Monday, March 7, 2011

Saundra Mitchell and The Vespertine! Happy Book Birthday and Interview!

Hello friends! Apocalypsie Leanna Renee Hieber here, author of the forthcoming Magic Most Foul series of Gothic Victorian Paranormal YA novels set in a haunted 1880 New York City (releasing 11/11), here to talk about one of my new favourite people and authors, Saundra Mitchell.

A mutual author friend, the fabulous Sarah Maclean, introduced the two of us saying; "You both write Victorian paranormal books set in America coming out this year, how many of you are there?" (answer, not many) "So you need to team up." And I could not imagine a better team-Paranormal-Victorian-America-mate than Saundra. She's clever, funny, kind, and a gorgeous writer.

She was also kind enough to answer a few of my questions about The Vespertine! (Released today, huzzah!)

From The Vespertine cover:

It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own — still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him. When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.

LRH: Can you talk a bit about your inspiration for this series?

SM: Inspiration is a funny thing. I knew I wanted to write a book about a girl who could see the future, but only at sunset. But the book went through several versions before I got to the one that became THE VESPERTINE. Funnily enough, what kickstarted it was watching a recent adaptation of Wuthering Heights. Burn Gorman was playing Hindley, and when he lost it, it was glorious. I remember thinking, "That's a dude who would lock his sister in an attic and leave her there to die." Which is how The Vespertine opens-- with August van den Broek locking his sister in the attic and leaving her there to die!

LRH: Why Victorian?

SM: It's the perfect blend of modern and fantastic. Science and technology were booming at the time, long distance communication was becoming commonplace, but at the same time, there was still room in the imagination for ghosts, fairies, mediums, seances. Plus the clothes were fantastic, and I have this thing about mysterious suitors in hats and gloves.

LRH: Why Baltimore/America?

SM: New York and Los Angeles tend to be the popular conception of the United States, just because they show up so much in television and film. I wanted to write about a diverse American city that didn't come with tons of connotations. Baltimore has an amazing history and culture, and the Victorian/ Gilded Age era happened everywhere. So I found it exciting to explore a familiar time period in an unfamiliar place!

LRH: What's next in the series?

SM: In early 2012, the companion novel, THE SPRINGSWEET, will be on shelves. One of the characters from THE VESPERTINE heads out west, into Oklahoma Territory, and we find out who possess the supernatural gifts given by water and earth.

Thanks Saundra!

More about Saundra: A screenwriter and author, Saundra Mitchell penned the screenplays for the Fresh Films and Girls in the Director's Chair short film series. Now an executive producer and head writer for the programs, she mentors young screenwriters from first page to production. Her short story "Ready to Wear" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her first feature film, Revenge Ends, debuted on the festival circuit in 2008. Her debut novel, SHADOWED SUMMER, won The Society of Midland Authors Book Award for Children's Fiction, was a 2010 Edgar® Award Nominee, a VOYA Summer Reading selection, a Junior Library Guild selection, and an ALAN Pick in 2009. In her free time, she enjoys studying history, papermaking, and spending time with her husband and her two children. She lives in Indianapolis and welcomes you to visit her on the Web at & Twitter.


Please follow me today on Twitter where I'll be giving away a signed copy of this amazing book. And pick it up! It's fabulous!

Cheers and happy reading!
Leanna Renee Hieber
Award winning, bestselling author of the Strangely Beautiful and Magic Most Foul series


  1. Absolutely love the cover for THE VESPERTINE.

  2. I'm such a fangirl of this book!! Got an arc of it last year, and it was absolutely one of my best reads of the year, thick with atmosphere and awesomeness!