In her novels, the American author Vendela Vida asks big questions: How do I find safety after my life has been threatened?

Can you escape your past and start over?

Can a place bring back lost happiness?

She herself calls her books dark.

Her new novel The Tides Are Ours again deals with such big questions: loyalty, betrayal, truth and lies.

But because this time a 13-year-old tells the story with black humor, there are always bittersweet moments despite a broken friendship and a fake kidnapping.

For the interview, Vida sits smiling in front of the webcam in her office in Sausalito.

Next to her is a bouquet of tulips and gerberas.

That already looks like spring.

The flowers were given to me by my daughter's friends who were with us for a slumber party.

I put them in my office.

I didn't have an office before, but because of Covid, we were all suddenly at home all the time and I needed my own space.

I found this in an old hot tub studio in Sausalito.

Because of the pandemic, they turned it into offices.

The ironic thing is that I'm the only person I know who hates hot tubs.

The friendship between two girls is also central to your new novel - and how this friendship breaks down.

In your opinion, has the pandemic changed friendships?

Yes, in two different directions.

On the one hand, in the beginning I saw my best friend every day, we met, went hiking.

Now it feels strange that we only see each other once a week.

On the other hand, I went into hiding during the first phase of the pandemic, I worked very hard on the story and of course it was a good distraction.

And when I finished the novel in June 2020, I came out of this book and everything hit me belatedly, a delayed shock.

The narrator, Eulabee, has a best friend, Maria Fabiola.

You describe their relationship as very close, very intense.

What is at the heart of this friendship?

They grew up together, they see each other like mirrors.

I think a lot of kids feel that way.

I work a lot with girls and have a daughter that age myself - and friendships are really important to them.

That's why I started the book with a "we", it's not just the two of them, there's this clique of friends.

This we results in a strength.

When that falls apart, Eulabee must first figure out who she is without her friend.

But is this really a friendship?

When Eulabee describes Maria Fabiola, it sounds like adoration, it didn't seem like the two were on the same level.

It's okay at that age because you always do everything together.

And what happens here, which often happens between teenagers, is that your girlfriend suddenly takes a different path than you. In my story, it's the lie that Maria Fabiola tells that the girls were molested by a man.

And Eulabee has to decide whether or not to support this lie.

When she fails to do so, she is expelled from the group and the "we" becomes an "I".

Your novel is not a children's book, even if it deals with conflicts between teenagers.

You can tell by the fact that at some point there is a very far-reaching lie, the kidnapping that Maria Fabiola thinks up.

It's about deceit, devotion, the question of putting friendship over truth.

Why do you think about these big questions based on a relationship between two 13 year olds?