Thursday, September 29, 2011

Maureen Johnson - The Name of the Star Launch Party

"How many of you have always dreamed of being killed by Jack The Ripper?"  The host/organizer of The Name of the Star Launch Party asked us as we waited for Maureen Johnson to appear.  Maybe I haven't necessarily dreamed of being killed by him, but I sure have always been intrigued by the famous historical killer.  So, when I saw that Books of Wonder was hosting this event, I had to go. 

Photo by Rachel Scroggins.
Maureen was the keynote speaker at the Book Blogger Convention in 2010 and had the audience roaring with laughter.  Her launch party was no different. She articulates her feelings and observations with a large dose of humour.  Her first words to her (very) large audience were "Holy crap there are a lot of you."  She went on to detail how she thought of the story.  When she was in London conducting research for 13 Little Blue Envelopes, her guide kept mentioning hauntings and ghosts.  In Maureen's mind, if everything was really haunted in England, the government would have a system with paperwork to handle all the ghosts.  She thought, "What if Jack The Ripper was a ghost?  That might be really bad."   

Photo by Rachel Scroggins.
Maureen discovered that not much is truly known about Jack The Ripper and most of what we know was made up by the media in order to sell newspapers. Johnson noted, "Sensationalism of media hasn't changed."  The actual file that Scotland Yard has for the Whitechapel murders is quite small.  Files were stolen on Jack The Ripper or they had gotten rid of them.  A lot of what is actually known today is conjecture and it is not known how many people he really killed.  Maureen posed the question, "Why are people so fascinated with murders that took place over 100 years ago?"  That would take up a whole other post for me to personally answer.  What about you?

Maureen then showed us her YA Saves t-shirts and mentioned the notorious woman who wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal against YA. "If you're here," Maureen said "you're a punk."  I'm sure that statement has elevated her to hero status in many eyes.  To get your own YA Saves t-shirt, visit (Don't Forget To Be Awesome).  100% of the proceeds of the sale of these shirts go to Reading is Fundamental.  The evening ended with t-shirt giveaways, signing books, cupcakes and wine. 

I'm giving away one signed copy of The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.

Please fill out the Rafflectopter form below.
Extra entries are optional.

This contest is open internationally.
See my contest policy HERE.

Please note: This is my first time utilizing Rafflecopter, so please bear with me!

Good Luck!


Rain Maiden said...

I have been eyeing this book. It looks creepy and a great October read. Thanks for hosting the giveaway.

Has the contested ended? September 1, 2011. .?

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

When I was in London, I went on a Jack The Ripper tour. It was chilling.

Thanks so much for the pictures and giveaway!

The Reading Date said...

Awesome recap! It sounds like such a fun event. I have a copy of the book and plan to read it October with other spooky type books. I know very little about Jack The Ripper so I'm curious to read the historical aspect of the book.

Rebecca said...

Jack the Ripper interests me because I have rad quite a few books based on the murders and I just find it fascinating that they don't know who he was and will never know.

roro said...

Thanks for hosting the giveaway.
It looks creepy and a great October read

Unknown said...

I am so jealous of you! I would love to see/meet MJ. She seems awesome!
Thanks for the giveaway!

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

Seriously I was just this very second whining on twitter how everyone had this book but me, and then Bam! Scroll down my google reader and there you are with your amazing giveaway.

To answer your question, why Jack Ripper interests me, I suppose the answer is that all serial killers interest me. And the fact that Jack the Ripper's identity is still unknown intrigues me. Who he was and why he did what he did are things I want to find out about. I'm pretty sure that when you get to heaven there's a big book of Answers that will reveal Jack the Ripper, where Jimmy Hoffa's earthly remains rest, and how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop.

Jen D. @ Not Now...I'm Reading! said...

Sounds like you had an amazing time. I may or may not be a little jealous. ;-) Thanks for the amazing giveaway!

Name: Aine said...

I've heard so many great things about this book. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!

Giselle said...

Oooh I can't wait to read this one!!

And p.s., your new header is awesome! Love it!

Xpresso Reads

Giselle said...

Oh, and to answer the giveaway question - I always loved serial killer stories. That was all I read before Twilight. I've actually never read one on Jack the Ripper though so I'm really interested is knowing this book's plot.

Xpresso Reads

Stephanie said...

Hi :) I'm a new follower. I've been dying to read this book for ages! :D thanks for the giveaway!

Stephanie said...

Jack the Ripper is totes fascinating to me, not because I like reading about murders (Though that can spice up a story) but because of the time and place in history. The seedy streets, the class divide, the crime-ridden underbelly of London. Such an awesome setting for a book.

Diana Julianna said...

Ooh, I've been waiting for this book! Thanks so much for the giveaway! I have a feeling it'll be perfect for October reads...

SweetMarie83 said...

I really wish I could attend some of these author events. I'm always so envious of people who get to go! I've been dying to read this book, I've been obsessed with Jack the Ripper for years, and to have a signed copy would be amazing! Thanks for the chance to win! :-)

Shelagh said...

Sounds like Maureen made quite an impression on the crowd. :) I think the mystery around Jack the Ripper is part of the fascination people have with the legend, that and the fear that someone may have gotten away with those murders.

This book has been haunting my wishlist for a while. Thank you for hosting this generous giveaway!

The Word Fiend

ebaker said...

All serial killers interest me but jack the ripper was never caught so there are a lit of myths that go around the story so that makes it more interesting.

Unknown said...

I am fascinated with history, the ripper case interests me more out of a morbid curiosity that this person (or persons) was able to carry out at least 5 murders and not be caught, HOW? And why did the ripper murder hookers and not their customers was the ripper a disgruntled customer?

Rubita said...

I'm so jealous. I live way away in nowhere (or I might as well), and I NEVER get to go to author appearances. I'm thinking of moving just so I can.

I think Jack the Ripper, in particular, is so famous still because no one really knows who he was. There's a lot of meat for speculation in that.

Reading Inspired Writing said...

Thank you so much for the giveaway. I so want to read this book. It will be perfect for Oct.
Amy @

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

As I told you, I have an endless fascination for Jack the Ripper. I don't know what it is, but it really has always been a big interest. Maybe because they never found him. Unsolved cases are always intesting, especially ones that are so historically famous.

Thanks for the giveaway! I told you I'd be over to enter. =O) LOVE you Halloween layout!

Elisquared said...

I think it's these terror of the unknown. Jack the Ripper is one of the most infamous murder cases in England, and no one knows who committed the murders. It's really creepy to think of walking down the same street or eating in the same pub by where one of the murders were done. Gives ya goosebumps!

Thanks for the giveaway! It's awesome!

Midnyte Reader said...

Hey thanks for the comments everyone. I too have always been fascinated by Jack the Ripper. I think everyone summed it up. Good luck in the contest!

Aleksandra said...

Probably because Jack the Ripper was never caught & he killed hid victims in such horrific way, maybe until then unseen...

I really want to read this one, so thanks for the opportunity. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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