Author Chat with Kerri Maniscalco (Hunting Prince Dracula), Plus Giveaway!
Today we're excited to chat with Kerri Maniscalco, author of Hunting Prince Dracula.
Read on for more about Kerri and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Kerri Maniscalco!
Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside New York City, where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life's finer points with her cats. Her first novel in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
Meet Hunting Prince Dracula!
Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper's true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe's best schools of forensic medicine...and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend. But her life's dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school's forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
On my mother’s side of the family I have Eastern European roots, and have always been attracted to the Balkans and that region of the world. It’s some of the most stunning and epic landscapes, and the history and culture is so rich it’s almost intoxicating. I also love the science behind myths and legends, and thought it would be really fun to write a vampire book from the perspective of a forensic student. How do they go about proving vampires didn’t exist in a time where science wasn’t looked upon as fact? Audrey Rose had her hands full of grave dirt trying to figure it out. I hadn’t read anything featuring the science that explained early myths of vampires, or strigoi, and wanted to read a book that explored that…which is how HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA came about. (Though it had been planned from before I sat down to write STALKING JACK. I’ve always had mysteries and character arcs planned from the start.)
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Oh my gosh…I have to pick just one?! There are some new characters that I absolutely fell in love with. One was mentioned in SJTR, and had been included in the first few drafts before getting cut in the final round of edits. I was ridiculously happy to see that person get some page time this time around. I also really loved writing Radu, this lovable, folklore professor. I’d like to sit down and listen to one of his lessons on Romanian folklore and eat sticky buns. (His favorite late-night snacks.)
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel! The working title was “Hunting the Impaler” and I knew it was going to change and was on board with it from the start. The whole team was really great with coming up with Stalking Jack’s title, and James Patterson is a genius with tossing ideas back and forth. We’d gone over HUNTING COUNT DRACULA before settling on HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA, since the “count” was based on Bram Stoker’s character and “prince” was the title awarded Vlad the Impaler. I love it and couldn’t be happier with all the layers that are involved with the title and its subtle meanings.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
There are a few that I was really proud of, but the one that stands out right now is the grand reveal. I had this terrifically gothic, gory idea and my editor was like HELL YES…MORE BLOOD. (You’ll totally know the scene when you read it, btw.) For me that’s the scene that gave the title of the book multiple meanings…which I can’t really get into without giving spoilers away. A close second would be the banter between Audrey Rose and Thomas throughout. Those are always SO much fun to write! I swear I could just sit back and watch them sass each other all day.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Can I say everything?!?! The wooden dagger, the creamy/white dress evocative of the winter setting, Bran Castle, the crimson brocade that’s reminiscent of the tapestries described in the academy…I was so blown away when they showed it to me. I have been blessed by the cover gods/goddesses and they just happen to all work at JIMMY Books.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017?
It’s totally cheating because I got to read an early draft, but I adored THE SPEAKER, the sequel to Traci Chee’s incredible debut, THE READER. I can’t wait for everyone to read it and fall in love with Traci’s world all over again.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Right now I’m gearing up for edits on book three in the series. Like in HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA this mystery will stand on its own, while introducing us to both old and new characters we’ve met along the way. There will be character growth and vague references to the books that have come before it, but the best way I can describe the series is as a gothic Nancy Drew. You don’t necessarily have to read them in order to appreciate the stories, but it’s fun when you do.
I can’t say much about it until the blurb and title are revealed in early 2018, but it’s filled with magic, mischief, and mayhem. A few of my favorite things :)
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Surprisingly it wasn’t Cresswell this time! Audrey Rose was pretty difficult because there’s a fine line between expressing grief and making it understandable, and not going too far with creating an unsympathetic character. I tried using my own dealings with grief and PTSD to create Audrey Rose’s struggle to overcome the events of SJTR. I’m really happy with the final result and think all the trouble was worth it to get there. (Poor Audrey Rose has been through hell and back, and it’s not over for her yet!)
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Every year my sister and I donate to HEIFER International on behalf of our parents for Christmas. It’s a global nonprofit that helps feed people and eradicate poverty by providing them with livestock and training on how to make their communities sustainable. Food and feeding people is something very personal to our culture, so it’s something I feel really passionate about, outside of writing.
Hunting Prince Dracula
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Release Date: September 19th, 2017
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
I've gotten more into historical fiction over the last year - and I love the alt history, dark and gritty take of these stories!