Thursday, June 22, 2017

Reader's Response Week~Genre: Mystery

Hello everyone, today is day two of my Reader's Response week. Today's genre is YA Mystery, and the book that I have chosen to take a better look at is Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.

If you want to find out more about why this week is happening and a little bit about this feature, check out my launch post for the Genre of YA Fantasy.

~About the Book~

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco 
Publisher: Jimmy Paterson
Publication date: 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.

~Reader's Response Interview to Stalking Jack the Ripper~

Sabrina: I would just like to take the time to thank you Kerri so much for joining me today and answering some of my questions for Stalking Jack the Ripper.

Kerri: I’m glad to help with your project, Sabrina!

Sabrina: Stalking Jack the Ripper, is completely fiction except for the fact that you took to the infamous serial killer who was never unmasked the 19th century. Did you do a lot of research on the actual murders that took place in order to help guide the story along?

Kerri: Oh, yes…I did a massive amount of research before (and while) writing Stalking Jack. I pored over case details for the Ripper murders, learning everything I could about the women prior to their deaths. It was important for me to portray them respectfully, after they’d been so brutally disregarded by Jack the Ripper. My intention was to treat this in a way that didn’t glorify the crimes or murderer, but focused more on the desperate effort of solving this case and the remarkable scientific advancements that were used—some for the first time—in history. I researched actual post-mortem documents for the victims so I could accurately capture what a young forensic student would have witnessed.

London in 1888 was also laid out a bit differently, some streets are not the same as they were during the murders, so I had to pick and choose which details to keep historically accurate, and which to modernize a bit.

But my research wasn’t just isolated to the Ripper case. Since there’s so much science and new medical technology for the day, I wanted to make sure everything that’s said or done in the book was actually something that was possible in 1888. Everything from Petri dishes to carbolic acid, fingerprint collection, photography at murder scenes, Bunsen burners, sterilization, medical tools and post-mortem procedures. All of the science and technology in the book was available at the time, which I was surprised by.

Also little details like if certain, wealthier households would have a telephone, or gas lamps vs. oil lamps, and electricity. If that changed from the city of London to the outlying towns. What was considered vulgar in polite, upperclass society, and what the rules for society were. For instance, saying “chair legs” would have been frowned upon in the Victorian era because of its reference to a body part. People used “limbs” instead. Afternoon Tea versus Royale Tea and the differences between the two and what the proper attire was for each. Etiquette, gender roles and expectations. Clothing and undergarments for women and what the bustles and corsets both looked and felt like. 

Then there were all the little details like “skittles” instead of “bowling.” “looking glass” instead of “mirror” and “biscuits” in place of “cookies.” Plus many more nuances like carbolic soap that are hardly noticeable but (hopefully) help carve out the world/atmosphere in a real and organic way. My goal was to make this book feel as authentically period as possible without having the details beat a reader over the head, or become obvious and detract from the story itself. The actual framework and timeline of the novel also follows the exact dates in which the original murders were committed. I simply fictionalized what I imagined the people behind the scenes were doing the nights of the murders.

Sabrina: While beginning to write and plan your story, had you ever imagined another character to be Jack the Ripper by the end of the book? Or had you always had your mind made up on who it ended up being?

Kerri: Before I sit down to write, I usually like to list out my cast of characters and figure out what role they’re going to play in the story. It’s really important to not have anything extraneous, each person and scene needs to propel the story forward in some way, so I make character boards pre-drafting. That helps me get to know who each of them are, what they want, why they want it, and how I can throw a wrench in their plans and make them work for it. So, to answer your question a bit more concisely, I definitely knew who Jack the Ripper was going to be before writing that first sentence. I thought it was important to know his motivations from the beginning so I could craft the rest of the story around the forensics and unwinding of the “why” behind his infamous crimes. Now…for the second book, Hunting Prince Dracula, that was a different story. I had written one character as the villain, and ended up rewriting a new character into the book because I’d come across a bit of historical information that felt like it was too good to pass up. Sometimes the story has better ways of unfolding and I’m just along for the ride. (Therefore it’s totally okay to plot or not before drafting—it’s whatever works for the individual and hardly anyone has the same process.)

