This is an intense read and could be triggering for some. That being said, Seraphina Nova Glass unfurled this tale masterfully. In a small town, Grace Holloway runs the local bed and breakfast while doing everything she can to stay invisible. The terrors of her past have never left her, and every shadow brings a threat with it.
However, when girls that closely resemble her at the age she was taken start going missing, and two end up dead, Grace finds herself caught in the middle. She becomes determined to step out of the shadows and bring the man who took her to justice and hopefully save the life of the most recently kidnapped girl before it’s too late.
Get an inside look at The Vanishing Hour below, with a Q&A with author Seraphina Nova Glass.
When did you first come up with the storyline for The Vanishing Hour? Also, can you tell me about the research process for the book and if anything was based on real events?
I began working on this book in the Fall of 2022. I actually go out of my way to not have to do research for a book. I think that’s why I’m drawn to everyday characters in a domestic setting because I can just dive into the world of the story without getting bogged down in research. Of course, there are times when I have questions about specific details—like how the police would handle items found from a missing person. Would they tell the family? What would that process look like? How much information do they give the family about the investigation, etc? I’m blessed to have a couple of police detective contacts I know that always help me out with this kind of stuff.
None of my books have been based on real events or people. I think the fictional world is more fun interesting and limitless.
Do you plan out the full storyline in advance, or do you see where the characters and their stories take you?
I’m an outliner through and through. I always say I admire folks who can just see where a story takes them, but I, on the other hand, start with the ending, and outline heavily to make sure I know exactly what I’m writing to and where the reveals will be.
For me, the idea and outline are the bulk of the work. Once the story has a solid outline and I can rely on my outline when I sit down to write and know all the important pieces have been thought through, then I can start the actual writing. And I would argue that it’s more fun and there is more freedom than guessing at the next plot point. I know where it’s going, so I can write with less stress.
The storyline deals were some topics that could be triggering to some. What was the most difficult scene to write?
It’s interesting because I think it’s easier to write an intense scene than it is to read it. There are scenes in this book and my last that I would probably have a hard time reading if I’m honest. It is triggering, and I might skip past some scenes because I don’t actually like scary things! I know how that sound, but I refuse to watch horror or anything gratuitous in violence. Writing it, that’s different somehow. Maybe it comes from knowing what will happen, so the suspense is gone, or the control over the fate of the character. I don’t have the answer to that, but I certainly handle writing it better than reading it.
In the chapters where we are seeing things from Grace’s POV, what was it like as a writer being inside her head for those chapters?
Although I can’t relate to Grace in many ways, I think we all know loneliness and we all know fear, so I really try to tap into my past experiences to craft Grace’s character. Many of us writer types take comfort in isolation and a solitary environment. I know I thrive that way, so a little bit of that desire to retreat from an overwhelming world went into her as well. In those ways, she was easier to connect with when writing a character like that even though I don’t know the same trauma.
Who are some of your fellow authors who you are reading right now?
A fun fact, I’m kind of obsessed with nutrition science. I’m also a raw vegan, so I sort of devour a lot of books and articles on disease reversal through nutrition and plant-based doctors writing about nerdy stuff like the microbiome and all that fun stuff, so I’ve been on a bit of a fiction break recently, but next on my thriller list are Lisa Jewell’s new book (she can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned) and I just discovered Richard Osman, so you can imagine how exciting that it!
What was it like when you found out you were nominated for an Edgar Award with your last book, On a Quiet Street?
I was sitting at my kitchen table with The Vanishing Hour outline in its early stages. I printed it out and was piecing plot points together when a former student of mine texted to congratulate me on the nomination. I asked what the hell she was talking about, and then went to my computer to see that it was true. I still didn’t believe it so I emailed my agent to make sure it wasn’t a mistake! It was not. I’m incredibly honored and kind of shocked to have been nominated.
Are you working on your next novel and if so, can we get a sneak peek?
I’ve already completed my next book, The Vacancy in Room 10, which comes out next Spring, 2024. It takes place in a seedy motel-6 type motel turned into apartments where the strange cast of characters hang out by the dumpy swimming pool trying to survive a heatwave. Anna finds herself there after her husband, Henry. Commits suicide at the apartments, and Cass finds herself there after a fall from grace. Her other half cheats and moves in the other woman, and the pay-by-the-week apartments are all she can afford. As Anna digs for answers and Cass searches for ways to get the hell out of the place, they uncover more than they bargained for and their stories intertwine in an explosive way that changes them both.