Author Interview: Anastasia Hopcus

Monday, November 8, 2010

Anastasia Hopcus

  • Shadow Hills
His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her.

Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…
might cost her her life.

Describe your book in five words or less.

YA mystery with paranormal twist

When and why did you begin writing?

I've always loved to read, and I wrote short stories throughout high school---both for class and just for fun. Still, I didn't get serious about being an author until I decided to move back home from LA. I really loved Los Angeles, so that's where I set the first novel I worked on when I got back to Austin. It gave me a feeling of being there, but without the exorbitant rent. That first book didn't pan out, but I did end up making the main character in Shadow Hills from Los Feliz, the exact area where I used to live.

What was the research process for Shadow Hills like for you?

Fun. I loved learning about boarding schools, and though the science aspects were a little harder to wrap my mind around at first, I really enjoyed surprising people at parties with my new knowledge of myelin, neuroplasticity, and many other brain things I can't recall anymore. I also adored traveling around Massachusetts and taking pictures of the cool old cemeteries and buildings from the 1700s. There's nothing that old in Austin; it's really kind of magical standing in a house and knowing that someone stood in that same place in 1660. Massachusetts is such a beautiful state with such a rich history, and I would love to live in the Berkshires some day.

What do you like to do in your spare time, when you are not writing?

I'm a huge fan of music so I spend a lot of my free time looking for new bands or going to live shows. I try to make it to SXSW every year, which is just a week of awesome.

I also watch way too much TV on DVD. I get totally addicted to a show and will watch a whole disc in one sitting. I've even watched entire seasons in less than a week.

And I love doing Sing Star at my house, though I'm petrified to do karaoke at an actual bar with strangers watching me. Yikes.

If you could travel back in time, what time and place would you choose? And if you can only take 3 things with you, what would they be?

I would travel to Lake Geneva in Switzerland during the summer of 1816. I'd love to see what all went on during the period in which Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein and Percy Shelley and Lord Byron first met. I'd take documentation of the sales of Frankenstein through the years to show to Mary (though maybe not---that might freak her out and leave her unable to write it), a digital camera so I could prove I was there, and my boyfriend Brent because it just wouldn't be as much fun without him.

What book are you currently reading?

I'm finishing up The Secret History by Donna Tartt, which I've been rereading, and then I'm going to start The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride.


Thanks so much Anastasia for stopping by!


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