Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.
She is the #1 NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and the forthcoming Kingdom of the Wicked.
For an extended bio, please read on below!
Follow Kerri on Twitter and Instagram where she’s always ready to talk fictional crushes:
Quick links for bloggers/media:
Social media links:
Don’t be a stranger, I love meeting fellow writers/readers and friends.
Kerri Maniscalco is an American young adult author best known for the Stalking Jack the Ripper quartet; a series of gothic thrillers. Her next series Kingdom of the Wicked, a young adult fantasy, is slated for a fall 2020 release.
Maniscalco grew up New York’s scenic Hudson Valley and later attended college in New York City, studying Fine Art before transferring into Communication Design at F.I.T. She was drawn to art from an early age and enjoys all aspects of design.
Her grandmother was an avid reader who instilled a love of books in her mother who passed it along to both of her daughters. Growing up, Maniscalco’s parents took her and her sister Kelli to libraries and bookstores most weekends where she fell in love with stories. To this day her mom and dad gift her with a new leather-bound book each Christmas to add to her own library, and it’s one of her favorite family traditions.
As a child, her grandmother was chronically ill, and taught the importance of always being able to escape on an adventure between the pages of a book, regardless of any physical limitations.
Maniscalco credits her grandmother with fostering her imagination—a stream wasn’t just a stream, it was a babbling brook. And if she looked closely enough, her grandmother promised she might see fairies dancing around the ring of flowers in the backyard.
Her father, a retired chiropractor, had anatomy books and sculptures in his office, which introduced her to her interest in forensics when she was a teen. She was fascinated with his stories of college, where he studied cadavers as part of his degree. It would later spark the idea for her medical-minded heroine, Audrey Rose.
At one point in college, Maniscalco switched schools and majors, and took Criminal Justice and Science courses, and considered becoming a forensic psychologist. She ultimately decided to turn her love of reading and writing into a career as a novelist instead.
Her mother is another source of inspiration, showing, by example, the many definitions of a strong, capable woman.
Maniscalco’s father is Sicilian, and her mother is mostly of Irish descent with Eastern European and distant Spanish and Jewish roots. She is third generation American on both sides, and celebrates Italian American traditions.
When she’s not writing, one of her favorite places to be is in her kitchen, cooking recipes passed on from her grandmother and creating new ones. Her second favorite thing is her sister’s store, Dogwood Lane Boutique, where she purchases clothes for book events and accessories for her home. In May 2019 she released a few Stalking Jack the Ripper series inspired items she designed to sell exclusively through her sister’s store and online. Shop the official Stalking Jack the Ripper merchandise here.
Maniscalco’s debut novel, Stalking Jack the Ripper, was published in 2016 by Hachette Book Group. It was the first non-Patterson YA title released under James Patterson’s children’s imprint, Jimmy Patterson Books. It debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list and #3 on the ebook list. In 2017 it was nominated for an Audie Award in the Young Adult category. It received a starred review from School Library Journal, and positive reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and School Library Connection.
Hunting Prince Dracula, the second installment in the series, also debuted on the New York Times list and spent several weeks on it. It received a number of glowing reviews from several outlets such as School Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, and more.
Escaping from Houdini, the third installment, debuted on the New York Times series list and the USA Today Bestseller’s list. It received praise from Hypable, Booklist, Kirkus, School Library Journal and more.
Capturing the Devil, the fourth and final book in the series, debuted on the New York Times series list and the USA Today Bestseller’s list. It was a milestone for Maniscalco’s career, earning her four NYT bestseller’s in a row.
Meeting Thomas Cresswell, a novella told from Thomas Cresswell’s point of view, was included in mass market paperback editions of Stalking Jack the Ripper, which published on April 24, 2018.
Becoming the Dark Prince, another novella told from Thomas’s point of view was released July 15, 2019. It takes place during Escaping from Houdini and transitions into the beginning of Capturing the Devil. It will be available for purchase as an ebook.
Hunting Prince Dracula paperbacks, released in 2018, also feature bonus content from both Thomas’s POV and his sister, Daciana, in a series of letters written between the Cresswell siblings detailing his growing feelings for Audrey Rose.
Escaping from Houdini exclusive Barnes and Noble hardcover editions feature an entire bonus chapter between Audrey Rose and Thomas.
Escaping from Houdini trade paperbacks feature annotated tarot cards–that were a popular preorder prize–as its bonus content.
The Stalking Jack the Ripper series Hardcover Gift Sets were released in October 2019 and include a signed double-sided poster made exclusively for the gift sets. B&N has a special limited edition set that also includes a complete signed series.
Kingdom of the Wicked, the first book in her new young adult crossover fantasy series, was announced in August 2019. “Jenny Bak at JIMMY Patterson Books has acquired two books in Kerri Maniscalco’s next series, beginning with Kingdom of the Wicked. Set in 19th century Italy, this YA fantasy follows a witch seeking answers in the murder of her beloved sister, and the demon prince who is tasked with finding a bride for his master. Publication is planned for Fall 2020; Barbara Poelle at Irene Goodman Literary Agency brokered the deal for world English rights.”
Kingdom of the Wicked released on October 26, 2020 and hardcovers debuted on the New York Times list and spent ten consecutive weeks on it. Shortly after its release, it became popular on BookTok, the bookish community of TikTok, earning 76 million hashtag views.
Kingdom of the Cursed released on October 5, 2021 and debuted at #1 on the NYT list and within the top 10 on the USA Today bestseller list. It also spent ten consecutive weeks on the NYT and landed on the UK’s Sunday Times at #5.
During the same timeframe, Kingdom of the Wicked paperbacks debuted on the NYT monthly bestseller list.
Kingdom of the Feared published on September 27, 2022 and for the first time in her career earned Maniscalco multiple spots on both children’s and adult bestseller lists in the US, Canada and the UK:
#1 on The New York Times children’s series
#1 on The Globe and Mail juvenile list
#1 on the Publisher’s Weekly top children’s frontlist fiction
#3 on The Wall Street Journal hardcover fiction
#3 on The Wall Street Journal fiction combined
#4 on The Wall Street Journal fiction ebooks
#4 on the USA TODAY overall
#5 on the Sunday Times
#5 on the Apple Books Top 10 overall published by the Associated Press
#6 on the Publishers Weekly Top 10 Overall
In the acknowledgments of Hunting Prince Dracula, Maniscalco revealed that she has chronic late stage Lyme Disease. An often debilitating condition classified as an invisible disability. She first began getting ill during the Stalking Jack the Ripper tour, before collapsing that winter and getting diagnosed in January 2017. It was at its worst while she edited Hunting Prince Dracula, and drafted Escaping from Houdini.
She talks openly and freely about it online and at events, and is currently in remission, though symptoms and flare ups occur if she’s not vigilant about putting her health first. She credits a strict keto diet with greatly mitigating/eliminating chronic pain and other debilitating symptoms of the disease.
One of the main reasons Maniscalco gave Audrey Rose a chronic condition is so readers who also have a disability–or chronic illness–could see themselves as the hero/heroine in a book.