'The Madman's Daughter' author Megan Shepherd on her 'Lost' inspiration and plans for a movie -- EXCLUSIVE

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The love triangle in Madman’s Daughter feels different than others seen in more conventional YA. I like both the romantic leads, which is weird for me.
I was lucky that there were two male characters that I could already base them off of. People have told me it reminds them of Twilight but I think that’s because one of them is named Edward. It was actually a writer friend of mine — Carrie Ryan — she told me that love triangles are really more about the main character than about the two boys. So it’s kind of more like, who does Juliet want to be? She has these divergent paths ahead of her. She can either go one direction or the other. The boys represent the two different possibilities for her own life.

But it’s strange to see two leads on such even footing.
I did want to keep it a surprise. But of course they both have their own mysteries, so in a way it was really hard to do that love triangle because I wanted her to get to know these two boys but they had so many secrets. I couldn’t show every side of their personality. That was a big challenge.

How does it feel to have gotten such a positive response from readers before the book’s even come out?
You really have no idea how it’s going to be perceived. Your critique partners, your agents, and your editors read it, and that’s great, but you know that they like it because they bought it. But then no one else reads it for like a year and a half. It’s so nerve-wracking, especially with your debut. So much of you is in the book too. You inevitably feel like they’re kind of judging you, your interests or your talent, in addition to the product you produced. But I am just absolutely thrilled with the reception that it has gotten already.

Do you have a playlist for The Madman’s Daughter?
I have some friends who are really into all kinds of music. They helped me pick some that fit the exact right tones for this book and then I’ve been using that playlist as I’m writing Book 2 and Book 3 to get back in that mood. It works so well to just get a cup of tea, close myself in my office, and listen to kind of creepy music.

What’s an example?
One of the ones I like best on it is Florence & the Machine’s “Seven Devils.” It’s just so haunting and dramatic. The lyrics are reminiscent of the ideas in the book. It’s a little bit timeless too.

Any news on the movie front?
It was optioned by Fake Empire, who did The O.C. and Gossip Girl. I know that the script is done. I haven’t seen it yet. But they hired Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who just did the script for the new Carrie movie that’s coming out. I’m real excited. He comes from a comic book background and I feel like he’s the perfect person to adapt this book. So I’m dying to read the script. I’m hoping they’ll let me see it soon.

The Madman’s Daughter is available now.

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