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Of Monsters and Madness By Jessica Verday

How a YA Author Pays Homage to Famous American Authors

Jessica Verday The Children’s Book Review | September 13, 2014


Paying Tribute to Those Who Came Before


Washington Irving, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and now Edgar Allan Poe. Paying homage to famous American authors has sort of become what I do. With Washington Irving it was THE HOLLOW Trilogy, inspired by the famous short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the follow up—THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE DAMNED—was named after a classic work by  F. Scott Fitzgerald, and my newest book, OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS, is a historical thriller that doesn’t just pay homage to Edgar Allan Poe—he’s one of the main characters. 

I decided to write OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS when a simple question (that almost every writer has been asked at some point in time) came to me:  Where do you come up with your ideas? I asked that of Poe’s work, as well. How did he come to write such darkness? Such strange and morbid tales? And then the answer hit me:  What if he had literal inspiration for the stories he wrote? What if he didn’t just write them, he lived them? Could Poe’s love of detective stories have come from a desire to learn how to commit the perfect murder? Could he have actually stuffed a beating heart beneath a floorboard? 

Looking back at his stories with these thoughts in mind gave me a whole new perspective.

I added a dash of another famous author’s work—Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (and the first non-American author to inspire one of my books) to bring all of this together and OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS was born. It was quite easy to imagine a fictional world for Poe where he struggled with two conflicting sides of himself. While there was Allan—someone who was strong, honest, brilliant, and brave—there was also Edgar—ruthless and demanding. Someone filled with rage and violence at a world that took so many people he loved, and denied him the recognition his genius so surely deserved. 

My tribute to Edgar Allan Poe with this book was to give him a second chance at life. Albeit, a dark and twisted second life—just like the stories he wrote.

About the Author
Jessica Verday

Jessica Verday

Jessica Verday is the New York Times best-selling author of The Hollow trilogy. She wrote the first draft of The Hollow by hand, using thirteen spiral-bound notebooks and fifteen black pens. The first draft of The Haunted took fifteen spiral-bound notebooks and twenty black pens. The Hidden took too many notebooks and too many pens to count. She lives in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, with her husband.  You can visit her online at www.jessicaverday.com.

Of Monsters and Madness By Jessica VerdayOf Monsters and Madness

By Jessica Verday

A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.

Annabel Lee is summoned from Siam to live with her father in 1820’s Philadelphia shortly after her mother’s death, but an unconventional upbringing makes her repugnant to her angry, secretive father.

Annabel becomes infatuated with her father’s assistant Allan, who dabbles in writing when he’s not helping with medical advancements. But in darker hours, when she’s not to be roaming the house, she encounters the devilish assistant Edgar, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Allan, and who others insist doesn’t exist.

A rash of murders across Philadelphia, coupled with her father’s strange behavior, leads Annabel to satisfy her curiosity and uncover a terrible truth: Edgar and Allan are two halves of the same person – and they are about to make the crimes detailed in Allan’s stories come to life. Unless Annabel stops them.

Ages 12 and up | Publisher: EgmontUSA | Sept. 9, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1606844632

Enter to win a copy of Of Monsters and Madnessby Jessica VerdayGiveaway ends October 12, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Discover more fiction in the Horror Books and Thriller Books genre, or follow along with our Books for Teens category.

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