A big welcome to Megan Shepherd who is here to telling us about where she got inspiration for HER DARK CURIOSITY and the rest of The Madman’s Daughter trilogy and celebrating the release of HER DARK CURIOSITY, The Madman’s Daughter #2 (published on January 28, 2014 by Balzer + Bray). Want to win a copy? Enter via the widget below. Plus, click on the blog tour banner for the rest of the stops!
Inspiration for HER DARK CURIOSITY
When I first wrote THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER as a reimagining of HG Wells’ THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU, I intended it as a stand-alone novel. The ending is a bit tragic and open-ended, but that’s just how I was going to let the story end, and allow the reader’s imaginations fill in the blanks for what happened in Juliet Moreau’s future. However, nearly everyone who read the manuscript—my critique partners, agent, and editors—all wanted to know what happened next. They suggested I continue the story as a trilogy. That’s when I was left with an interesting conundrum…how do you continue a retelling beyond the classic that inspired it?
Fortunately, for me the answer came quite naturally. I was familiar with Gothic classics and knew that many of them explored similar themes and had similar elements like mad scientists, murderous beasts, and the same moody atmosphere. At the end of THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, one of the characters already has a Jekyll and Hyde thing going on, so it made perfect sense to continue the story drawing inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s work.
Whereas the first book in my series was a pretty close retelling, HER DARK CURIOSITY is more loosely inspired by THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. Instead of an alternative version, I pictured it instead as hinting at events and characters that might have led an author such as Stevenson to write JEKYLL AND HYDE. So in HER DARK CURIOSITY you’ll find a central character torn between a hedonistically violent self, and another conflicted but good self. The type of science explored—serums and chemistry—is the same. The dark Victorian London streets is the same setting. And one of the big twists—handwriting in a letter—is the same. Not to mention, I had a great time figuring how to include the titular character names “Jekyll” and “Hyde.” A few minor characters from JEKYLL AND HYDE make appearances too, like Sir Danvers Carew and Inspector Newcomen (in mine, renamed Inspector Newcastle). I built Juliet Moreau’s story around some of these basic characters and story elements.
(There’s also a healthy dose of inspiration taken from Jack the Ripper lore, because it’s too good to resist!)
For the third book, it made sense to base the final book off the most epic of all Gothic classics, FRANKENSTEIN. It is also not a direct retelling or an alternative version. In part, the events of Mary Shelley’s FRAKENSTEIN occurred about a hundred years before the events in my series. So Juliet Moreau and friends are dealing with the legacy of Frankenstein and his descendants, and how it all circles back to her own father’s work.
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.
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.
Author Photo by Kristi Hedberg Photography
HER DARK CURIOSITY by Megan Shepherd
Available on January 28, 2014 by Balzer + Bray
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.
1 grand prize pack a paper back of Madman’s Daughter, hardcover of Her Dark Curiosity, a tea canister for both books, and bookmarks
5 Tea prize packs that will include individual custom book tea bags and bookmarks!
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About the author
- Interview with Max GladstoneJuly 29, 2014
- Deadly Destinations: Gina Rosati & win AURACLEAugust 8, 2012