18 A Taste of the Real Thing

United States
British Columbia
Maureen Johnson United States

Maureen Johnson is the New York Times–bestselling author of more than 10 young adult novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Devilish and The Bermudez Triangle. Her most recent book is The Madness Underneath, the second in the Shades of London series. She divides her time between New York City and Guildford, England. @maureenjohnson Read more

Silvia Moreno-Garcia British Columbia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination. Her short stories have appeared in Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing, The Book of Cthulhu, ELQ/Exile: The Literary Quarterly and Shine: An Anthology of Optimistic Science Fiction, among others. She operates the micropress Innsmouth Free Press. Her debut collection of stories is This Strange Way of Dying. Read more

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Performance Works
$17 / $8.50 for school groups

Nowadays, vampires are often cast as romantic characters, but their true origins are much more menacing, as Silvia Moreno-Garcia knows from her Mexican heritage and her research. They’re emblems of the plague, creatures that shed their skin and roam the night, and they come alive in Moreno-Garcia’s short story collection This Strange Way of Dying. Tapping into England’s history of chilling creatures, Maureen Johnson spent countless months researching the life that tromps through London’s sewer system, the chilling case files of Jack the Ripper and ghost lore. Part contemporary novel, part paranormal thriller, Johnson’s The Madness Underneath will have you on the edge of your seat. Watch out, Edward Cullen, this is the real thing!

Suitable for grades 9–12

Bookmark  and Share

View the study guide for this event.

A Taste of the Real Thing


Maureen Johnson, The Madness Underneath
Silvia Moreno-Garcia, This Strange Way of Dying

Curriculum Connections:

  • Creative Writing: fantasy and historical
  • Social Studies: history, geography and cultural studies
  • Applied Skills: research and analysis


  • Brainstorm and discuss with students: What is scary and why does it fascinate us? How do writers and storytellers scare us? How important is setting to establishing the thriller effect
  • Which characters stand out as particularly scary in these two novels?  List the character traits or actions which make them compelling.
  • Ask students to select a ghost or spirit from another culture/location and write a short story or poem based on the prime character.