By Lorena Nuta.
We are very happy to welcome Amanda Glaze to The Reading Corner to discuss her upcoming release The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond, out October 4th!
Edie and Violet Bond know the truth about death. The seventeen-year-old twins are powerful mediums, just like their mother—Violet can open the veil between life and death, and Edie can cross into the spirit world. But their abilities couldn’t save them when their mother died and their father threatened to commit them to a notorious asylum.
Now runaways, Edie and Violet are part of a traveling Spiritualist show, a tight-knit group of young women who demonstrate their real talents under the guise of communing with spirits. Each night, actresses, poets, musicians, and orators all make contact with spirits who happen to have something to say. . . notions that young ladies could never openly express. But when Violet’s act goes terribly wrong one night, Edie learns that the dark spirit responsible for their mother’s death has crossed into the land of the living. As they investigate the identity of her mysterious final client, they realize that someone is hunting mediums…and they may be next.Only by trusting in one another can the twins uncover a killer who will stop at nothing to cheat death.
Hi Amanda! Thank you so much for your time.
The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond is inspired by a true story. Did anything supernatural or creepy happen while you were working on it?
Oh I love this question. There is one story involving a moonstone ring. I’m not sure if it’s suprnatural exactly, but it was definitely something I thought was strange.
The backstory here is that this book was inspired by my great-grandmother Edith Bond and her twin sister, Violet. When my own sister and I were young, we were both kind of obsessed with the Bond twins, even though we didn’t know a whole lot about them aside from this picture of them as teenagers that lived on a bookshelf in our home and the fact that they were Spiritualists during the Victorian era.
The second part to this story is that I don’t really like to wear jewelry. I tend to find it bulky and cumbersome. The exception to this is a moonstone ring I wear almost every day that belonged to my grandmother. This is the grandmother who married Edith Bond’s son, but who was not actually related to Edie. I’d always been under the impression that the ring, which I stared wearing in high school, had been passed down through my grandmother’s side of the family. But then—a decade or so after I first started wearing the ring, when I was on my second draft of this novel— I discovered that, even though Edie had left the majority of her sentimental jewelry and articles of clothing to her daughter, rather than her son (my grandfather), she had actually given her daughter-in-law (my grandmother) her moonstone ring, which I later inherited. I thought the timing of that discovery was a little spooky. Especially since to this day, it’s one of the only pieces of jewelry I can stand wearing for more than a couple of hours.
Each member of the group has different spiritual abilities. Where did the inspiration for these come from?
The Spiritualist movement of the nineteenth century—which is essentially the belief that you can communicate with the spirit world—is endlessly fascinating, and one of my favorite elements of it is the cross-section between Spiritualism and the early woman’s rights movement. At the time, many people considered women—particularly young women—to be the best spirit mediums. And so, in a time when most women would never have had the opportunity to practice their public oratory skills, Spiritualism created a kind of loophole which allowed teenage farm girls to travel the country as trance mediums. They would stand up and give lectures in front of a crowd, recite poetry, or compose music, all while guided by the spirits they were channeling. Many went on to use the oratory skills they gained on the circut to advocate for women’s rights.
Since all of the spirit mediums—both the real ones the ones who fake it—in this book are inspired to some extent by real women in history, that’s also where I went to for inspiration for their abilities. Death is a real place in the world of this book, and it’s inspired by what Spiritualists call the Summerland, which is often described as a spiritual sphere, or an after-death state.
There are also many theories about how spiritual communication can be achieved, and so I took inspiration from those ideas as well when honing in on the ability for each character.
Most references to the men in your story are pretty negative. How did this affect Mr. Everet and what role did you intend him to play in the whole story?
Laws, or Lawrence Everett if we want to use his full name, was one of my favorite characters in to write! He’s a young, ambitious junior reporter who initially wants to expose the spirit mediums on Edie and Violet’s tour as frauds, but then winds up getting caught up in the mystery of the missing mediums. He definitely comes in with some opinions of his own about the women on this tour, but, to avoid spoilers, let’s just say I love that he’s the kind of character who is naturally curious and willing to question everything.
Edie and Violet have very different personalities. Were they inspired by your great-grandmothers, or were they shaped as the story unfolded?
I never had the chance to meet the real-life Edie and Violet since they died before I was born, so I had to rely on stories about them from my family, most of whom only knew them once they were adults. So when it came to fleshing out the intricates the relationship between my fictional teenage Edie and Violet, I drew heavily on my relationship with my own sister as well as my close friendships with many of the women in my life, whom I consider honorary sisters. The thing I love most about sisters is that there is no one in the world who understands you better, and also no one in the world who can better get under your skin!
