Friday, October 7, 2022

Amanda Glaze Interview - The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond

Photo Credit: Blake Clifton

Amanda Glaze is a young adult author and Emmy-award winning film & tv producer. She grew up in Northern California where she spent most of her time with her nose in a book or putting on plays with friends.

While earning her undergraduate degree in theater from UCLA, she got a taste of working directly with playwrights on new play development. Her love of figuring out what makes a story tick led her to working in film and TV development and she went on to produce and co-produce films such as the Academy Award nominated film The Big Sick and the Emmy Award winning documentary, The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling. Curious about what it would be like to write her own stories, Amanda started waking up before the sun and scribbling in her notebook during the dark, quiet hours of dawn. She went on to earn an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University.

Amanda lives in Los Angeles with her partner Blake and their two cats, Dash and Jenova, who lounge precariously close to her keyboard while she writes. An avid reader, she’s always on the hunt for cozy places where she can cuddle up with a book and a mug of tea. She loves learning new things, disappearing down research rabbit holes, and dreaming up ways to bring more magic into the world. She’s a regular volunteer with the creative writing and mentoring organization WriteGirl where she is endlessly inspired by the fierce imaginations of the teens she works with. If you can’t find her in LA, chances are she’s run off to the mountains.

Amanda’s debut YA novel The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond was inspired by her real life great-grandmother Edie Bond and her twin sister Violet. Coming October 4, 2022 from Union Square & Co.


What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
Patience and perseverance! It can take a while to discover your own voice. So much of figuring that out involves first taking the time to really understand what it is that inspires or resonates with you in work you admire. Often, writers will read something that makes them go, Yes! This is it! This is the feeling I want to invoke! That is a wonderful first step, and it’s okay if you’re early work feels a bit like a painting student copying a Manet painting. The point is to learn what you can craft-wise about how that writer did it—how do they introduce characters? What makes their dialogue sing?—and then the trick is to keep writing more and more things until the only voice in your head is your own. A wonderful writer and friend of mine, Elana K. Arnold, told me once that when she’s writing a scene, the question she asks is: Does this fill me up? You can’t control how other people respond to your work, but you can keep revising a scene, honestly asking yourself, does this please me?

Greatest thing you learned in school.
The greatest thing I learned in school is the power of community. Life can be lonely, writing—and creating of any kind—can be lonely. And we often feel like we are the only ones going through something when, in reality, there are usually a lot of people who are feeling the same amount of insecurity, uncertainty, fear, and everything else in between. Understanding that you are not alone, supporting others and allowing them to support you is, in my opinion, vital for life in general, but especially so if you are exploring a creative field.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Hands down, it’s connecting with readers. It’s been an absolute joy to hear from early readers who have connected with the book, and who have such thoughtful, incisive things to say about it. I try not to read too many reviews, but I did come across one from an early reader who said something like, I’ve had a tough week and this book is exactly what I needed. As someone who has relied on books to get me through more than a few tough times, knowing my story did that for another person means the absolute world to me.

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved telling stories, but as a kid, that took the form of theater. I was a theater kid through and through, and I loved diving deep into characters, really getting into their mindset, understanding what made them tick, and figuring out how they moved through the world.

It wasn’t until many years later that I tried my hand at writing seriously. I’d dabbled a bit, and I’ve always been a lifelong, avid reader, but I think I thought that the only people who wrote novels lived in cabins in the woods and had time to muse about life all day long. It wasn’t until I took a Saturday writing class with the wonderful YA writer Gretchen McNeil at The Writing Pad in LA that I let myself really take writing seriously for the first time. Once I finally gave myself permission to write, I got addicted fast, and threw myself into learning as much as I could about it.

In your newest book; THE SECOND DEATH OF EDIE AND VIOLET BOND, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
I would love to! The story follows seventeen-year old twins Edie and Violet Bond who 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 when their mother dies mysteriously and their father threatens to commit them to a notorious asylum, they have no choice but to run away and take refuge with a traveling Spiritualist show, a tight-knit group of young women who demonstrate their real talents—such as oratory, poetry and music—under the more socially acceptable guise of communing with spirits.

One night Violet’s act goes terribly wrong, and Edie learns that the dark spirit responsible for their mother’s death has crossed into the land of the living. As Edie investigates the identity of her mother’s mysterious final client—while at the same time dodging a handsome, too-curious reporter whose determined to expose her as a fraud—she discovers that someone is hunting mediums, and they may be next.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
My biggest hope is that this story will sweep readers away and take them along for a fun, spooky ride. In terms of what I hope will resonate, something 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 laws or societal rules they consider unjust. Some of the characters in the book fight for change. Others find way to circumvent the rules—or outright break them. So, something I hope readers, and young readers in particular, might take away from this story is to always 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.

What part of Edie and Violet did you enjoy writing the most?
I loved writing all of the spooky spirit medium scenes. In the book, Edie can cross into the spirit world and her twin sister, Violet can call spirits to her, channeling them in life. Creating the landscape of the Veil of death—where Edie can walk with the spirits—was so much fun. As was playing around with how exactly Violet channels spirits, and what the experience feels like both to her, and those in the room with her when the spirits are present.

What was your unforgettable moment while writing THE SECOND DEATH OF EDIE AND VIOLET BOND?
A couple weeks after I finished my first draft, I had a bit of an epiphany about what I wanted to tone of the book to be. It meant changing a lot of story threads and severely altering some secondary characters, but I remember not being remotely intimidated by the amount of work that lay ahead. I was just humming with excitement to get this new version down. This is why I always encourage myself (and my writer friends) to push through and finish the first draft. Oftentimes (for me, at least) it’s not until I have something down that I can step back and see the shape the story wants to be.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would love for Edie to meet Jo Kuan from Stacey Lee’s The Downstairs Girl. They are both clever, fierce feminists who lived in the U.S. around the late 1800s, and I like to think they would be friends.

Last Halloween Costume you wore and when?
I usually gravitate toward witchy costumes, but the last one I wore was pre-pandemic and it was A League of Their Own Rockford peach costume. I love that movie (and the new show is wonderful, too!)

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
At some point, I think everyone that can should adopt or foster a cat. It’s like having a wild animal roam your home. And I’m also pretty sure they can see ghosts.

Best date you've ever had?
One of my favorites dates was when I took my boyfriend to an immersive theater experience in New York called Sleep No More. You’re given a mask to cover your face when you arrive (not a covid-type mask, more of a theatrical mask that gives you anonymity) and then you are dropped off on different levels of this eerie hotel by a doorman in 1930’s era clothing. Then wander around, exploring these fully immersive film-noir style rooms, a mist-filled graveyard, a statue garden, an empty lunatic asylum, and a host of other intriguing spaces. Throughout the night, you follow whatever actor you want as they hurtle through the various spaces, acting out—mostly through incredible dance performances—a thrilling version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It’s such a special, unique kind of performance and it’s difficult to accurately describe, but even though in some ways it’s a solitary adventure, it creates an amazing connection when you share it with another person.

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Growing up, my grandparents had a small log cabin up in the Sierra Nevada at the entrance to desolation wilderness, north of Lake Tahoe. There’s no electricity, and you can only get there by taking a boat across the lake. I spent a lot of my summers at that lake growing up, and I still think it’s the most magical place in the world. When you’re surrounded by granite rock that still bears the mark of glaciers from the ice age, and thick groves of pine tress that suddenly open up to reveal a ring-shaped faerie clearing? It’s impossible not to let your imagination run wild.

How far away from your birthplace do you live now?
I was born up in Northern California in the Bay Area, and now I live in Los Angeles. So about a six or seven hour drive down the coast. There is a lot I love about LA, but in my heart of hearts, I’ll probably always think of myself as a northern California girl.

What were you doing at midnight last night?
I was asleep with a cat on my legs! I’m a morning writer, up before the sun, so it’s rare for me to be up past midnight when I’m working on a book.

Where can readers find you?
I love connecting with readers! I’m most active on my Instagram, but you can also find me on TikTok, Twitter, and on my website, where you can sign up for my newsletter to get occasional updates from me, writing tips, and first dibs on exclusive giveaways and bookish swag.

  • 1. The story was inspired by my real-life great grandmother Edith Bond and her twin sister Violet, who were practicing Spiritualists in the 19th century.
  • 2. Runaway spirit mediums who know the truth about death
  • 3. Found Family in the form of clever, rule-breaking young women.
  • 4. A supernatural mystery.
  • 5. Enemies-to-lovers banter.
  • 6. Strong feminist vibes.
  • 7. Creepy asylums.
  • 8. A heartfelt, complicated sister story.
  • 9. Supernatural powers hidden in plain sight.
  • 10. A curious reporter with objectively great hair.
This story was inspired by my great-grandmother, the real-life Edith Bond, and her twin sister Violet Bond. There was a photo of them as teenagers that lived on a bookshelf in my home growing up that my sister and I were always intrigued by. Even more so when we discovered that Edith and Violet had both been practicing Spiritualists, conducting séances all the way to the end of their lives.

But it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I discovered the fascinating intersection between the Spiritualist movement of the 19th century and the early women’s rights movement. And that’s when the idea of this story began to take root.

Spiritualism, a movement and religion that essentially believes in the possibility of communication with the spirit world, became very popular in the mid to late 1800s, and it was commonly thought that women—in particular young, adolescent girls—made the best mediums.

This was during an era in which women were strongly encouraged to be passive by nature, rather than seeking leadership roles. But since mediumship was thought to be, by its very nature, passive, the popularity of Spiritualism essentially created a kind of a loophole through which women were able to publicly make their voices heard without being punished for breaking social norms. So all of the sudden, you have teenage farm girls traveling the country as trance mediums. And it just so happens that some of the spirits they channeled had some pretty strong opinions on topics like abolition, philosophy, women and children’s rights, marriage reform, dress reform, labor reform, and religious freedom, to name a few. A lot of spirit mediums went on to use the valuable oratory skills they gained in the fight for woman’s suffrage.

I found all of this fascinating, and I knew it was the story I wanted to write my fictional version of the real Edie and Violet Bond into.
Sacramento, 1885
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.

You can purchase The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.