Today we are very fortunate indeed to have an interview with The Vespertine creator herself, Mrs. Saundra Mitchell! Let's dig right in!
1. What made you choose Baltimore as your story setting?
I love Baltimore. It's an extraordinary city with extraordinary history. And because it hasn't been used often as a setting for 19th century fiction or film, I felt like readers wouldn't be coming to my book with any expectations. We have a sense of what Gilded Age New York was like, but Baltimore, not so much.
2. The details in your novel are spot-on for the time period from the séances to the calling cards.
How did you research Victorian New England? Did you read a lot, visit the area, just watch a lot
of period movies?
Thank you very much! I did my research in the usual ways—I read a lot of books, I put in a lot of hours at the Maryland Historical Society, I did a lot of reading online. Plus, I dug into period newspapers and magazines, and, of all places, e-Bay, to get a look at actual period dance cards and calling cards!
3. Where did you inspiration for Amelia’s ability come from?
I don't remember! I think it must have been one of those things—to badly quote Neil Gaiman—that I made up in my head.
4. Of all the wonderful events & interactions, what was your favorite part of the story to write?
I really enjoyed writing Zora and Amelia's friendship. They had such great chemistry and so much fun together. It was easy to get carried away on their adventures.
5. In The Vespertine you have a wide variety of personalities. Which of your characters do you
identify with most & why?
It would be cheating to say Nathaniel, because you guys don't actually get to know much about him. He has this whole other life that Amelia can't even imagine. But I feel like I'm most like him—I don't care about convention, except when I do.
6. Any hints about the companion novel The Springsweet, due out Spring of 2012?
Yes! The Vespertine was about fire and air; The Springsweet will be about water and earth, and it takes place in Oklahoma Territory, in 1890!
7. Tell us something unique/intriguing about your writing style or process.
I usually start my day by reading and editing the words I wrote the day before. That way I can slip back into the same place I left off.
Thank you so much Saundra for taking time to let us in on your story secrets! Folks, be sure to check back for more this week celebrating The Vespertine.