Kerri Maniscalco Answers Seven Scintillating Questions About Kingdom of the Feared

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Kerri Maniscalco Answers Seven Scintillating Questions About <i>Kingdom of the Feared</i>

Kerri Maniscalco’s bestselling Kingdom of the Wicked trilogy comes to a close this week with Kingdom of the Feared, a high-stakes story of romance, betrayal, secrets, and family that will undoubtedly shock and delight fans with its many dramatic twists and steamy interludes. The dark underworld of the Seven Circles has never been so thrilling

As the series’ final installment begins, witch Emilia di Carlo and her lover, the Prince of Hell known as Wrath, are facing upheaval and intrigue across multiple demon courts. Not only is Emilia’s presumed dead twin sister very much alive, but it turns out that Vittoria—and the rest of her family—have been keeping some rather sizeable secrets about who she is. As she digs into the mystery of just who her sister really is and what all those gaps in her own memory actually mean, she’ll come face-to-face with long-buried truths about not just her own identity but the Wicked, the Feared, and the curse that binds them all.

We got a chance to chat with Maniscalco herself about the highly anticipated end to Wrath and Emilia’s story, how the world of the Seven Circles came to life, and what’s next for this deliciously dark universe.

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SEVEN QUESTIONS FOR THE SEVEN CIRCLES

Paste Magazine: The Kingdom of the Wicked trilogy has been a wild ride for readers from start to finish, how does it feel for you as its author to be bringing this story to a close at last?

Kerry Maniscalco: It’s so exciting and also SO nerve-wracking! I’ve had a ton of fun with this particular story arc and my biggest hope is for readers to feel satisfied with how it all comes together.

There’s always this sense of bittersweetness involved when you close one chapter on a series—I’ve adored telling Emilia and Wrath’s story and will definitely miss them, but I love how Kingdom of the Feared plays out.

Paste: You’ve said before that this series was basically born/created entirely in the pandemic—how has that unprecedented situation changed or altered the way you approached telling this story?

Maniscalco: The very first draft of Kingdom of the Wicked (around 40K words) was actually written back in 2015, right before the Stalking Jack the Ripper series sold, and I had to put it aside. But, I kept thinking about those characters and hoped for the chance to tell their story one day. I’m so thankful the opportunity came around for me to do that!
It was definitely scary when the first book came out, right before the 2020 election and during the pandemic. Store closures and all of the uncertainty and fear in the world made it difficult to shut off the noise and find that creative place. My Lyme disease is also hugely impacted by stress, so there have been a lot of flare-ups to contend with and overcome.

Paste: What do you think it is about Wrath and Emilia’s relationship that has so captivated readers?

Maniscalco: As a reader, I crave tension because it keeps me invested in the characters’ journeys—whether it’s romantic tension or plot tension. I love that feeling of needing to know what happens next! And I think that’s what my readers are connecting with too.

Over the course of the trilogy, Emilia and Wrath have struggled internally, faced external blocks, and gone through hell and back (literally) and I think we’re all rooting for them to finally reach their happily ever after…

Paste: I feel like each book in this series has really expanded the lore surrounding the Seven Circles, the Wicked, and all the various other creatures that live in and interact with it. Tell me a little bit about your process of building out all these relationships and subgroups that don’t necessarily get major time on the page but still manage to feel so thoroughly real and lived in.

Maniscalco: Before I sit down to begin drafting, I usually craft myths and legends of the world I’m looking to build for my characters. A lot of times, that information never makes it directly onto the page, but the brainstorming process helps me map out the internal and external blocks, dramas, and tensions that can potentially arise when different groups of characters are forced to interact.

For example, in my books, the witches hate the demons, the werewolves and demons dislike each other, the vampires have their own court and dramas with the other supernaturals, and everyone is a little wary of the Feared. If I know the groups’ histories and backstories, that helps me craft each character so they (hopefully!) feel real and leave the reader wanting to know more—even if their appearance is brief.

Paste: I’m fascinated by all the denizens of the Seven Circles—could we see more stories in this world in the future? Any hints about whose stories you’d like to explore further? (Another Prince of Hell? The werewolves?)

Maniscalco: That makes me very happy to hear! Honestly, I would love to explore different parts of this realm—the werewolves, the vampires, each of the seven demon princes…

There’s SO much story that could be told. It really all boils down to reader interest—but I would certainly enjoy writing more and expanding the Seven Circles.

Paste: What’s next for you as a writer? Are you working on anything you can share some details about at the moment?

Maniscalco: I’m smack in the middle of my deadline and I can say I’m LOVING this story so much.

It’s currently written in third person and is told from both the love interest and main character’s POV—which is something I’m having a blast with! It’s dark and sexy and there may or may not be a deadly game involved…

Paste: And my favorite question, for purely selfish reasons: what are you reading and enjoying right now when you’re not working on your own projects?

Maniscalco: I’m a huge romance junkie, so basically anything in that genre that I can get my hands on during my downtime! A few I adore are:

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
The Wallflower series by Lisa Kleypas
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Mating the Huntress (novella) by Talia Hibbert

The Kingdom of the Feared is available now



Lacy Baugher Milas is the Books Editor at Paste Magazine, but loves nerding out about all sorts of pop culture. You can find her on Twitter @LacyMB.