The Devil Is in the Details

Before I share details of my writing—and rewriting!–process, I want to tell you a bit about the research I did for Ripped: A Jack the Ripper Time-Travel Thriller. After the trip during which I decided to write this young-adult novel, London kept calling to me. And I was only too happy to respond! I went to London four times to research Victorian London and her infamous son. Authenticity is so important to me. I wanted to get all the details right.

Spending a week to ten days there on each visit, I learned that while many of 1888’s streets are gone, some are intact. And the Ten Bells Pub, which was likely associated with two of the Ripper’s victims, still does a brisk business at 84 Commercial Street in the Spitalfields neighborhood in the East End.

I spent days at the Black Museum, home to Scotland Yard’s documents relating to Jack the Ripper and many books on the subject. The study of Jack the Ripper and his crimes is known, appropriately enough, as “ripperology.” I also visited some old libraries in London and read a lot about pawn shops so the scene in the book that takes place in one would accurately reflect the actual shops of the day.

A little aside: Almost every time I talk to people about Ripped, someone will ask me about the Boston Strangler, assuming I must know him and his murders. But I don’t!

—Shelly

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