Monday, April 6, 2020

Sensational (Spectacle #2) by Jodie Lynn Zdrok-- Welcome Interview


(Spectacle #2)
by Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 11, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
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Jodie Lynn Zdrok's Sensational is the thrilling follow-up to Spectacle in which a killer haunts the Paris World's Fair of 1889.

The 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris is full of innovations, cultural displays, and inventions. Millions of visitors attend over the course of several no one would notice if a few were missing, right? Maybe—but someone is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the guillotine with a display of their own: beheaded victims in some of the Exposition's most popular exhibits.

Nathalie Baudin’s ability to see murder scenes should help, but she's suffering the effects of her magic more than ever before. Fortunately she has other Insightfuls to team up with—if they can be trusted.

Book 1

Spectacle (#1)

by Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
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A YA murder mystery in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.

Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day's new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered--from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie's search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie's strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer's identity--and she'll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.

Interview w/ Jodie Lynn Zdrok

Welcome Interview

Hi Jodie!!  Welcome to the FFBC-- We're so happy to have you!!
Thank you for having me! 😊

Can you briefly describe SENSATIONAL and the main characters?

Sensational is a historical thriller with a touch of magic set during the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) in Paris. This was a tremendous event that spanned several months and drew millions of visitors  (think about that, and the travel logistics, in the late 19th century). The Exposition was an international showcase of culture and innovation…and in the novel, a series of beheadings. *cue the Scream emoji* Let the public morgue displays begin!

Nathalie Baudin, still writing the Paris Morgue report for the newspaper and still having supernatural visions at the morgue, is clever and curious—and maybe a little too sure of herself at times. She’s also adventurous, which is one of several bonds she shares with her best friend, Simone, and Simone’s beau, Louis, a pair of independent creatives who don’t shy away from the city’s nightlife. Nathalie has a beau as well this time, Jules, a fellow Insightful. And of course Christophe, whom Nathalie had a crush on in Spectacle, is back, as is the troubled Aunt Brigitte. 

Could you tell our readers a little bit about the overall series?

Lots of Ms! Murder, magic, mystery, and my favorite M, the Paris Morgue. It’s an atmospheric, slow burn series with (I think) good payoffs at the end. Spectacle has a Jack the Ripper-style mystery at its core, but it’s also a coming-of-age story as Nathalie discovers her new power and its tie to some generational secrets. Sensational has a new set of murders sweeping the city and several new characters, and it also depicts Nathalie’s journey in the aftermath of the events in Spectacle The books are ideally read in order, but you can read the second one first (though there will be book 1 spoilers). They are paired standalones set two years apart. 

What made you interested in the setting & time period?

In graduate school, I studied modern cultural and intellectual European history. When I learned that people went to the Paris Morgue as an attraction as much as for its intended purpose (identifying bodies found in the public domain), I knew there was a story there somewhere!

The late 19th century was an exciting time for grand cities. Changes in transportation, communication, electricity, and infrastructure saw people coming together in new ways. They could experience Paris in public spaces—the theater, a museum, the morgue, cafés—and feel like they were part of something bigger, completely alienated, or at times, both. It represented a tremendous cultural shift and was, I imagine, a fascinating time to be alive.

Can you tell us one interesting fact about the Exposition Universelle that you discovered while researching this book?

The now-iconic Eiffel Tower, built for the Exposition, was supposed to be a temporary structure. The plan was for it to be dismantled in 1909. Can you imagine?

What were your favorite books in elementary/middle school?

In elementary school, the Sweet Valley Kids series. A little older, the Bunnicula books and The Babysitters Club series. A few years later my tastes drifted to where they are now: supernatural, mysteries, thrillers, and the occasional fantasy or magical realism novel.  

If you could go back and tell your YA self one thing, what would it be?

None of it will play out like you think or could even imagine. But it all works out in the end. 

What are your 3 favorite books that you read in the past year? 

Shoutout to some of my fellow 19s! The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees, The Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren, and Within and Without by Deb Maroulis. 

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be?

Danse Macabre by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. It’s a fun, spooky classical piece that I can completely envision as a background score.

What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of SENSATIONAL or the series in general.)

#ParisMorgue #worldsfairbeheadings #pseudosciencemagic

Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read SENSATIONAL (specific music, snacks…)? 

I highly recommend pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) to jog your memory of Spectacle. (I just ate one myself!) Nathalie gets to try a lot of new food and drink at the Exposition Universelle, so Sensational has a nod to dulce de leche, tea with jam, and Turkish coffee. There’s also vin de coca…it’s not available and even if it was, I definitely would not recommend it! But the setting is the world’s fair, so any international food you might find at an Epcot-style showcase should do the trick.  

What’s next for you?

Ghost stories! I found while writing Spectacle and Sensational that I really enjoyed writing the darker elements and suspenseful scenes, so I’m running with it. I have a boarding school ghost story set in 1925 that’s on submission now, I’m working on a contemporary ghost story set at the North Carolina shore. Fingers crossed one of them sells!

Thanks so much for this!!  We’re really excited to have you in our tours!

Jodie Lynn Zdrok holds two MAs in European History and an MBA. She enjoys rooting for Boston sports teams, traveling, doing races (to offset being a foodie), and posting cat photos to Instagram. She works in technology and lives in North Carolina by way of Massachusetts.

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1 comment:

  1. Great interview! I loved this series so much - it definitely deserves all the love. :)