Author Interviews Giveaways

Interview: Jennifer Donnelly, Author of ‘These Shallow Graves’ + Giveaway

October 5, 2015


I’m so very excited to welcome Jennifer Donnelly to the blog today, in celebration of October being release month for not one – but TWO – of her books. Jennifer is the author of The Waterfire Saga (which I really enjoyed!) and These Shallow Graves (which was my favourite read last month!) You can read my review of These Shallow Graves here. And, if you’re interested in grabbing a copy for yourself, why not enter the giveaway?

a-jenniferQ: You have two books being released this month – Dark Tide (Book #3 in The Waterfire Saga) on October 13th and These Shallow Graves on the 27th. I can’t imagine how huge that must be! How are you celebrating?

A: It’s very exciting and I’m celebrating with my readers! I’m on a five-week book tour in the UK and the US for both DARK TIDE and THESE SHALLOW GRAVES from October into November. It’s so cool to talk about Serafina, Neela, and their friends, with fans of the series, and to introduce a brand new character, Jo Montfort, to my readers.

Q: The Waterfire Saga is your first series for both middle-grade and young adult readers, how did find writing a four-book series as opposed to standalone novel?

A: It was great fun. I loved being able to leave one book on a cliff hanger as I started the next, and I loved being able to stay with the characters, and their story, through four books. I’m just wrapping up the fourth book, SEA SPELL, and I already miss these characters.

a-jennifer2Q: These Shallow Graves is your latest book for Young Adults and it’s also a standalone novel. Did the idea of making it into a series ever tempt you?

A: It did….and still does. Jo, Eddie, and Oscar are still very much talking to me and I’d like to find out what happens to them all next. We’ll have to see!

Q: Your books most often come from something that’s inspired you, or a character that begs you to tell their stories. Can you tell us a bit about how These Shallow Graves came about, and how the story began with a vision of a mysteriously tattooed man?

A: A man with weird markings on his face, who also happened to be dead, showed up in my head. He had long dark hair and was wearing clothes from another time. Who are you? I asked him. What do you want? But he wouldn’t answer. He just lay in his coffin with his hands folded over his chest, decay beginning to creep. He wouldn’t leave, either. And since he wasn’t going to explain himself, I needed someone who would. That’s when other people started showing up: a teenaged reporter named Eddie, a thief lord called the Tailor; Oscar, a coroner’s assistant. And a girl. Her name was Josephine Montfort. Her story was intertwined with the dead man’s, and she became the heroine of These Shallow Graves.

a-jennifer4Q: Josephine Montfort is an extremely determined and capable young woman for her time period. How important is it for you to ensure your leading characters are someone your readers can look up to? How do you prepare for this?

A: Jo, and all my characters, come to me pretty fully formed out of the mists of my imagination, and then I need to do the work of finding out who they are. It’s not so much that I ensured she was someone readers could look up to, it was more that that’s just who Jo is.

Q: Do you think a lot of authors find historical fiction daunting with all the research that comes with it? Do you feel comfortable within the genre?

A: I think there’s no way to write historical fiction without loving research. I sure do. I research before I start writing, and while I’m writing, and if there was no such thing as a deadline, I’d still be researching for all of my books. There’s nothing I love more than digging around in archives, going to museums, or walking the streets of ancient cities, imagining how they looked when my characters walked them.

About the Book

jd-tsgSet in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat.

Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish.

With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep

Visit Jennifer Donnelly

Official Website • Goodreads • Twitter


Giveaway is international to wherever The Book Depository ships. Winner will have 48 hours to respond upon winning. Contest closes the 31st of October, 2015.

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  • Reply Rosie @ The Literary Hedonist October 26, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Well done interview, and a generous giveaway. Thanks!

  • Reply Raphaela P. October 24, 2015 at 6:23 am

    i haven’t read the book but it seems really interesting.definately in my tbr
    and the interview is amazing

    PS:thanks for the chance ^^

  • Reply Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic October 10, 2015 at 8:35 am

    I’ve just finished my arc of These Shallow Graves and I loved it so much! It was great reading this interview – I sincerely hope that TSG will become a series! ;D
    Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic recently posted…I wondered outside my comfort zone by reading These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly and #noregretsMy Profile

  • Reply Cassidy Wang October 8, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Ooooooohh! I can not wait to read this but so much is coming out the fall and winter. Including darktide need that one!
    Cassidy Wang recently posted…Interview with Emily C. BurgerMy Profile

  • Reply Cassidy wang October 8, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Ooooooohh! I hope to have a chance to read this, I can’t wait but so much books are coming out this winter and fall
    Cassidy wang recently posted…Interview with Emily C. BurgerMy Profile

  • Reply Sui Generis October 7, 2015 at 5:18 am

    Great interview! I really love The Waterfire Saga and enjoyed it very much so I’m very excited to read These Shallow Grave!

  • Reply Joy @ Thoughts By J October 5, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    While I’m not a fan of mermaids and such, These Shallow Graves is definitely a book up my alley! I’m always so fascinated with the way that stories/ideas come to an author – where do you start? I know research is a huge part to a book, but how do you create an idea in your head way before heading into the research stage of writing? It’s so cool – and also a little creepy – to find out about the mysterious dead man that started Jennifer’s whole journey of writing These Shallow Graves. But it’s also so, so fascinating! Is that weird? Heh. Thanks for sharing lovely! xx
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…ARC Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick NessMy Profile

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