At midnight, the folks at Quirk – who brought you the best-selling Jane Austen mashup Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – announced that they’re back with the next book in the series, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, which goes on sale Sept. 15 (complete with 15 illustrations – we’ve brought you two of them – and a readers’ discussion guide). Quirk editor Jason Rekulak, the creator of the series (“I just thought it would be really funny to desecrate a classic work of literature”) recently said that he didn’t want to go out there “with the one-millionth vampire novel that’s going to be published this year.” P&P&Z’s Seth Grahame Smith did not write this sequel, since he recently left the franchise and signed a hefty contract with Grand Central for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I talked to the series’ new author, Ben H. Winters, last week.
After the jump, our Q&A with author Ben H. Winters and illustrations from the book.
I know Quirk came up with the title and the concept for the novel … what did you think when you first heard “sea monsters”?
I loved the idea of sea monsters. I’d hate to say our culture is oversaturated with vampires and zombies, but it was fun to do something different. I got to research shark attacks, sea serpents, pirates, octopi. I went back and read a lot of period peril-at-sea novels – I got really into H.P. Lovecraft. I was also heavily influenced by Jaws and even the first season of Lost (much of the action in the book is set on a desolate island).
Did Quirk give you free rein?
They did. They gave me the title, a copy of Sense and Sensibility, and told me to go to town.
The Jane Austen aficionados, who can be a tough bunch, seemed to like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
I feel like people who really love Austen get it. Her novels are so strong, so cleverly constructed, so smart and dry, they really lend themselves to over-the-top violence.
Okay, what kind of creatures can we look forward to in the book?
A giant rampaging mutant lobster. Octopi with glittering tentacles. And pirates – I couldn’t resist pirates. I studied pirate lore, from R.L. Stevenson to Pirates of the Caribbean.
Compare to the last book, if you would.
Well, our monster-to-Austen ratio is higher than in the last book, about 60-40 (that’s 60 Austen, 40 me). That’s proportionally more monsters, swordfights, and submarines.
So what do you think, readers? Are sea monsters an innovative idea, or should Quirk have stuck with the undead? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.