of them. A steampunk-horror combo sounds pretty awesome.

  8. LisaC

    Historic Philly sounds quite atmospheric. I’ll keep an eye out for the space opera too.

  9. Pat

    The best book! On my TBR LIST! So excited for September! Winners announced!

  10. hope

    If you could would you choose to live in 19th centuary England or Americas (or anywhere), despite the social restiction that women of that time period faced every day?

    thanks for a great giveaway!

  11. Rose. P

    Wow, what a great post! Thanks for he awesome giveaway too & good luck everyone!

  12. Nora-Adrienne Deret

    I’m a bit cash shy these days, and neither of the 2 county libraries I have access to have copies of this book. I’d really love to win a copy. I do love the dress on the cover and wish I were 40 yrs younger and 70lbs lighter so I could wear it. LOL

  13. Kai W.

    That would a perfect cast of actors for your book. The book already sounds interesting. It’s definitely a must read for me.

  14. Dani Nguyen

    Wow, running through the cemetery to figure out the best escape route? That’s dedication! This book sounds really good & I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the chance to win!

  15. Samantha

    very excited to read this, love the bit about running through the graveyard!

  16. Carl

    That Centennial Exhibition illustration is great. Makes me wish I’d been there. Really a great period to set a story. Such a lot of optimism and a spirit of adventure then.

  17. Zara Alexis

    If you could choose to be one type of paranormal creature, what would you choose? Just wondering! It looks like a great read…and I LOVE the cover. 😀

  18. Tiff- Escaping... One Book @ a Time

    I loved the Great and Terrible Beauty series by Libba Bray as well. Attracted by the covers addicted to the story 🙂 So seeing I was already looking forward to Something Strange and Deadly and then Susan points out that you will enjoy it if you enjoyed that book… I AM IN bigger need now 🙂

  19. Natasha

    I can’t wait to read this one!!! Thanks for the chance to win!

  20. Ames

    Great interview and dream cast! I’m not sure what a space opera romance entails but it sounds pretty exciting, especially since you’re co-writing it with Sarah J. Maas! I’m a big fan of Natalia Pierandrei’s art-work, so I was pretty happy to see that she had done some illustrations for Something Strange and Deadly. I have a copy of M.K. Hobson’s Native Star, but I haven’t touched it yet, but I definitely should give it a go soon. Thank you for the giveaway! 🙂

  21. Marie-Claude

    WOW!!! This book sound amazing. I need to read it….a mash up steampunk and horror storie really intrigue me!!!

  22. Barbara Elness

    This sounds like such a fantastic story and the cover is gorgeous.

  23. Jasmyn

    I love the timeperiod and I love the setting! Sounds like a homerun.

  24. CCAM

    This book is on my list and will be one of my “must read” even if I cannot participate to this great giveaway.
    I like when the authors use real locations and/or facts in their fantasy book

  25. Caty R

    When I was in London I took an architecture class where we talked about the Centennial Exhibition and then went on a “field trip” to see where structures/pieces of that building has been incorporated into modern day London so that was pretty cool.

  26. Stephanie27

    I love a good zombie novel. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this.

  27. Maria pronounced Mariah

    love the cover of this book…really looking forward to reading it!

  28. Sariah

    Great cast. I think this book sounds really interesting. Love Philly. Thanks for the chance.

  29. Lacey T

    I rarely read zombie books, but this one seems so interesting! I’d love to read this 🙂

  30. Kenia

    Great post! I can’t wait to read Something Strange and Deadly. Thank you for the great giveaway! 🙂

  31. Erika

    This looks so scary and interesting! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  32. Chelsea B.

    Wonderful interview! I can’t wait to read Something Srange and Deadly!

  33. Samantha

    This just sounds like my type of read! And I really enjoyed A Great and Terrible Beauty so I know that I’m going to enjoy this one as well!

  34. Brandy

    Love, love the title and the cover. This in my TBR Mountain. Thanks for the giveaway

  35. Kelsey d

    This sounds completely differnt from anything I’ve read before. I’d love to gt the chance to read it!

  36. HollyB

    Thanks for the interview, I love it! Susan seems like such an awesome person, her responses to interview questions are always great 🙂 I would pretty much give ANYTHING to read a book that was co-authored by her and Sarah Maas!! That’s the dynamic duo of young female writers FOR SURE! The period in which the book is set is also one of my favorites to read about and to read books from. That’s certainly one reason (of many!) that I like steampunk so much. As another commenter mentioned, I also have a copy of Hobson’s Native Star, as well as the sequel, and now that I know it’s one of Susan’s favorites, it’ll be bumped up on my list! I haven’t read anything by Libba Bray, although a good number of her books are on my TBR list, and I’m adding A Great and Terrible Beauty as we speak.

    Thank you for the giveaway, I’ve been wanting to read this book for sooo long, and I would absolutely love to win. And thanks for this AWESOME MONTH you’ve got going – it’s a brilliant idea!!

  37. Bridget Howard

    Your books sounds amazing. I haven’t really read many zombie books so I am interested to see if I will like the genre!!!

  38. whitewolfreads

    This sounds glorious. I’ve been really enjoying various books set in that time period and this seems like a welcome addition. Can’t wait to dig in.

  39. Danielle B

    I can’t wait to read Something Strange and Deadly, it sounds like an amazing book! Oh, and I love the character sketches! 😀

  40. Jolene A

    Great post! I’ve heard so many great things about this book and I can’t wait to get started on it

  41. Christiane C.

    Love the cover and the book is making me intrigued just by your synopsis 😀 Thanks for the giveaway!

  42. Stephanie

    I love that your picturing your dream cast and wanting the actresses to gain weight! I love zombies and steam punk! This book has been on my wishlist for a while and I have been excited to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!

  43. Sarah R.

    I’ve heard many great things about this book! Can’t wait to read it sometime in the future 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway!