Tricia Levenseller on The Shadows Between Us

About Tricia Levenseller
Initially from a small town in Oregon, Tricia now lives next to the Rocky Mountains with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing, and she is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, playing Overwatch with her siblings, and watching shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.

What inspired you to write THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US?

One day I was randomly thinking about how much I love bad boys (as you do). Just to clarify, I’m not referring to the “bad boy with a heart of gold” trope; I mean a real bad boy. Like Damon from The Vampire Diaries or Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Guys who do terrible things and like it. I realized right then that I really wanted to write about one, but I knew it would be tricky. You can’t reasonably have your heroine get with the bad boy in the end if he’s doing bad things. Unless she’s bad, too. That’s when Alessandra and the Shadow King came into being.

Did you have to do any special research for THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US?

There wasn’t a ton of research that went into this one. The world, and the society, everything is totally made up—not based on any one time period or particular person. At the time, I was listening to a ton of Regency Romance audiobooks, and I think their influence comes through in the language and all the finery in the novel.

Describe THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US in five words.

Villainess. Romance. Scheming. Feminism. Magic.

Can you tell us about your writing process? 

I ordinarily plot out my books chapter by chapter before I start writing them. I like knowing where I’m going. Otherwise I get writer’s block every time I sit down to write. The curious thing, however, is that I always discovery-write my romances. I don’t plot out those arcs; they just develop on their own while I’m telling the story. So when I sat down to write THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US, which has a romance for the main plot, I had to discovery-write most of the novel, which was a first for me in a long time. It was beyond frustrating, but I love the way it turned out.

What was your favourite scene to write and why? 

I think the first scene of the book is actually my favorite. Most of the time I have to rewrite my beginnings over and over again until they finally feel right. But when I sat down to write the very first words of this novel, I remember everything just feeling right. Discovering Alessandra’s voice was an absolute delight, and I love how her scheming mind came through in the first chapter. Very few words have changed in the original from the time I wrote it until publication.

Did you listen to any particular songs/playlists whilst you wrote this?

I actually don’t listen to music while I write, but I do remember listening to “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds of Summer over and over again in between writing sessions.

When you write, do you have any go-to snacks? If so, what are they?

I love Cherry Coke and Runts or, if the weather’s cold, Bengal Spice tea.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Having to discovery-write most of the book was extremely challenging. In addition to that, I also had to plot out a murder mystery for the first time. Making sure to keep readers guessing and putting in the red herrings and all that was very challenging.

What can you tell us about the next book you are writing?

My next book is the first in a brand-new duology! It’s tentatively titled THE SECRET BLADE, and it’s about a socially anxious blacksmith who forges magical weapons. When she accidentally creates an all-powerful sword with the ability to extract secrets from those it cuts, she has to go on the run and protect it at all costs. This one will be released in February 2021.

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