Keep Me Posted!

Sign me up for the latest news from Penguin Teen, including new books, special offers, and promotions.

8 things you DIDN’T know about Four Dead Queens


Author Astrid Scholte is here to tell you 8 things you didn’t know about Four Dead Queens!

Four Dead Queens is an enthralling fast-paced royal murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences.

We hope you enjoy these special easter eggs!


8 things you didn’t know about Four Dead Queens 

by Astrid Scholte


  1. Initially there were six queens. I’m a pantser, so I usually start with a concept or hook and see where it takes me. For Four Dead Queens, I knew I wanted to have a murder mystery set in a fantasy world, which was divided into very distinct regions with a queen ruling together, yet apart. When I first starting writing, I imagined there would be six queens, but I quickly discovered two of the queens, Freya and Mobi, didn’t have much screen time. These two queens only lasted the first draft before getting the cut. And then there were four!


  1. There were many name changes throughout the process of writing Four Dead Queens. Kacella became Keralie, Sierra became Stessa, Karla became Corra and Teron became Varin. The only characters whose names remained the same from the outset was Queen Iris, Queen Marguerite and Mackiel. I like play around with names and letters throughout drafts until the sound and look of the name fits my feelings toward the character. I usually know what they look like before I know their name. Painting their portraits was a process to learn more about the characters and what they’re like.


  1. The original working title for Four Dead Queens was The Murder Disk. It sounded far too sci-fi and not intriguing enough.


  1. The first spark of inspiration for Four Dead Queens came from a dream where I sat in a horse-drawn carriage and a sleek silver car drove past. When I woke, I wondered why a country would have such contrasting cultures and technologies. Initially, I began with the idea of one world splintered into different time periods. And while I eventually moved away from this idea as the distinction between the quadrants, there are clues to the original concept with Toria being named after Victorian times and Eonia after eons.


  1. Mackiel had always been Keralie’s boss, but in the first drafts, he was older. It made more sense to age him down and have him as a childhood friend of Keralie’s, which added to the complexity of their relationship.


6. For a long time, Archia was connected to the mainland of Quadara. It only became an island in the later stages of revisions to help define why and how the quadrant could remain so untouched, compared to the other quadrants.


  1. Quadara is just one nation of a bigger world. This world is hinted at in the book, but not yet explored. Maybe sometimes in the future it will be!



  1. And finally, there is an easter egg on the front cover of the book. Have you spotted it?






Get your copy of Four Dead Queens here!


Have you heard? We’re dropping 2020 titles! Checkout the most recent updates here!


Four YA Characters Who Pulled a Steve Trevor from Wonder Woman

If you’re a fan of the 2017 Wonder Woman movie like us, then you were left pretty devastated by the ending that – SPOILER ALERT – left Steve Trevor (Chris Pine at his most-Chris-tastic) sacrificing himself to save …well everyone. But with the EPIC new trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 having just been released, you … Continued
See More

5 books to read while waiting for Children of Virtue and Vengeance

If you’re a YA fantasy fan like we are, then you’ll know that the Children of Blood and Bone phenomenon is set to continue this December with its much anticipated sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance. Sequels are always a waiting game, and what better way to pass the time than by diving into another … Continued
See More

Penguin Teen Cover Reveal Bonanza!

Summer, 2020 is packed full of amazing reads…and you’re about to get an exclusive sneak peek. IT’S TIME FOR THE SUMMER 2020 COVER REVEAL BONANZA. Today, we are revealing not one, not two, but SIX covers, from debut authors to the beloved return of our favorite witchy characters! We may have even snatched an excerpt for each … Continued
See More

Holiday Gift Tags for the Book Lover in Your Life

Have a booklover in your life? Holiday shopping stressing you out? We’ve got recommendations that might help. Namely, adorable pre-order gift tags!   The Conference of the Birds by Ransom Riggs Miss Peregrine fans REJOICE! The fifth installment of Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children is coming January 14th!    “Do you trust me?” Now, with … Continued
See More

2020 YA Sneak Peek!

Hello and WELCOME to the 2020 YA sneak peek! We’re talking all early info on upcoming 2020 books we cannot WAIT for!   All the Days Past, All the Days to Come by Mildred D. Taylor – January 7, 2020 The saga of the Logan family–made famous in the Newbery Medal-winning Roll of Thunder, Hear My … Continued
See More

Seriously, you should read Rules for Vanishing

Hey, friends! Joy from Penguin Teen here. We’ve been venturing into Booktube over at Penguin Teen to share monthly book hauls with you, so in case you missed September’s you can find it below! Okay, so if you couldn’t tell from the above, I’m just a lil obsessed with Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall. I … Continued
See More

5 Reasons You Need to Read LET IT SNOW. Like…now

HEY. Joy from Penguin Teen here, about to be waaaaay enthusiastic about why you need to read Let It Snow this December. But first, JUST IN CASE you missed our James & Joy Book Club this month (which, psh, why would you??), I’ll leave that here: ONWARD. Here is why you need to read Let It Snow. … Continued
See More

People who could not handle the ending of The Beautiful

The Beautiful had some…moments in it. If you know, you know. Things happened. Hearts broke. Mainly ours. Long story short, people on the internet are having some FEELINGS about it.   To put it simply:   You might say The Beautiful was…beautiful And emotions? You’ll have lots of them. Those emotions won’t go away for … Continued
See More

5 reasons why James recommends A River of Royal Blood

Hey there, YA lovers! it’s James from Penguin Teen. Somehow November sneaked up on all of us, so it’s time for another Book Haul for our James & Joy Book Club! Check out our November Book Haul video: I’ve selected A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy as my November Book Club Pick, and … Continued
See More

5 Reasons FIREBORNE is the book your heart desperately desires

Welcome back to Joy (me, hi) Rants About Why You MUST Read Fireborne by Rosaria Munda. Like asap. Like what are you WAITING for. In case you missed our October Book Haul here’s a picture of me judging James for not reading it yet: Fireborne is the Game of Thrones meets Harry Potter fantasy you’re going to … Continued
See More