1. Can you tell us a little about your book?
It’s so hard to talk about a sequel without giving anything away from either book!
SENSATIONAL is a historical thriller with a touch of magic, the second book in the SPECTACLE duology. It takes place at the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) in Paris. A months-long event that drew millions of visitors, the Exposition was an international showcase of culture and innovation.
The perfect place for some grisly murders, right?
Nathalie and her friends make the first of several unsettling discoveries as beheaded victims end up in some of the Exposition’s most popular exhibits. Dun dun dun! That’s when the fun and public morgue displays begin.
As a sequel, SENSATIONAL is also about the consequences of SPECTACLE and Nathalie’s journey in the aftermath of those events. (The books are ideally read in order, but you can read the second one first. They are paired standalones.) I especially enjoyed writing the subplots—one involving a new character, one involving Aunt Brigitte—because they support the main plot and Nathalie’s character arc in different but intriguing ways.
2. Are you working on anything new?
Last month I submitted the proposal and 50-page sample of my option novel, a boarding school ghost story set in 1920s Rhode Island. I am very excited about it and crossing my fingers that it sells! I’m continuing to write and polish it as I waaaaiiiiiit. (Patiently, of course.)
3. What’s your writing process like?
I refined my process for SENSATIONAL because I was on a tight deadline, and it’s my New and Improved Method for novel-writing (I’ve extended it to my option novel, too). I do a lot, lot, lotof thinking and plotting and logic layout in my head before putting my hands on the keyboard. Then I write a rough outline, start drafting chronologically (unless there’s a scene burstingto get out), fill in the outline as I go, and write straight through to the end, making a lot of notes in the margins as I go. Then I go through it a second time, tend to the notes that need attention and separate out the ones I can address in a later draft. And then it’s usually time to turn it in!
4. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read! Read to enjoy, but also read to study what other authors do to establish mood, voice, character, setting, pace, suspense, etc. The more you write andread, the better your writing will become. And for those close to pursuing publication: Strap yourself in tight because it is indeed a roller coaster. Publishing is both rewarding and challenging, and it consists of highs, lows, thrills, and lulls. Put on your emotional armor, equip yourself with pragmatism and a solid sense of self-worth, and don’t let anyone take those things away from you.
5. What are you currently reading? I read several books at once! I’m reading The Last Wordby Samantha Hastings and House of Salt and Sorrowsby Erin Craig. Next on my bookshelf is Kate Atkinson’s latest book, Transcription.
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.