Tricia Levenseller on revisiting universe in The Darkness Within Us

The Darkness Within Us is the long-awaited companion novel to The Shadows Between Us.


Tricia Levenseller writes some cool YA fantasy books, such as Vengeance Of The Pirate Queen. This year, she’s revising the world of The Shadows Between Us and giving us a companion novel — The Darkness Within Us. The story follows Chrysantha, who never made an appearance in The Shadows Between Us, but is disliked by her sister Alessandra. So while Chrysantha didn’t make a great first impression with us readers, Tricia Levenseller is here to convince us to give her a chance.

Before you decided upon a story on Chrysantha, did you consider writing a sequel that focuses on Alessandra and Kallias? 

I didn’t! I’m a firm believer in leaving your characters be once they’ve achieved their happily ever after.

And how does it feel revisiting the world after so many years?

It was so fun to come back to this world. Returning to morally ambiguous characters was like taking a breath of fresh air. There’s something so satisfying writing about characters who do things I would never do. It’s full escapism for me as a writer.

Some readers dislike Chrysantha after reading a bit about her in The Shadows Between Us. How would you convince them to give her a chance? 

Oh good! You’re supposed to hate her after reading The Shadows Between Us. What I tell readers is that just because Alessandra thinks her sister is judgy and a simpleton, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. In The Darkness Within Us, you get to meet the real Chrysantha, and I’m excited for readers to learn that she’s just as conniving and cutthroat as her sister, if not more so!

The Shadows Between Us gave the impression that Chrysantha was more of an airhead, while it seems in The Darkness Within Us, she has also been scheming like Alessandra. Why do you think Alessandra had that perspective of Chrysantha? 

Chrysantha is very good at what she does. Alessandra thought her sister was an airhead because that’s what Chrysantha wanted her to think. Chrysantha is the better actress by far, and she never let up in the act. While Alessandra is also devious and a schemer, she has a harder time hiding who she really is, as evidenced by the fact that she was always herself around Kallias.

Both books feature enemies to lovers. Why do you think this trope works so well for this universe?

There’s something absolutely magnetizing about two people going from “I want to murder you” to “I would die for you.” It’s so hard to do in a convincing way. I think it works particularly well for this universe because of the secrets both male love interests are carrying. For Kallias, he has to keep people at arm’s length for the sake of his immortality. The fact that he might give that up for a woman who was intent on killing him is such a fun development in the story, and it was really challenging to write.

The Shadows Between Us features descriptions of many exquisite dresses and gowns. Can we expect something similar in The Darkness Within Us

You absolutely can! While Chrysantha isn’t a seamstress like her sister, she does like to look pretty, so she does talk about her dresses and makeup. She’s also intent on giving her dead husband’s home a complete makeover, so readers can expect that as well.

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