Kerri Maniscalco: “I’ve never let anyone define who I should be based on their beliefs.”

Kerri Maniscalco

[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Kerri Maniscalco and ask her five(ish) questions. Kerri’s novel Capturing the Devil is out now!]

Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?

Kerri: I go into greater detail in the author’s note in Capturing the Devil, so I won’t share spoilers here, but the short of it is: I read a jailhouse confession written by H.H. Holmes that fascinated me. After that, I sat down and started drafting out ideas for the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. Everything I’ve chosen for each book—from the castle setting in Romania, reminiscent of Holmes’ murder castle—to the RMS Etruria (which Holmes actually traveled on), and now this final installment set in Chicago has all been based on that kernel of an idea that sparked so long ago. I wish I could share more because it has been SO HARD keeping this a secret from book one, but I hope readers like how everything comes full circle in the end.

What character do you most relate to and why?

Honestly, I think Audrey Rose and I have the most in common. I was a teen obsessed with forensics and considered studying it in college, and I’ve never let anyone define who I should be based on their beliefs. I also gave Audrey Rose a chronic condition in Capturing the Devil, which is something else I relate to with my Lyme, and why I felt so strongly about adding it into the story.

Why do you feel mystery and thriller books are so popular and have such a voice right now?

In the adult market I don’t think mysteries and thrillers have ever really gone out of style, and those have always been the books I pick up when I just want a good, quick read to get lost in. In YA I tend to gravitate toward fantasy, but I’m so happy to see more offerings in the mystery and thriller genre, and hope the trend continues to grow.  

Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.

Oooh, good question! It’s the most romance heavy of all my novels, which is super exciting for me. I’ve loved getting to watch Audrey Rose and Thomas’s relationship slowly burn over the last three books, and feel like this is the novel where I doused it with accelerant and set it ablaze. Aside from the romance, readers can expect super high stakes, murder and mystery, unexpected redemption, and a revelation that circles back to Stalking Jack the Ripper. Whatever readers thought they knew about Jack the Ripper might not have been the whole story…

What’s next for you in the book world?

I’m working on something new and it’s a story I’ve been dying to tell forever! The setting is very dear to my heart and I wish I could share more, but it’s a Very Big Secret for now. I’ll be turning a draft in this fall, so hopefully I can share more details soon. I will say I have been DYING to shout about it across the internet. It’s filled with so many elements that I love as a reader and I’ve been having so much fun writing it.

Who is your favorite writer right now and why?

Oh my gosh… how am I supposed to choose just one?! Impossible. A few writers I admire are: Stephanie Garber, Traci Chee, Adrienne Young, Evelyn Skye, Hafsah Faizal, Julie Dao, Gloria Chao, Samira Ahmed, Natasha Ngan, and so many more!


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