As part of a blog tour to promote her release, Shadow Hills, I'm pleased to have Anastasia Hopcus over for an interview! Be sure to check out my review of Shadow Hills as well.
Where did the idea for Shadow Hills come from?
In part, it was inspired by a 60 Minutes segment on a savant named Daniel Tammet. I thought a lot about the extraordinary abilities some people have, and I wondered what it would be like if a group of people had the same sort of unusual talents and how that might have come about. I had a lot of time to think on a trip to LA not long after that, and the ideas just really started to come together and work into a story.
Did you have to do a lot of research for Shadow Hills?
I did a lot of research, mostly scientific stuff about the brain and genetics. There were also historical elements that I had to look into, particularly about epidemics, and I got a few really good books on ancient Greek religion.I also had to research the setting of my book. I was sure that Massachusetts was the perfect place for the book, but I'd never even visited the state, so I spent a couple of weeks there.
Will there be a sequel to Shadow Hills?
I certainly hope there will be. I'd love to have a chance to dig a little deeper into the secrets of Shadow Hills, and I really want to develop Phe's and Zach's love story. But that's still up in the air.
Shadow Hills is your debut novel, congrats! Was it the first book you've written?
Actually, I wrote an adult mystery before Shadow Hills. But I had trouble finding an agent for it, and I was feeling discouraged about it. Then, one day when I was watching a teen movie, I realized that young adult books were what I ought to be writing. I always like books and movies and tv shows that are written for teens. I love music. The high school years are really pivotal; it's a time of tremendous emotion and changes. Just a perfect period to write about.
Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?
Team Unicorn, I think.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
I think you have to be really persistent, particularly in today's market. It's important to study your craft in whatever way works best for you, whether it's taking a course or reading books on writing or joining a writing group. And then you have to write. It's so easy to give other things priority over your writing, and I had to exercise more discipline sometimes than I wanted to. But it's really necessary to keep writing and re-writing. Then selling a book requires a lot of patience and persistence.
Thanks for the cool interview Anastasia!