5108399Hi Friends!  Today, I’m talking to the talented Megan Shepherd, author of The Madman’s Daughter, Her Dark Curiosity and the soon to be released The Cage!

You can find my review of Her Dark Curiosity here.

Thank you for stopping by Megan!




What inspired you to become a writer?
It was a chance comment, actually. After college I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal for two years, and I kept a blog during that time. When I came home, an acquaintance said they’d loved reading the blog and they thought I had a future as a writer. As it happened, one of the projects I worked on in Peace Corps was to put together a book of my village’s folk tales, so writing was already in the back of my head. All I needed was that one person to believe in me!

What was the last book you read?
Winger by Andrew Smith. In January I did a book festival with Andrew Smith, and really liked what he had to say about his books, so I decided to pick one up. Winger is about a boy in boarding school dealing with friends, romance, and life, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I want to read his new book, Grasshopper Jungle.

Kiss, Marry, Kill: Heathcliff, Mr. Rochester, Mr. Darcy. Why?
Kiss Heathcliff, because he’s so brooding and passionate, and yet I do not see myself doing taxes and grocery shopping and cleaning the house together with that crazy man.
Marry Mr. Darcy, because awww! I just love him.
Kill Mr. Rochester, because even though I’m a huge Jane Eyre fan, the man kept his first wife locked in an attic for years. She was crazy sure, but still. I wouldn’t take any chances.

What sparked the idea for The Madman’s Daughter series?
Even though The Madman’s Daughter series is inspired by Gothic classics, my first inspiration was the television show LOST. I loved the idea of a mysterious island that was like a microcosm of society, with secrets and danger. That idea led me back to HG Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, and I decided I could retell the concept from a new character’s perspective

The books in the series are twisted, new tales that draw from classic stories and characters. What made you pick these particular stories and what kind of research did you do?
I picked The Island of Doctor Moreau because I wanted to write about a mysterious island. I picked the subsequent books, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Frankenstein, because I wanted books that shared a similar theme and mood. All of these classics are a little dark and twisted, and deal with scientific experimentation and monstrosities. The themes really fit together well.

In both of the books, Edward is such a deliciously dark and secretive character. What were some key points to Edward in order to craft his character and journey through the series?
In the first book, I couldn’t delve too deeply into Edward’s character, because he had a surprising backstory that factored into some of the twists in the end of the book. But in the second book, Her Dark Curiosity, I had more freedom to explore his personality—or rather his split personality. I loved playing with the two sides of him; one kind and quirky, the other fiercely dangerous yet strangely alluring.

All of the characters in your series are well developed, struggling with two very different sides to them. Who is your favorite character to write?
I loved writing Balthazar, one of Dr Moreau’s creations, who is a half-bear half-dog creature made to look and act human. Ironically, even though Balthazar is a “monster,” he shows the most humanity in the entire book. Likewise, most of the human characters in the books are actually the “monsters.”

Juliet’s struggle of identity and darkness takes front and center in Her Dark Curiosity. Were you ever afraid of Juliet going too dark and not being able to come back from it?
Yes, and I wanted readers to fear for her as well. In Her Dark Curiosity she makes a lot of very serious mistakes that are all in response to her spiraling into darkness. I wanted to show the ways in which she could end up like her father, mad and obsessed with science and playing God.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing your novels?
It was difficult to maintain one cohesive storyline across three books that were inspired by three different classics. At the same time, this was really fun. I loved pulling in symbols and themes and characters from those classics to populate Juliet’s story. It was amazing how organically everything fit together, in the end.

How do you like your potato?
What?! Where did this question come from? I love it! I like my potato in waffle fry form, with plenty of ketchup and salt.

Do you have a favorite literary character?
I love all three of the female leads in Kristin Cashore’s Graceling series: Katsa, Fire, and Bitterblue. They are all such well-rounded characters, flawed but also skilled. They are all people I would want to know.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Well, currently I’m writing two series at once, so I usually don’t do ANYTHING but write! When I do get a break, I go hiking with my dog, or hoseback riding, or daydream at coffeeshops. My husband and I just bought a farm, so we’re planning on getting chickens and gardening, so that should take up a lot of free time.

And what is the one question you always wish someone would ask you, but haven’t yet? (Answer too please!)
Hmm, I’m not sure! People so often ask me what my favorite books are, but they rarely ask about my favorite tv shows or movies. To me, a good story is a good story, no matter if it’s in a book or on TV. I get so much inspiration from well-written shows like GAME OF THRONES, THE WALKING DEAD, MAD MEN, LOST, and REVENGE. I read so much for work that sometimes I enjoy just getting lost in a story on TV

Thank you so much for stopping by Megan! I cannot wait for the third book to come out. (and to see the cover, which I know will be fabulous!)

You guys can find Megan on twitter at @megan_shepherd or find her online here!