Anastasia Hopcus wrote her first book in the 2nd grade. It was entitled Frederick the Friendly French Ferret and was seven pages long. During high school she wrote numerous short stories and started (but never finished) three screenplays, all as an alternative to doing actual school work. At the very wise age of twelve her career ambition was to drive a Mack truck, but when that didn't pan out, she tried acting, bartending, and being a receptionist in a dojo before finally returning to writing. Anastasia loves horror movies, Joss Whedon, obsessing over music, and British accents. She lives in Austin, Texas and Shadow Hills is her debut novel. You can visit Anastasia at her website www.anastasiahopcus.com.
GOM: What made you pick "Persephone" as the main character's name?
AH: I really like unique names, and Persephone's great because it also ties in well with some of the Greek mythology that's in Shadow Hills.
GOM: The characters in Shadow Hills were all so different and easy to relate to. Did you gain inspiration for any of the characters from someone in your personal life?
AH: My characters aren't exactly like a particular person, but often times they have some of the same attributes as one of my friends or even me. Toy's array of vinyl records, graphic novels, and Frank Kozik toys are reminiscent of my boyfriend Brent's collections, and she loves horror movies like I do. My musical tastes, however are probably most similar to Zach and Phe's.
GOM: Shadow Hills had so many different paranormal elements, how much research did you do to pull it off?
AH: I did a ton of research for Shadow Hills.
In researching the genetic elements, I looked at various scientific studies and read articles about neuroplasticity.
For the stuff on epidemics, I read many articles and also watched a PBS video on the Bubonic Plague. I went to Massachusetts and took pictures at cemeteries, boarding schools and small town squares, so that I could accurately describe Shadow Hills and Devenish Prep.
And of course I did some reading on Greek mythology, Hekate, and ancient Greek religion and magic.
I really enjoy research, and sometimes it even helps generate new ideas so it's also a valuable tool in dealing with writer's block.
GOM: What makes Shadow Hills different from all the many paranormal novels out there?
AH: One of the things that I think sets Shadow Hills apart from a lot of the other paranormal novels is that it doesn't involve vampires, werewolves, or zombies. Because, as much as I enjoy those books, I really wanted Phe's experience to be unique and intriguing for the reader.
GOM: What would you say is your perfect writing setting?
AH: I love music and typically I have it on all the time, but I like peace and quiet to write.
GOM: What song would set the mood for someone preparing to read Shadow Hills?
AH: Wonderlust King by Gogol Bordello--it's the first song that Phe and Zach bond over, and I think it captures their spirit.
GOM: What YA novel is on your night able as we speak?
AH: I haven't started it yet, but I'm really looking forward to reading Sleepless by Cyn Balog. It sounds like a unique and fascinating new concept.
GOM: What would you say was the sexiest scene in Shadow Hills?
AH: The one where Zach comes to Phe's window one night--if you've read the book, I think you'll know what I'm talking about; it's near the very end. (YES I do know and it gets pretty steamy!)
GOM: After years of trying out many different career paths, what made you return to writing?
AH: I get to use my imagination; it allows me to have a flexible work schedule; and it gives me more creative control than any other artistic medium except perhaps for painting, which I'm not any good at.
GOM: Can we look forward to a sequel?
AH: I have lots of ideas for future books about Phe and zach and the people of Shadow Hills, but there aren't any official plans for a sequel yet.
Shadow Hills Trailer
If you somehow missed it, here's my glowing review of Shadow Hills.
To stalk Anastasia such as I do, check her out at these spots:
Thanks so much to Anastasia Hopcus for hanging out with us. Be sure to check out her website for the rest of the stops on her blog tour. To order your copy of Shadow Hills click Here.