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Fear of the Dark

Tania Lorena Rivera
Tania Lorena Rivera Author Interview

Dark Was the Night follows a woman whose home is invaded by intruders and she’s forced to face her fear of the dark to save her daughter. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for my story is two-fold. The main events of this story happen during one Halloween night, and the idea for that came to me many moons ago when I was home alone giving candy to trick-or-treaters. It was a Friday night, and Unsolved Mysteries was on TV. Already, the mood was gloomy. Every time the bell rang, I would get up, grab the big bowl of candy and open my front door without looking who was knocking. And then a spooky thought entered my mind. What is to stop anyone from barging in here the moment I fling that door wide open? How would anyone know my screams of terror are actual screams and not some silly Halloween prank? And from that single thought emerged this story. A home invasion one Halloween night.

Next, I needed to decide whose home would be invaded and why. Three intruders seemed like a timeless number in the horror/thriller genre and much more menacing than a single antagonist. Placing a lone girl in a big house on Halloween night seemed so cliché. Then what could be more vulnerable than a young lonesome girl? A mom with her young child. I gave my protagonist nyctophobia because it is a classic childhood fear. I wanted to explore what that would look like in a grown person. A person who understands there are no monsters under her bed or in her closet. Yet, she can’t shake the terrible feeling that something sinister lurks in the dark, even though she knows nothing is there. I wanted to make her fear so paralyzing the readers would not find it absurd but concerning. Most of us shake our childhood fears when we hit the double digits in years. But she carried hers into adulthood, so it is evident there is something more lying beneath the surface than a simple fear of the dark.

Lucie Arnold is an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Lucie is loosely based on my mother and grandmother. Two of the toughest women I have ever met. I have never seen them show fear, ever. No matter what life threw at them. Starting the story with my protagonist as a tough woman did not seem interesting or credible, giving her unusual fear of the dark. I wanted her to evolve during her ordeal. To start out like any of us would in such a situation, scared to death. But slowly, her fear would take second place to her resolve of surviving that frightful night and saving her daughter. And from that unshaken resolve would emanate a strong, almost ferocious individual. Someone those three intruders had to contend with unexpectedly. They say there is nothing more dangerous than a woman protecting her child. I wanted that image to become increasingly evident as the night went on, without the reader ever being sure of the story’s outcome.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Seeing as the story happens on Halloween, fear was a big theme playing throughout the plot. But not just fear of the dark, fear of death, fear of sickness, fear of loss, fear of trauma. Lucie and other characters experience all or part of these fears throughout the story in one form or another. Namely, her daughter, Natalie, who is home with her mother when the three intruders penetrate their house. Lucie, being the main character, experiences all of these fears. Some of them haunt her daily, while others are triggered by other characters and events. Parenthood was another important theme. What does it mean to be a good parent? Is it to protect your child at all costs, and what does that entail? How far can one be prepared to go to protect a child? And what is one willing to sacrifice to do so? Another critical theme is trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. The thing with PTSD is that it’s a fickle creature, and it looks different depending on the person and the kind of trauma they’ve endured. Several characters deal with PTSD in this story, and I wanted to illustrate that in different ways. People don’t just get over a traumatic event. There is a whole process involved. But in this story, I wanted to show that if you don’t deal with past traumas, they can come back to haunt you.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am now working on a drama, part fiction, part biography based on my grandmother’s life. The story starts in the 1930s in El Salvador and follows the main character through several years of her life. My grandmother has always said that her life story was more dramatic than any telenovela. I’m setting out to prove that. I am aiming for a release in the summer of 2022.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Lucie Arnold is a mother with a secret fear of the dark. One Halloween night, three intruders penetrate her home and terrorize her and her four-year-old daughter. Plunged in darkness, she must find the courage to overcome her fears to save her daughter. But the traumatizing event triggers lost memories that come to haunt her amid all this horror, explaining the origin of her nyctophobia.

Dark Was the Night

Dark Was the Night: A Novella by [Tania Lorena Rivera]

Dark Was the Night by Tania Lorena Rivera was the exact spooky season read I needed! In this unique thriller, we follow Lucy Arnold as she battles her constant fear of the dark and the shadows that reside there. We soon learn that these fears may stem from a long-forgotten traumatic event from her childhood that she has yet to process. But on one terrible Hallow’s Eve, Lucy is thrown into another traumatic situation that makes her memories come flooding back. Will she survive the night and escape her past – you will have to find out for yourself in Dark Was the Night!

Author Tania Rivera sure knows how to write a fast-paced read that captures your attention from start to finish! Let me jump right into this review by mentioning how fantastic the plot and premise of the story are. I enjoyed the interconnecting story of Lucy’s childhood trauma to a present-day event. It shows the complexities of PTSD and how it can follow you and haunt you in more ways than one. What happens in this book is never Lucy’s fault, but it does propose how an event can affect us in the future if we don’t address it.

The plot twist was wholly unique and unexpected! The culprit of the later events in the story has a genuine charm, unlike many other antagonists. I praise Rivera for her creativity in that regard. Although I loved the plot and premise of this story, I would have enjoyed more details around the characters to give them more depth. That was especially the case when it came to their physical appearance. But I am glad to say this is my only complaint, and it does not affect my feelings towards the story as a whole.

Dark Was the Night by Tania Lorena Rivera is a must-read for the autumn season. I give this book a dazzling four out of five stars! Now hurry and add it to your TBR for the month. This is a short but suspenseful horror novel with an eerie atmosphere and an engrossing story.

Pages: 238 | ASIN: B09DFJLPNC

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