This may sound strange because she’s possibly the most frustrating character of the three, but I relate most to Elsie. She tends to measure her self worth by how much attention she gets from the men in her life, and these men may seem interchangeable to the reader. I had a similar problem when I was 17, and when I became a teacher I encountered students with the same issue — girls who would prioritize romance over friendship, or who would alter their personality just to please a boy. Boy issues aside, I also relate to Elsie’s fascination with photography. I’m always drawn to creative and introverted female characters, especially in a historical setting. Of course, I adore Kate and Asher, too. I just relate to Elsie the most.
Your other book, THE REVENENT, is also historical fiction — and also largely influenced on a specific place. Tell us about writing fiction based on fact, and on the importance of place in your writing.
I’ve always been inspired by history. I like to imagine heroines of earlier times transcending the social limitations placed on them to solve mysteries or somehow save themselves, their family/friends, or even the world as they know it. Places inspire me most of all, especially when I can stand within a historic structure and imagine the people who inhabited that space 150 years ago. Stories flood my brain in those situations!
I know you learned a lot of cool/creepy stuff while researching THE DARK BETWEEN. What is the single thing that stands out the most to you?
I think what stands out most to me is the enduring popularity of Spiritualism despite the many frauds who worked within that world. People were exploited on both sides of the table, so to speak. Many mediums were exposed for manipulating their sitters and bullying confederates into playacting or doing their dirty work. Neverthless, people continued to flock to psychics and seances, which speaks to the intensity of their longing to peek past the veil into the beyond.
Thanks, Sonia! Tune in Friday for part three of our Q&A.