Monday, August 30, 2010

Interview with Anastasia Hopcus

Today I'm excited to welcome Anastasia Hopcus! She is the author of Shadow Hills. My blog is the next stop on her tour. I hope everyone gives her a warm welcome!

Hi Anastasia, Welcome to Anna's Book Blog! I'm glad to have you here. To start off can you tell the readers a little about yourself?

Hi! Glad to be here. I live in Austin Texas and have lived there almost all my life, but I spent a few years in Los Angeles, when I was interested in acting. I like to read, especially Young Adult paranormal, and I also spend a lot of time watching TV series on DVD. I'm a huge Buffy fan. As far as recent shows go, I watch Vampire Diaries and Supernatural, but this summer I've been hooked on DVD's of 30 Rock and The Office. I also love doing Sing Star karaoke with my friends. I enjoy music, and fortunately there are a number of bands who play here. I always try to go to SXSW every spring.

Shadow Hills is your newest release, can you tells us a little about it?

Shadow Hills is a Young Adult mystery with a paranormal twist. After the death of her sister, my main character, Phe, has been having cryptic dreams, much like the ones her sister had before she died. Phe decides to go to Devenish Prep, the boarding school that her sister mentioned in her last diary entry, but Phe soon realizes that the secrets of Shadow Hills are even darker than her own.

What is your writing day like?

I tend to stay up late, so I get up kind of late, too. For that first hour, I just drink my coffee and take care of office tasks like answering emails and goodreads messages. Then I do some yoga, and after that, I'm usually energized and can get down to writing. I write continuously for a fairly large chunk of time. I really love it when I can get rolling with a scene and just spend a few hours writing. Sometimes it flows, and sometimes it's like pulling teeth. I try not to quit until I've put in two or three hours of real work, but I often work long past then, too.

When your not writing what kind of books do you like to read?

I mostly read paranormal YA. That's my favorite kind of book, really. I used to read mysteries, too, but what with promoting Shadow Hills as well as trying to write, I'm hardly able to keep up with my stack of YA books. Recently I've read Whisper and Shade. I've got Beautiful Darkness waiting for me when I finish the blog tour. I know I won't want to stop reading it once I start, so I'm trying to save it till I'm not so busy.

Since becoming published, what has been your favorite part of the process?

As soon as I finished my revisions and had a pub date, I started working on ways I could get the word out on Shadow Hills, and that turned out to be pretty fun. I became part of the Tenners, an online group of YA authors debuting in 2010. It's been great getting to know them and sharing ideas. Through them, I started connecting with YA book bloggers, and they've just been awesome. I've been so amazed at how willing bloggers are to support Shadow Hills; they've been very generous with their time. Getting the Shadow Hills swag together was also fun. I even got this little machine so I could make buttons and magnets. (So if you happen to get any of those as swag, I made them myself!) But the best thing by far has been the relationships I've established with the bloggers and other authors.

What type of research did you do for your book?

I did a lot of research. I read scientific articles and books---I've never had to look up so many words in my life! I wanted to have a reality base for the paranormal elements, so I read about genetics and the brain, things like myelin and neuroplasticity. Some of it was just fascinating, particularly one book that was about the development of the brain as we grow up. I rented a couple of documentaries about the Bubonic Plague, and I read about almshouses and Massachusetts in the 1700's. I also had to research the setting of my book. I was sure that Massachusetts was the perfect place for the book to be set, but I'd never even visited the state, so I spent a couple of weeks there. Took a lot of pictures of old buildings and graveyards and these huge, huge trees. I fell in love with the Berkshires. I researched boarding schools online to get an idea of their policies and curriculum. I even spent some time reading students' experiences that were posted on boarding school review sites.

Are there any real life people that have inspired the characters in your series?

Almost all my characters have some aspects of my personality and often are like my friends and family in some ways. Toy's vinyl records, graphic novels, and Frank Kozik toys are all things that my boyfriend Brent collects, too. She loves horror movies like I do. Adriana and Phe share my interest in fashion. Zach and Phe have similar musical tastes to me. But none of the characters are really like any one particular person I know.

What are 3 things that are "must haves" for you when you sit down to write a book?

my laptop, an internet connection, silence

If Shadow Hills was turn into a tv show or movie, who would you like to see play your main characters?

As soon as I finished the book, I started seeing possible 'Zachs' in tons of movies. Over time, though, I've really decided my two favorites are Logan Lerman and Aaron Johnson. They're hot but not in a conceited male model way; they both look nice and fun and the teensiest bit shy.

As for Phe, I like Anna Sophia Robb.

What is up next? Is Shadow Hills the beginning of a series or will you move on to something else?

I'd love for Shadow Hills to be a series. I have a number of ideas for future books. I'd really like to develop Zach and Phe's relationship more, and I'd like to explore the secrets of Shadow Hills. But we'll just have to wait and see how Shadow Hills does before I can really start on that. In the meantime I'm in the initial stages of working on a paranormal YA set in London in the 1830's.

By Anastasia Hopcus

Out Now!

After her sister Athena's tragic death, it's obvious that grief-stricken Persephone "Phe" Archer no longer belongs in Los Angeles. Hoping to make sense of her sister's sudden demise and the cryptic dreams following it, Phe abandons her bubbly LA life to attend an uptight East Coast preparatory school in Shadow Hills, MA — a school which her sister mysteriously mentioned in her last diary entry before she died.

Once there, Phe quickly realizes that something is deeply amiss in her new town. Not only does Shadow Hills' history boast an unexplained epidemic that decimated hundreds of its citizens in the 1700s, but its modern townies also seem eerily psychic, with the bizarre ability to bend metal. Even Zach — the gorgeous stranger Phe meets and immediately begins to lust after — seems as if he is hiding something serious. Phe is determined to get to the bottom of it. The longer she stays there, the more she suspects that her sister's untimely death and her own destiny are intricately linked to those who reside in Shadow Hills.

1 comment:

  1. I love the pics to play Zach. I had to google them cause I was not hip enough to know who they

    Another great stop on the tour!



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