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.
Now on to the post!
The HER DARK CURIOSITY tour of London (Note: These are Megan's own pictures she took while in London)
The second book in the Madman’s Daughter series is set in London. Because it’s such an iconic city, I knew I had to go there in order to capture the perfect mood. In the winter of 2012, I scoured the city to find the perfect balance of dark and beautiful settings for Juliet Moreau’s adventures.
Kensington Botanical Gardens
Based on the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, several scenes in the book take place around the frozen lake, the stone statuary, and the steamy tropical greenhouse that evokes Moreau’s island. Because Kew Gardens is outside of central London, I created a fictional botanical garden closer to the action called Kensington. However, anyone familiar with Kew Gardens will recognize much of the iconic architecture, including the Palm House. When I visited Kew Gardens, I found centuries old machinery and spiral staircases intertwined with overgrown vines. It was the perfect setting for some epic chase scenes.
Whitechapel & Shoreditch
At the time of The Madman’s Daughter, Jack the Ripper would still be fresh in the public’s minds. Whitechapel was the seedy neighborhood where the Ripper staged his murders, and it also is mentioned in Jekyll & Hyde. I used Whitechapel and the poor but more respectable neighborhood of Shoreditch as the locations for some of the more gruesome elements of the story. It’s where Juliet has her secret attic where she grafts rosebushes for money, and where the story’s murderer lurks. When I took a Jack the Ripper tour in Whitechapel, it was so unsettling that one woman in the group fainted!
In sharp contrast to Whitechapel and Shoreditch, the Belgrave Square area of London is where most of the story’s wealthy characters live, in addition to being the location of many embassies and notable churches. Juliet was born in a house located on the square, and her best friend Lucy lived not far away, and her new ward, Professor von Stein, lives on a fictional street nearly. I named the street Dumbarton Oaks after a beautiful park I used to work near in Washington DC. On my trip to London, my husband and I stayed in a hotel in this area, because much of it is the original buildings from the nineteenth century.
Covent Garden was one of the main market areas of Victorian London, where one could purchase anything one desired. There were different areas for vegetables, fabrics, flowers, shoes, and other goods. It’s a great contrast because shoppers of all economic levels mixed here. In HER DARK CURIOSITY, Juliet is friends with a butcher and adopts his dog, Sharkey. Covent Garden is where she goes to escape polite society and also sell her grafted rosebushes.
King’s College is a prominent setting in the Madman’s Daughter series. It is where Juliet’s father worked, and where she worked as a maid. In HER DARK CURIOSITY Juliet and her associates spend much time wandering the elegant staircases, the dark basements, and the secret classrooms. I based it off the historic Strand Campus of King’s College, which still houses the school of natural sciences (among other disciplines). Of course some of the building is fictionalized, such as the King’s Club’s smoking room packed with taxidermied prizes, and the laboratory in the basement, but much of it is based on the real building, including these great old labyrinthine staircases.
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 aquaintance 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
1 grand prize pack a paper back of Madman's Daughter, hardcover of Her Dark Curiosity, a tea canister for both books, and bookmarks. US/Canada Only
5 Tea prize packs that will include individual custom book tea bags and bookmarks! US/Canada Only
Here’s the Tour Schedule!
1/20/2014- A Backwards Story- Interview
1/21/2014- Crossroad Reviews- Review
1/22/2014- Step Into Fiction- Interview
1/23/2014- Chapter by Chapter- Review
1/24/2014- Tales of the Ravenous Reader- Interview
1/27/2014- Mundie Moms- Guest Post
1/28/2014- All Things Urban Fantasy- Guest Post
1/29/2014- Bookhounds ya- Review
1/30/2014- Confessions of a Readaholic- Review
1/31/2014- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post