Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Guest Blog: Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

When Madness Meets Medicine - OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS

Some of my favorite scenes to write in OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS were the “mad scientist” scenes. (Okay, who am I kidding? The romantic scenes were fun to write too!) 

I was a bit nervous when I started writing this book because to have a heroine be interested in medicine is something that was WAY outside my comfort zone.  I get squeamish just at the sight of blood, so to have a character who can not only handle it with ease but who has an active interest in studying medicine was something I didn’t know if I could pull off.

I started with the basics - looking at anatomy books online. I chose recent books to look at first to get some ideas on what the inside of a cow heart looks like and to see if intestines would fall out when you sliced open the belly. (SO gross, but so worth it to help me imagine the scenes as I was writing!)

Then I moved backward. I started researching what medicine was like in 1826 - Annabel’s time. 

From The Anatomy of Humane Bodies by William Cowper to Domestic Medicine; Or a Treatise on the Prevention and Cure of Diseases by William Buchan to De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem by Andreas Vesalius. The names of diseases, ways to cure illnesses, and even the instruments used were all so different from how medicine is practiced today.

All of this research led me to the study of galvanism. (Also known as animal electricity.) Initial experiments were done using electricity on the nervous system of a dead frog’s legs to make the legs jump -- or appear to come back to life. To be able to take the backbones of a real life “Frankenstein” medical technique that fit in so perfectly with Annabel’s love of medicine and combine it with her mad scientist father’s experiments was something that made me look forward to writing those scenes each and every time I sat down. 

It was the perfect combination of madness and medicine!


Jessica Verday is the New York Times best-selling author of The Hollow trilogy. She wrote the first draft of The Hollow by hand, using thirteen spiral-bound notebooks and fifteen black pens. The first draft of The Haunted took fifteen spiral-bound notebooks and twenty black pens. The Hidden took too many notebooks and too many pens to count. She lives in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, with her husband.  You can visit her online at

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