Author Chat with Maureen Johnson (Truly Devious), Plus Giveaway!
Today we're excited to chat with Maureen Johnson, author of Truly Devious. Read on for more about Maureen and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Maureen Johnson!
Maureen Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen YA novels, including: 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, The Name of the Star, and the upcoming Truly Devious. She is the co-author of The Bane Chronicles and Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy with Sarah Rees Brennan, Robin Wasserman, and Cassandra Clare, and Let It Snow with Lauren Myracle and John Green. She is the co-editor, with Tim Federle, of the upcoming How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation, to benefit the ACLU. Maureen lives in New York City.
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”
Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with
The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I’ve always been a mystery reader. I was mystery mad when I was a kid. The first books I read were mysteries. I spent my summers reading mysteries. I carried mysteries wherever I went. I wanted to be a detective. So this book is a pure mystery for people who love them. The historical mystery has a few real cases as inspirations—I can’t say too much. I’m not giving anything away. But it’s very much based on classic mysteries. I’m putting down the clues and following the rules. You can play along.
2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
Stevie is the main character and she and I share a lot of interests, like mysteries and true crime. But maybe poor Nate, the writer who doesn’t want to write his book because everyone keeps asking him about it and it’s making him nervous. I may relate to Nate. I’m just saying.
3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel. The text of the Truly Devious letter came much further along. But once it arrived, it was clearly the title.
4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
The historical scenes, probably. I spent a lot of time building the world of 1930s Ellingham Academy. I know where the bodies are buried.
5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Pace yourself. It’s a constant learning process.
6. What’s up next for you?
I’m the co-editor, with Tim Federle of an essay collection called HOW I RESIST, which is coming out in May. Everyone involved is donating the
advance to the ACLU. And after that, Truly Devious book two! (Actually, book two is almost done.) And after that, BOOK THREE!
7. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revising, though it can be hard to tell with my process. I write out of order, and I revise some things long before I draft others.
8. What would you say is your superpower?
I do a very good seagull impression.
9. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Any organization that provides food or takes care of animals.
By: Maureen Johnson
Release Date: January 16, 2018
I love the dark, swirling feel of the cover. The summary sounds great. I read a Maureen Johnson story for the first time in "Let It Snow" and it was amazing -- would love to read another!
I had the pleasure of receiving an e-arc of this novel and OMG HIGHLY recommend it. Diverse set of characters, intriguing mystery, and an ending that leaves you aching for more with an impatience for the next book. Hoping I can get my hands a finished copy when it’s released.
The cover has a mysterious vibe. The synopsis is very intriguing. I have really liked other books by this author and I am very excited for this book.