Saturday, July 10, 2010

Interview with Anastasia Hopcus!

Shadow Hills book birthday is almost here! Just a few days away! If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it...you can read my full review here. I'll tell you one thing---it was awesome! Debut author, Anastasia Hopcus, has stopped in to answer a few questions about herself and her wonderful book! Enjoy!

Describe Shadow Hills in your own words.

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.

Can you tell a little about how you got interested in writing?

My mom started reading to me when I was very little, and fiction has always fascinated me, whether it's books, tv shows or movies. As a teen, I worked on writing screenplays, but after high school, my focus turned more to the acting part of film. Eventually I got back into writing, and this time it was novels, which seemed to be a better fit for me than screenplays were.

Tell us about your ideal writing space.

Since I can get distracted very easily, my ideal writing space would be quiet, clean, and organized. In my home office, I've pretty much got the quiet part down, and I'm working toward the clean part, but the organized part may just be a pipe dream. ;)

What is your inspiration for Shadow Hills and the characters in it. Along with the main characters, one of my favorites was Toy---was there a specific inspiration for her?

The prep school was sort of based on Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, MA, as far as its structure, curriculum, and the location. The town of Shadow Hills is just my own conglomeration of many of the beautiful places I visited in the Berkshire area, but it's not really modeled after one specific town.

Almost all my characters have one or two aspects of my personality and often a few aspects of my friends' and family's personalities, as well. But the only character who is really inspired by one certain person is, funnily enough, Toy. Being a girl and being really good with computers is all her, but a lot of her other interests--collecting music on vinyl, graphic novels, Frank Kozik toys--- are the same as my boyfriend Brent's.

How would you describe your writing style?

I would hope that people find it readable, as that's what I aim for. I'm not a fan of really dense narration, and I really enjoy writing dialogue, which I think comes partly from my original interest in screenwriting. So I hope dialogue is one of my strengths, too. I really love lyrical novels and greatly admire that kind of writing style, but the most important thing to me is that my book is a fast, fun read.

What kind of books did you love to read as a child/teenager?

When I was a kid, I really loved Anne of Green Gables and the Alice books by Phyllis Naylor (though, regrettably, I haven't read the most recent ones). When I was a little older, like middle school and high school age, I really enjoyed Rob Thomas' young adult novels and Francesca Lia Block's whole Weetzie Bat series. My copy of Dangerous Angels looks like it's been through a war.

Which of the characters that you've written is your favorite?

The person I would most want to hang out with is Phe. She's easy to get along with and fun. But my favorite girl character to write is probably Adriana. I tend to over-analyze and think about the future impact of everything I do and say, but Adriana just does and says whatever pops into her mind. It's really fun to write without an inner censor like that.

I also really love writing Brody because even though in the beginning, he might come off as dumb or a one-note slacker, there really is so much more to him and his background and personality, and I really enjoy exploring that.

There was some great music mentioned in Shadow Hills---were you listening to it while you were writing?

Pretty much all the music mentioned in Shadow Hills is stuff that I myself love and listen to, but, as I said earlier, with my tendency to get distracted, I really have to have it silent as I work. I truly envy those people who can listen to songs as they're writing, but I start dancing and singing along, which isn't very productive.

Fun questions:

Favorite snack while writing?

I don't really eat while I'm writing. I'll get so involved in a scene that I don’t realize I'm hungry, but when I finally do, I often pop a frozen dinner into the microwave, only to go back to writing, where I'll get wrapped up in a new chapter and totally forget about my food. By the time I get it out, it's a congealed, cold mess that no one would want to eat.

Favorite movie?

That's really an impossible question for me to answer since I have so many, but the tops would be any of the early John Hughes movies, such as Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Sixteen Candles. I also really, really loved Garden State and Adventureland. But probably my most recent favorite movie is Kick Ass.

Favorite flower?

Orchid

Favorite band and song?

Again, this is a really impossible question for me to answer. But I'll give you my favorite songs of two of my many favorite bands: Wonderlust King by Gogol Bordello and The Sweat Descends by Les Savy Fav.

Favorite teacher from your school years?

Mr. Van Dyke, my fourth grade teacher. Spacy became my nickname from him because I was always daydreaming, but he was the most challenging, fun, and interesting teacher I had in elementary school.


Check out more about Shadow Hills and Anastasia at her website: http://anastasiahopcus.blogspot.com/

Look for Shadow Hills on bookstore shelves this Tuesday, July 13th!

Also, check back here in a few days, where I'll be giving away four awesome books that release this week---including Shadow Hills!


38 comments :

  1. Great interview! Anastasia and I share a love of the same flower. I like how she explained her writing style, too. (:

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  2. I love mysteries. I should check this out. Great interview!

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  3. Awesome interview! Thanks for stopping by Anastasia.

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  4. Wonderful interview! Anastasia seems like a great person, and her book sound excellent. I'd love to read it someday!

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  5. Great interview! I get very distracted by writing too, and I hate eating by the computer.

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  6. She sounds like a very focus person if she can forget about even eating while writing! SO wish I can be like that *lol*

    Great interview!

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  7. Orchid means beautiful, you know? I love your color hair :))

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  8. I LOVE Francesca Lia Block as well! Shadow Hills definitely was a fun, quick read - so I think Anastasia achieved her goal! :)

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  9. Great questions. Anastasia is the best :) Loved the interview!

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  10. Great questions and answers, they were fun to read. Loved the interview, Shadow Hills sounds so interesting.

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  11. Oooh I loved Shadow Hills and I loved reading this interview. Interesting to find out that she like Anne of Greengables as a child.

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  12. Great interview! I love Orchids too, and I'm really looking forward to watch Kick Ass.

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  13. This was a really great interview! I hadn't heard of this book before, but I'll definitely be reading it now!

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  14. great interview can't wait to read the book!

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  15. ooh, I know Deerfield;almost went there

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  16. Like the way you describe the dialogue and the personalities of the characters.

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  17. great interview. I really love the Alice books too! Shadow Hills seems like a very interesting book.

    angela z

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  18. I get distracted super easily too.. Like.. I forget to reply my friends -__-

    I haven't read the book but Toy sounds like someone I would adore! :D

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  19. really cant wait to read the book!everyone is bugging about it and i desperately need to read this!

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  20. I'm looking forward to the book!

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  21. sounds like a book that I won't be able to put down - a book that gets into your head and won't let you sleep.

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  22. Shadow Hills was an amazing book! It will remain in my collection for years to come <3

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  23. I loved the Anne books as a kid too but I don't think I've heard of the Alice ones. Your fourth grade teacher had an awesome name!

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  24. Interesting that a paranormal author would also enjoy Anne of Green Gables, one of my favorites. I guess that shows she has a very eclectic taste!

    Laura

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  25. Great interview. Interesting that she has a background in screenwriting.

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  26. YAY! I love Anastasia!! She has beautiful hair!!
    Great interview.

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  27. This book sounds really good! I love mystery and paranormal so this book seems perfect for me :D

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  28. Paramystery :) Im gonna put this on my to-read list, thanks for the interview

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  29. I love all of Anastasia's interviews! And I can't wait to read Shadow Hills, there;s been so much hype about it.

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  30. Shadow Hills sounds very interesting. I'll have to check it out.

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  31. I am a huge fan of John Hughes. I love her hair color.

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  32. I've heard a lot about this book and I just haven't gotten around to buying it, but I'm going to now.

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  33. Great interview. I can't wait to read this book!

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  34. YA mystery? My favourite! Can't wait to read her book! :)

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  35. I can totally empathize with her – I can’t listen to songs when I’m writing, either! First you start humming, then singing along, then totally jam out. Next thing you know, you’re out of your chair, dancing along with the music! (Well, okay, maybe no one else has that reaction, but... eh...) I loved her responses in this interview! I really can’t wait to get my hands on this book!

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  36. Great interview, thank you!

    Shadow Hills is one of the new releases I'm yearning the most for!

    ps: And it has a very cool cover too, congrats!

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  37. Great interview, Thank you!
    This book is on my wish list :B I want it. I want it. I want it. LOL :D

    Thanks again :D

    Jaz.parks

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  38. Orchids are absolutely beautiful flowers.

    I finally got this book in! So excited to read it.

    Valorie @ TruthBeTOldBlog.com

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