Oct 20, 2012

Don't Look Behind the Bookshelf: Day 3

Dont Look Behind the Bookshelf
What are you doing here? Do you not see the letters in huge red script?! It told you not to look behind here--and you did. Now you have no choice but to pry your eyes open and be exposed to yet another day of Don't Look Behind the Bookshelf. (You can see the first day's interview here, and day two's interview here.) Day three brings an author who recently entered the fabulous yet terrifying world of writing Young Adult. Her novel is key for Halloween, having Gothic elements and one of the holiday's most infamous creatures: vampires. Put your fangs together for...

Marta Acosta

Trick or treat?
Treat of course! Preferably something chocolate.

Truth or dare?
Neither. I have secrets that can never be revealed, and my contradictory nature makes me immediately balk when someone dares me to do anything.

Best Halloween creature? 
Werewolves are the best dancers, for sure! Vampires just hang out in a corner and whine about how they’re misunderstood. Zombies always drop their rotted body parts in the bowl of fruit punch.
What’s the worst and best candy to get on Halloween?
Anything with chocolate is the best. Chocolate is superior to all other candies, except chocolate with nuts. The worst candy is candy corn. Have you ever tried to pop candy corn in the microwave? It makes a terrible mess. I suspect there’s no actual corn in it.

What’s your most memorable Halloween costume?
Oh, the best was probably when I dressed up like a ‘60s platinum blonde film star, with a sequined cocktail dress and stiletto heels.  A few guys at the party thought I was actually a blonde and I had to explain that it was just a wig that I bought from Woolworth’s.

Best movie to watch for Halloween? Best book to read?
Well, I think the best movie to watch for Halloween is The Frighteners, because it has Michael J. Fox as a depressed con artist who can commune with the dead, but it isn’t too scary for me to watch. I am a fan of all Canadian comic actors named Michael. The best book would be one of my Casa Dracula books because they’re hilarious, not too scary to read, and put you in a good mood to go to a party.
What scares you?
Bats! Just yesterday I was telling my brother how scared I used to be when we went camping because they (all of my brothers) used to tell me that bats would fly into my long hair and get tangled in it, and then bite my head and face while I screamed helplessly. I used to sleep with my head completely covered by the sleeping bag.
If you could be any Halloween creature which would you be and why?
I would be a vampire, because you get the most costume options. If you choose a werewolf or mummy, you have a heck of a time going to the ladies’ room with your awkward bodysuit while a line is waiting. Vampires get to look attractive, even while they’re whining and bellyaching that no one understands them.

Do you have a real-life experience Halloween story?
I lived in a country estate reputed to be haunted, and I may have…okay, I did contribute to that reputation by sneaking around with my best friend and a set of master keys in the middle of the night. People thought they’d heard a ghost.

If you could go back in time and rewrite the legend of a fictional monster/creature, which would you choose?
Well, I’d go back and make the Cat in the Hat less terrifying. He preys on children who are home alone and causes all sorts of mayhem. He is a fabulous dresser, so I’d let him keep his debonair style, but I would give him some sort of moral and ethical center instead of tempting children to “have fun that is funny.” The Cat is an egomaniacal monster, who’s always saying, “Look at me! Look at me now!” Destruction of a home is not funny! Okay, it’s a little funny. But Thing One and Thing Two? Geez, the thought of them sends shivers down my spine.  
How do you celebrate Halloween?
My spawn’s birthday is near Halloween, so we celebrate his birthday with a Halloween theme, including a big chocolate cake shaped like a pumpkin. His birthday is always the important event and Halloween is secondary.

In about 140 characters or less please write a super short Halloween story.
The sun did not shine and when a cat in a hat came, I called the cops and said, “A maniac's trying to get in my house! Bring the SWAT Team!”

It’s Friday the 13th, you’re home alone, and it’s dark. Simultaneously, the phone rings and you hear somebody upstairs. What do you do?
Well, naturally I’m going to ignore the telemarketer calling, unless I’m in a surly mood, which happens pretty often. If this surly condition applies, I’ll grab up the phone and let loose a crazed tirade that is sure to scare away any male so fast that he leaves skid marks.

If you were in a horror movie with a classic killer what would you do to survive?
Mike Meyers is another Michael from Canada, so I lurve him! I’d probably survive by getting him to talk about his time on Saturday Night Live, doing Wayne and Garth skits with him, and suggesting we clear out the living room for a hockey game.
If some of your characters were going to dress up for Halloween, what would they dress up as?
Milagro would probably dress up as one of her literary idols, like Jane Austen, but she’d look ridiculous in an empire waist dress. Mary Violet would dress up like Emily Dickinson and she’d look ridiculous with her poufy golden hair and round pink cheeks.

