You’ll never guess what Jennifer Donnelly’s book was called before ‘These Shallow Graves’, plus we ask all the questions!

Jennifer Donnelly’s ‘These Shallow Graves’ is out now in a paperback edition that just looks so beautiful we could die. But it’s a good job we didn’t, else we wouldn’t have been able to ask the author all these important questions.


You can thank us for not dying later. Can you tell us the plot of ‘These Shallow Graves’ in the length of a tweet? 1890, NYC. Heiress Jo Montfort loses her father, her illusions, and her heart. Finds murderers, madams, and a mysterious madwoman.

What was the most difficult part of writing this novel? For me, it’s all difficult! Plot, tension, revealing and concealing just enough of the mystery — it makes me tear my hair out!

And what was your favourite scene to write? I loved writing the scenes between Jo and Eddie, and all of Oscar’s scenes. Oscar’s a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue. I love him. Nothing grosses him out. He completely took over, claiming way more pages than he was supposed to.

When you started writing, did you know exactly how it would end?Pretty much, but it’s always a mistake to tell your characters what to do, rather than letting them tell you.

Was ‘These Shallow Graves’ always going to be the title, or were there others in mind? For the longest time, the working title was New York Story. Exciting, huh? (I’m not so great with titles!) Luckily, my editor came up with These Shallow Graves and emailed it to me. I loved it the minute I saw it.

What’s next on the cards for Jennifer Donnelly? Will there be a ‘These Shallow Graves’ sequel? I hope so! I’m about to launch the fourth and final book in The Waterfire Saga, which is a middle grade series about mermaids and magic, and then I’m taking on the characters of Anne of Cleves for a retelling of the story of Henry VIII and his six wives, together with M.T. Anderson, Stephanie Hemphill, Candace Fleming, Deborah Hopkinson, and Lisa Ann Sandell. I’m hugely excited about this!

Can you send us a picture of your bookshelf for us to lust over?

Welp, that’s #bookshelfgoals if we ever saw it.

You can grab your copy of ‘These Shallow Graves’ right here.

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Written by Sarah Clare

Sarah is the Lead Writer and Design Queen here at Maximum Pop! Sarah holds an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University, and a BA in Creative Writing with English Literature from Marjon (BIG UP THE MARJON MASSIVE!). Sarah joined MP! after seeing an advertisement for writers on Instagram – because where else would a design master find their dream job?

Sarah is currently working on an expose on Draco Malfoy in her spare time. But not if his father hears about it.

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