Sabrina: Audrey Rose is the main character throughout the entirety of the novel, however Thomas Cresswell does make a valiant effort on trying to steal the show. Had you ever considered writing this novel as a duel POV, to allow for readers to see the inner workers of Mr. Cresswell?

Kerri: Thomas Cresswell is one of those secondary characters who sort of elbows his way into the story and commands attention. Originally, I’d seen him as a quirky side character—one who had a Sherlockian quality about him—that I’d use to push Audrey to greater heights, but he definitely demanded more page time as I started writing. I always knew his backstory and had plotted out his character arc from book to book from day one, but hadn’t planned on giving him so much page time. I wanted them to have a completely platonic friendship and he wouldn’t stay in that box. He’s since become an even greater nuisance for the second installment in the series, and I would definitely explore the idea of either including his POV (along with Audrey Rose’s), or giving him his very own story one day. Being inside his mind is always an adventure and, as a writer, it’s very fun to sit back and see where he takes me next.

Sabrina: Outlining from the beginning that Audrey lost her mother, do you believe that helped readers get the sense that without having a motherly figure to guide her through her teenage years, it allowed her to steer off course and become interested in other things besides embroidery and tea parties? Or would Audrey have found her interests with still having her mother around?

Kerri: I think that Audrey Rose’s mother really laid the groundwork for her having the bravery to pursue her career and dreams, especially in a time that was very restrictive for young women. Her mother always encouraged her to be her own person, so it was because of her being a strong woman that Audrey Rose veered off onto a path that was less traveled for women during that time. Her mother would have fully supported her daughter, and would have been proud of the person Audrey Rose had become. There’s a quote in the book that Audrey Rose repeats and it captures how much her mother influenced her to cultivate her mind: “Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.” That was her mother’s way of saying strength comes in many forms and doesn’t only mean physical strength. Being brave enough to forge your own path in life, no matter what others may say or tease you about, is the best strength we can offer ourselves. Be fearless and curious. Do the thing that makes you the most happy, even if it’s terrifying to get there.

Sabrina:  Thank you so much Kerri for allowing some time out of your busy schedule to fancy an interview with me.

Kerri: Thank you so much for thinking of me and Stalking Jack the Ripper for your English project. I hope you get an A :)

Hello everyone, today is day two of my Reader's Response week. Today's genre is YA Mystery, and the book that I have chosen to take a better look at is Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.

If you want to find out more about why this week is happening and a little bit about this feature, check out my launch post for the Genre of YA Fantasy.

~Mini Review~

There were many things I really enjoyed about Stalking Jack the Ripper, not only did we have a dazzlingly beautiful female protagonist who didn't care about social exceptions, we also had an amazing murder mystery that needed to be solve, and an undoubtedly intelligent also very beautiful male protagonist. I really enjoyed this book as a whole, as well as the individual unique aspects that made up this book.

I fell in love with Audrey Rose first, from chapter 1 all the way to chapter 30. She was a great inspiration to females all around and an amazing female protagonist that every girl should look up too. She didn't stop when people looked down upon her keen interests, and she wouldn't even stop at the expectations of her father. She held her ground throughout the whole read. I especially loved when we would have the males in this book comparing her to them, during the crime scene parts especially. Sometimes she was even better suited for the part then some of the police. Another interesting thing I would like to add is that there were points where we as readers saw her break down, it was at those parts that showed us she wasn't the be all and the end all. I also liked that she still enjoyed dressing up in the elegant gowns that are featured throughout. Overall it was a brilliant read to watch her unmask the Ripper, and equally as brilliant witnessing her peruse her set career and path.

To go along with these very awesome characters was the equally as awesome storyline. Throughout the entirety of the novel I was continuously guessing as to who Jack the Ripper was. I will say that I had assumptions as to who, and I did have a list of 2-3 people on it, but I definitely was;t in the the know until the second it was revealed. Kerri did a brilliant job at showing us readers who it was without making it so obvious. Thinking about it now, the hints dropped along the way were like little eastereggs. So she did a really great job at piecing everything together.

Overall this book should be in everyone's TBR. I had so much hosting the read along for such a beauty of a novel. From the characters, to the amazing setting, and awesome plot, this is a story to be reckoned with. I can't wait to see Audrey and Thomas's travels to Romania in books two.

No comments: