Monday, March 25, 2019

Jodie Lynn Zdrok Interview - Spectacle

Photo Content from Jodie Lynn Zdrok

Jodie Lynn Zdrok holds two MAs in European History (Providence College, Brown University) and an MBA (Clark University). In addition to being an author, she’s a marketing professional, a freelancer, and an unapologetic Boston sports fan. She enjoys traveling, being a foodie, doing sprint triathlons, and enabling cats. She is represented by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (February 12, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765399687
ISBN-13: 978-0765399687

Praise for SPECTACLE

"Clever and full of murder, Jodie Lynn Zdrok's Spectacle had my eyes glued to the pages as the body count rose, and mystery stacked upon mystery as our heroine closed in on a killer who seemed miles ahead of the Parisian authorities. Fans of serial killers and criminal investigations will find much to love, and fascinating passages about morgue tours will appeal to the morbid rubbernecker in us all." ―Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series

“With a fierce heroine, grisly 19th-century murders, and a mystery that left me on the edge of my seat, Spectacle is an immersive, Parisian, YA From Hell that I absolutely devoured!" ―Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten and #MurderTrending

"Zdrok explores the universal fascination with death, set among the darker corners of 1887 Paris, and the very idea of the morgue viewings (to which parents brought their children) is chilling...Grisly, plot driven―and very creepy. Fans of historical thrillers that invoke the enduring spirit of Jack the Ripper will have fun." ―Kirkus Reviews

“Hints of the murderer’s identity are subtly and intriguingly folded into the story, and unresolved plot threads pave the way for future cases, during which Nathalie can discover more about her powers. The blend of history, mystery, and fantasy makes this debut novel a good pick for fans of Libba Bray’s Diviners series or William Ritter’s Jackaby books." ―Booklist
“The book seamlessly brings several threads together: the mystery of the murder and the horrors of the killings themselves; the beauty, bustle, and darkness of nineteenth-century Paris (the killer’s pursuit of Nathalie through the catacombs is thrillingly described); the bizarre but historically based practices of morgue viewing and blood transfusions for magic; and the destructive nature of family secrets and their generational effects. ...the tension amps up to a gasp-worthy climax.” ―Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Zdrok has concocted an ambitious Victorian-era story. ...Intricately plotted, the story's pace burns slow before racing ahead to set up and topple assumptions about the true identity of the Dark Artist.” ―School Library Journal

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
Spectacle is my third novel, but my first (trunked) novel was an alarmingly prescient adult contemporary about the aftermath of a mass shooting. This was in 2006, long before such horrible tragedies were as frequent as they have been in recent years. In retrospect I’m glad the novel wasn’t published. My second novel, which landed me an agent, was a humorous contemporary MG. Spectacle landed me my second agent (the previous didn’t care for it, so we parted ways, and I’m with Ginger Clark now). I’m thrilled this is the one with which I entered the publishing scene. Sometimes it’s the winding path that gets us where we need to be.

Tell us your latest news.
I’m working on a sequel (tentatively titled Exposition) that will come out in 2020. And…Spectacle will be published in Russia!

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope readers feel immersed enough in Nathalie’s world to think through her choices, experiences, and realizations about the world. To me, putting yourself in the shoes of the main character and wondering what you’d do in a given situation deepens the enjoyment and impact of a novel. We learn from our own experiences, but we can learn from those of others, too, even in fiction.

Did you learn anything from writing SPECTACLE and what was it?
I learned just how much logic is involved with regard to novel-writing. This is the most complex, plot-driven book I’ve written, so there were a lot of threads to keep track of and character, sequence, and event consequences to think through. Whatever revision changes you introduce have make sense on multiple levels, which means logic always has to be revisited each time as well.

I also learned that once you’ve achieved the goal, a book deal, the book never feels done. You’re always tempted to tweak!

For those who are unfamiliar with Nathalie, how would you introduce her?
Nathalie is clever, driven, and curious. She’s both pragmatic and adventurous. Her flaws are impatience and occasional overconfidence. She’s a young woman of her time but also thinking beyond it—to a time when she doesn’t have to wear “boy clothes” to work in a newspaper office (and a time when she can work at a newspaper of her own accord, not as a favor to her family). She’s able to dig deep and has the ability to handle anything that’s thrown at her

What part of Nathalie did you enjoy writing the most?
It’s easy to write the positive, admirable traits in a character, but writing them through the mistakes they make and revealing their flaws is much more challenging. It’s also the most enjoyable because of the payoff: Nathalie is smart and learns from her missteps, so to write those flaws and mistakes and then have her grow from them is rewarding.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Jo March (The Little Women) and Hermione Granger. I have a feeling she’d get along well with both of them. Can you imagine that mystery-solving trio?

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’ll go old school on this one: Edgar Allan Poe. I started reading his short stories as a teen, and they opened my eyes to the literary world of psychological horror, the unreliable narrator, and the deeply penetrating building of suspense—not to mention the darkly beautiful intensity of his prose. I was hooked. I read a lot of 19th-century Gothic short stories in those days, and Spectacle reflects that early influence.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Be curious and don’t let life pass you by—we only come this way once. Live life, soak it in, experience everything you can that’s conducive to your goals and well-being. We’re all busy, we all have worries. That can be all-consuming if you allow it. Curiosity is a lens through which to view the world; it isn’t in competition with your to-do list.

Here are 10 reasons to read Spectacle, in no particular order:

  • 1. Because Paris. And 1887. What was Nathalie’s Paris like? In some ways like 2019 Paris (the Catacombs are still there), in some ways very different (no Eiffel Tower back then).
  • 2. You can “visit” the Paris Morgue and see how it was a thing. The morgue was supposed to be a means of identifying bodies found in the public domain but ended up being a form of entertainment (and was even listed as an attraction in tourist guidebooks).
  • 3. There’s murder. A LOT OF IT. And FYI it’s gruesome.
  • 4. You’ll find out the source of Nathalie’s ability. Nathalie’s visions open up a world she didn’t know existed. And that’s all I’m going to spoiler-free say about that.
  • 5. You’ll want Simone as your BFF. Simone complements Nathalie and brings out the best in her (most of the time). And she’s just plain fun to be around.
  • 6. You might develop a crush on a character in one chapter and consider them a suspect in the next, and then be 94% unsure in the chapter after that. And you might be right. Or you might be wrong. WHO KNOWS.
  • 7. Nathalie has a cat. And Nathalie’s cat, Stanley, was inspired by my own cat (who passed away during revisions and was named Stasiu Kitty—Stasiu is Polish for Stanley).
  • 8. Pseudoscience. Europeans in 19th century had an interesting relationship with science—what they believed the possibilities were, how they approached it, etc. It’s not a world we peek into often but Spectacle explores some of that.
  • 9. You’ll get to meet the Dark Artist. Personally I would keep my distance from him (you know, murders and what not), but you can get acquainted with him from afar…kind of…
  • 10. Lots of plot twists. Spectacle will (I hope!) keep you guessing until the end and throw a few surprises at you along the way. 😊
What are you most passionate about today?
Whatever is in front of me. My day job, novel-writing, time spent with family and friends (and PETS!), working out, watching sports, seeing the world, whatever I’m doing at a given moment. Including this interview! I take it all seriously. I even take my fun seriously (but my demeanor isn’t serious—I love to joke around and enjoy people who have a good sense of humor). That is to say…I need to be all-in or I’m not in at all. I’m not a phone-it-in kind of person. Go big or go home.

What was the most frightening moment of your life?

I used to live in Massachusetts, where tornadoes are very rare. In June 2011 one touched down 36 miles away. I was making Auntie Em jokes when relatives asked if I was taking cover, because since when do tornadoes travel that far? Well, that one did. I put the cats in the cellar, looked out the window to see something whip across the cul-de-sac at a speed I’d never seen anything whip, and headed for the basement.

Less than a minute later, the power went out. 

I sat there in dead silence not knowing if I was safe or in the direct path of a tornado. Fortunately it was the former—although many people were not so lucky—and the tornado hit less than two hundred yards away.

If you could live in any period in history, where would it be and why?
I have a soft spot for the 1940s American aesthetic, so I’d hop into a time machine and hang out in Hollywood, see if I could get a glimpse at some of that glamour for some escapism. I’d swing by 1887 Paris, too, basically to fact-check myself.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Travel. Whether it’s an hour away or the other side of the world, experiencing new sites, people, and ways of life offers perspective. It’s enriching on so very many levels.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
Not so much an incident as an aggregate of a kind of incident: finding out things aren’t what they seem or what you thought them to be. People, relationships (of every sort), situations, the way something “really” works—getting the peek behind that Wizard of Oz curtain. I don’t take things at face value like I once did. That’s definitely element that comes through in Spectacle, too.

Who was the last person you ate dinner with?
My boyfriend. And my cat, who forgoes her own food dish and demands (and I do mean demands) table food whenever we sit down to dinner.

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.

You can purchase Spectacle at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JODIE LYNN ZDROK for making this giveaway possible.
5 Winners will receive a Copy of SPECTACLE by Jodie Lynn Zdrok.
MARCH 26th TUESDAY Casia's Corner REVIEW
MARCH 27th WEDNESDAY Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW
MARCH 28th THURSDAY My Bookish Escapades EXCERPT
MARCH 29th FRIDAY Wishful Endings GUEST POST
MARCH 29th FRIDAY Adventures Thru Wonderland REVIEW

APRIL 1st MONDAY Nay's Pink Bookshelf REVIEW 
APRIL 2nd TUESDAY A Dream Within a Dream REVIEW
APRIL 4th THURSDAY A Court of Coffee and Books REVIEW & EXCERPT
APRIL 5th FRIDAY Movies, Shows, & Books REVIEW & EXCERPT


  1. 4 things I never leave home without: my pocket knife, my glasses, the key to our gate, my watch.

  2. "What are 4 things you never leave home without? Handkerchief, keys, shoes, socks.

  3. I rarely leave home without my Driver's License, money, keys and smart phone. When I leave my phone or wallet at home by mistake, I pretend that they are on a vacation without me and I know what they've been up to. Missing anything throws my day off and like losing time, you never quite catch up.

  4. Keys, ID, money and a water bottle.