Interview with Ingrid Thoft about DUPLICITY

Elise Cooper:  Where did you get the idea for the story?

Ingrid Thoft:  In the Seattle area there was a Church that imploded.  Although the Covenant Rising Church was Evangelical what was put forth in the book could be applied to any religion.  I wondered what happens to people when the cornerstone of their experience doesn’t turn out to be what they thought.  I am fascinated with the idea of mega churches where it is about faith, but also is about money and power, especially those personalities that rise to the top who are very charismatic.

I also thought of what happened in Penn State.  So many people chose not to do anything because of money, position, and power.  It blows my mind how people got this information and chose to ignore it.  They did their minimal duty and had the attitude of washing their hands from it.  It was as if they did not want to upset the apple cart.

EC:  You have a common thread between the religious community and family dynamics?

 IT:  The common thread is where lots of people knew things, but did nothing about it.  I questioned ‘at what moment do people speak up and say something is wrong?’ The dynamics of power, status, and social interaction influence how people make difficult decisions.  You cannot always believe with blind faith and look the other way. We must keep our moral compass and allow dissent. Should you subvert your critical thinking to fit in or subvert your judgment?

EC:  In the book you discuss how women are treated inferior?

 IT:  One character typified how abusive women are treated.  They are called liars, feel ashamed, and are many times humiliated.  There are so many times when their loved ones do not believe and validate their experience.  Within the Church the Pastor’s wife was told to bear children, her womanly function.  It is obvious that people still don’t treat women as equals. In this story both the abuser and the male church leaders tried to overpower their victims.  Fina does not like it when women are not heard or listened to.

EC:  How would you describe Fina?

 IT:  She has a strong sense of right and wrong as well as pragmatic, sarcastic, and with a strong moral code who cares about people.  She will go beyond the law to make sure the bad guys get their due.  She does not feel it necessary to be married or have children.  In many ways she is like a salmon swimming up stream.

EC:  Is Fina your alter ego?

IT: Yes.  She is my hidden identity.  She says a lot of things I would not.  I guess since I created her there are parts of me in her.  She is definitely bolder and not as polite as myself.  It is a lot of fun because I get to call things as I see them where in actual life I would not do it.

EC: If you live in Seattle why set it in Boston?

IT:  I am from there and have a bunch of family that still lives there.  It is fun for me to have my brain in Boston, while I am living in Seattle.  It is a feeling of being on both coasts.

EC:  What are your next projects?

IT:  The TV option with ABC ran out.  I am fine with that, because they wanted to change a lot.  I would have had a difficult time with that.  We are now exploring other options and shopping around.  My next book, probably out next year, will be a standalone.  It will have a lot of family dynamics.  I enjoy thinking about how the moving parts work within a family, community, or organization.  In the next Fina book the problems that arise within her life will play a large role.