Edie and Violet love each other deeply, but they are struggling with the realization that they each have their own unique ways of moving through life, and that creates a certain amount of tension between them.
During the story, the twins show some comforting behaviours that could be even described as “obsessive”, such as pressing their cheeks together for support. How did these acts occur to you? Are there any hidden messages behind them?
When the real-life Edie and Violet grew up and had families of their own, they built a passageway connecting their homes. There was always something about that physical evidence of their lifelong connection that stuck with me. So, when I was filling in the details of my fictional Edie and Violet’s childhood, it made sense to me that that these sisters—sisters with heightened, spiritual abilities, no less—would have discovered for themselves some physical manifestation of that connection.
In the story, their habit of pressing their cheeks together to share an intense emotion or to comfort each other is something they discover as small children and that they continue to do occasionally as teenagers. In terms of any hidden messages? I always think that is for the readers to decide…
Herbs and salves are mentioned throughout the book. Did you have to learn and do research about them, or were these passed down in your family?
I had so much fun coming up with the magical herb world-building for this book, and I definitely spent a lot of time reading old texts about the uses and applications of various herbs. This is one element of the story that is more fantasy than history, since—as far as I know—it was not a practice used by most Spiritualists at the time. But I grew up in a family that was very connected to nature—my grandmother, in particular had a deep connection and appreciation for it that she shared with me, so I do think that’s why, when I was drafting this book, it made sense to me that Edie and Violet would use herbs to connect with the spirit world.
Considering the current situation regarding abortion in many countries, did you intend to draw a parallelism between our era and the situation in your story, or did this happen by accident?
It was absolutely intentional. Roe v. Wade hadn’t yet been overturned while I was drafting this book, but I, like many people, saw the threat coming. And while I very much wish that we weren’t fighting the same battles today that these characters were fighting over a century ago, I personally find it helpful to look back at history. I think it’s important to understand this isn’t a new fight. There have always been, and probably always will be, people coming after the rights of women and non-binary folks, as well as minorities and LGBTQ folks. People who want to force their own—sometimes extremist— views on society as a whole.
What I love about Edie, Violet, and the rest of the girls on the spirit medium tour in this book is that they refuse to play by the laws or societal rules they consider unjust. Some of the characters in the book fight for change. Others find ways to circumvent the rules—or outright break them.
What I hope readers, and young readers in particular, might take away from this story is to be suspicious of anyone who tells you what is “right” or “wrong”, “natural” or “unnatural.” And, if you don’t think the rules are just, you don’t have to play by them.
Have you considered writing more about the twins? Perhaps about what happens to them after this story, and the directions their lives take?
Something I’m very excited about is that this book was selected as the Barnes & Noble YA Book Club pick for October and so they are releasing an Exclusive Edition that I had the opportunity to write a bonus epilogue for. In that extra chapter, you do get a glimpse of what Edie and Violet (and some of the other characters) are up to after the events of this story.
In terms of more books set in this world, you never know! Edie and Violet’s story feels complete to me, but this is a fascinating period of history with a lot to explore, and I do have some ideas about stories that might center some of the other characters in Edie and Violet’s orbit.
How can your readers get their hands on this amazingly suspenseful story?
The book will be released on October 4th, just in time for Spooky Season. It’s available wherever books are sold, and there is also an audiobook version narrated by the incredible Sophie Amoss, whose narration I absolutely love.
And, if you preorder your book or buy it by Sunday, October 9th, you can send in your receipt or library request to receive some amazing preorder goodies including a gorgeous art print of Edie & Laws by E.K. Belsher, a Spirit Medium’s Guide to the Herbs of Death, as well as a signed and customized bookplate, and a custom bookmark. You can find more information and submit your receipts on my website: amandaglaze.com/preorder
And lastly, are you working on any new projects, or do you have any new stories in mind after the release of The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond?
I am working on something, but it’s still very new. All I can say for now is that it’s about magic and family secrets…!
Amanda Glaze is the author of the young adult novel, The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond. When she’s not writing, she works as an award-winning film and television producer. A California native, Amanda grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and now lives in Los Angeles with her partner and their two cat familiars. You can find her online at amandaglaze.com
Amanda’s Instagram: @amandabglaze
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