Today we welcome the inimitable Maureen Johnson to the Penguin Teen Author Spotlight! If you haven’t yet discovered her Shades of London series (beginning with The Name of the Star - read the first section of it here!), then you are seriously missing out on ghoulish, swoony fun set in the foggy streets of London. If you have discovered it, you’re in luck, because the second installment, The Madness Underneath, is out TODAY! To read more about The Madness Underneath (or possibly just random answers to our questions from Maureen - but what did you expect?) then read on!

Name: Maureen Johnson    
Novel: The Madness Underneath
Available: 2/26

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? I’m going to do my best with this questionnaire! I hope you like my answers.

Wait, did I just answer a question?

What’s your favorite thing about your book? I guess I did just answer a question, so let me go back and address that last question, which was about favorite authors.

I don’t have one.

Oh. That answer wasn’t really worth backtracking for, was it? I am already letting you down. Let me get this questionnaire back on track …

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one fictional character, who would you choose? Captain Nemo, the man who built a luxurious submarine on a deserted island. Failing that, I’ll take the author of How to Build A Boat and Escape From a Deserted Island for Dummies. (I don’t think that’s a real book, so I think that counts as a fictional character. So in my plan, that book is real, because that person is fictional. Do you see what I am getting at here? Am I overthinking this?)

Where do you write? Only in places that I am currently in. If I’m not there, I don’t write there.

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? I THINK MY FAVORITE AUTHOR MIGHT BE FITZGERALD! Well, just for The Great Gatsby. Some of his other books aren’t so great …

No. I stick to my previous answer, which is that I don’t have a favorite author. (I realize I just went back to the first question, but I am one of those people who need to tick all the boxes or they can’t sleep at night.)

Do you tweet? On occasion.

What is your favorite season?


*examines question*

I may have misread that.

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? I’m not sure I’m into this “teleporting” thing, because I feel like if you hit one wrong button, you might end up in space. AND I DON’T WANT TO GO TO SPACE. I don’t understand people who are like, “I would love to go into space!” You know what’s in space? NOTHING. You just go up, you barf, and if you are lucky, you come back down again. YOU DON’T EVEN GET TO UNPACK. Space is the worst.

Do you have any writing rituals?I write stuff. And then I stop. This repeats a lot.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? What concerns me here is the adjective “earthly,” which implies that you have plans on sending me elsewhere, possibly to space. So I am not answering this question. I’m no dummy.

What are you currently working on? This questionnaire. Is that what you meant? Was I supposed to use this to talk about my book?


Thanks, Maureen! 

You can find Maureen on her website and on Twitter.

Start reading The Name of the Star or The Madness Underneath today!

Add The Madness Underneath to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads.

Purchase The Madness Underneath from Penguin, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Powell’s, IndieBound, and Walmart!


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  5. cutelikekia reblogged this from penguinteen and added:
    she’s so funny!
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    I adore her
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    This questionnaire is a lot like living with MJ, in case you were curious.
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