What are five facts about yourself?
-Even though I hate having phone conversations, I have an extremely pleasant phone voice.
-I have two insane rescued dogs, Betty and Bosco, and I constantly worry that Bosco will sense my favoritism to Betty.
-I have a vintage chartreuse typewriter, and I type terrible daily haikus and keep them in an old card file that -I’ve painted teal.
-I love bookstores and will spend hours in them, going through all the different areas.
-I like to say, “And you can quote me on that!” all the time, and I think I’m hilarious.
Using the letters of VAMPIRE, how would you describe Dark Companion?
V is for the vapors, mist, and fog encase the exclusive world of Birch Grove Academy.
A is for the allure of this beautiful place to Jane Williams, a poor, damaged orphan girl from the hood.
M is for malevolent forces that may be out to get Jane, who begins to suspect that the headmistress and others aren’t telling her the truth about another foster girl who suddenly left the school.
P is for permanent, a decision Jane will have to make about the rest of her life.
I is for irritating, which is how Jack Radcliffe seems to Jane with all his teasing and confusing behavior.
R is for radiant, like Jane’s new friend, Mary Violet, who almost glows with brightness and silliness.
E is for the escape Jane will have to make to save her own life.
What’s next for you? Will Dark Companion have a companion?
Right now I’m working with a talented narrator, Patricia Fructuoso, on the audiobook for Nancy’s Theory of Style, which I wrote under the pen name Grace Coopersmith.  I’ve just made audiobooks for my funny, sexy Casa Dracula series, and they’re available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

I have a super-secret book coming out in June 2013. How super? Totally super! It’s a romantic comedy. I’m also working on a YA gothic mystery featuring Mary Violet Holiday, Jane’s best friend at Birch Grove Academy. Mary Violet is invited to an ancient alumna’s isolated and dilapidated mansion, where she discovers clues to an old mystery. There’s danger, romance, and, of course, poetry. It’s tentatively titled Mary Violet and the Mystery of the Silent Songbird.

In the form of a haiku, please express your feelings for Halloween.
California skies
Are brilliant each Hallow’s Eve
It’s earthquake weather

[Beauty and the Bookshelf adds: I met Marta back in August and she was so cool! Somehow we got to talking about haikus, so of course I had to ask her to write one!]

Thanks so much for having me here Rachel and for asking such challenging questions! Readers can learn more about me and my book by visiting my author website, my blog, or following me on Twitter.

Marta Acosta lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was a feral reader, roaming the stacks of the public library.
She received a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Stanford University and has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Contra Costa Times, and Spaces Magazine.
Marta lives with her husband, spawn, and their crazy dogs. An avid gardener, she likes independent films, funny novels, loud music and lively conversations.
She’s always happy to hear from readers, even the ones who point out typos.
I know you want more from Marta, so be sure to visit the links above; you can also find all her books on Goodreads. Or you could just stay here and find out about her Hallow-perfect read, Dark Companion.

Publisher: Tor Teen
Publishing Date: July 3, 2012
Pages: 368
Orphaned at the age of six, Jane Williams has grown up in a series of foster homes, learning to survive in the shadows of life. Through hard work and determination, she manages to win a scholarship to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy. There, for the first time, Jane finds herself accepted by a group of friends. She even starts tutoring the headmistress’s gorgeous son, Lucien. Things seem too good to be true.

They are.

The more she learns about Birch Grove’s recent past, the more Jane comes to suspect that there is something sinister going on. Why did the wife of a popular teacher kill herself? What happened to the former scholarship student, whose place Jane took? Why does Lucien’s brother, Jack, seem to dislike her so much?

As Jane begins to piece together the answers to the puzzle, she must find out why she was brought to Birch Grove—and what she would risk to stay there…

As I mentioned briefly earlier, I had the chance to meet Marta Acosta, and she was spectacular. She was great to talk to, and I cannot wait to finally read Dark Companion--and you should, too. The name alone can send goosebumps down your arms. And I love how she answered her questions--great voice! So run away while you still you can and learn more about Marta Acosta and her books!

And if you dare, return to Beauty and the Bookshelf tomorrow (and through the 31st) for more of Don't Look Behind the Bookshelf!


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