Author Guest Post: Jessica Verday + Giveaway

Today I have Jessica Verday talking about her research into her new release Of Monsters and Madness. Check out my review of her book and stay tuned for a giveaway at the end of her post.



For me, one of the best parts of writing a book is the research that goes into setting the scene. The backdrop of this world I’m creating. I always find the best way to set a scene is to visit it, and I’m usually drawn to places where it’s easy to imagine my characters seeing the gnarled oak trees around them when they go for a walk, hearing the horse-drawn carriage wheels singing along the cobblestone streets, or smelling freshly baked bread from the marketplace.

To be able to capture some of these real life moments and bring them to my fictional world is something that I crave every single time I get a new story idea. I want to walk the streets too, see the details on the houses, and touch the old doors or scarred walls. Because when I’m using these elements in my stories — I want to take my readers right there along with me.

Philadelphia was the perfect place to set OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS. You can still feel the 1800’s in places like Pennsylvania Hospital, The Mütter Museum, and Eastern State Penitentiary. And BONUS: the hard work of setting the scene was already done for me. You can’t get much more ideal for a Gothic mad scientist book than a historic town full of old buildings, dark alleyways, and a hospital with an asylum.

The fact that I could go tour the historic medical library at Pennsylvania Hospital and see the operating room that would inspire Annabel’s father’s laboratory was an amazing experience. Sitting in that rounded theatre, I could examine the types of tools that would have been used in that earlier era, run my hand across the simple wooden operating table at the center of the great room, and imagine what it would have been like to watch surgeries being performed there.

When I started realizing all of the connections to Philadelphia that Edgar Allan Poe had and how many medical advancesjess pic were achieved in that great city that I could use to draw upon for Annabel’s background, I knew it was meant to be. To have the opportunity for such hands-on research is the best kind of research there is.

Fascinating! Thanks for telling us a little more about your research into this spooky book.

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

Follow the blog tour. Tomorrow stop by Acting up with Books to see an interview with Jessica and another chance to win!


One resident of US/Can will receive a signed copy of Of Monsters and Madness.

Ends 9-10.

Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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Kristen is the co-blog owner of The Book Monsters. Kristen is an Elementary School Library Media Specialist in the Chicago suburbs who loves reading. Why else would she be a librarian?

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12 responses to “Author Guest Post: Jessica Verday + Giveaway

  1. I think the setting sounds amazing! I can’t wait to read this book 🙂 I didn’t realize Poe had connections to Philadelphia. I’ve been there once, and do remember it had a very gothic feel to it, so it makes sense!
    Great post, and thanks for the giveaway guys 😉

  2. Some of the places you referenced sound very interesting, like the museum and the hospital. I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to enter any of those dark, creepy buildings. I have a healthy fear of the dark and unknown and an unhealthy fascination with the same. This sounds like an excellent book for me.

  3. Lori Hopkins

    Loved the post by Ms. Verday. It is obvious that she really went into depth with her research for the book. Its awesome that she wrote about EAP, one of the best imaginative minds EVER!

  4. I love Poe retellings! Should really read some of his original work one of these days! I hear can be depressing and gruesome but I love horror and gothic novels. Excited for this one! Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. Tia

    I love Jessica Verday’s writing. The Hollow Series is one of my favorites. It sounds like I would enjoy this new book too.

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