Friday, June 28, 2013

Interview with Heather Anastasiu + Giveaway

You have, probably, read Glitch, by Heather Anastasiu, or if you haven't, heard of it at least. And if you haven't, maybe you've seen the cover on one of those Goodreads lists. And if you still haven't, then know this is a book blog, and you'll look like an idiot if you keep coming back. By all means, though, do follow this blog and read on. 

Time flies, and the last book in the trilogy will come out in a few days. Of course, I got to read it before all of you, so I'm going to rub that in your faces. 

The first two books of the trilogy, Glitch and Override:

Glitch (Glitch, #1)  Override (Glitch, #2) 

And the one we're all waiting for, the great finale, Shutdown.

The battle is all but over, and hope seems to be lost. Zoe and her fellow Resistance fighters are on the run, having lost their home, their protection, and their leader. They are outnumbered and outmatched by the powerful corporation that controls the world, and the cruel Chancellor is inches away from completing a scheme that would kill most of humanity. Zoe's only remaining option is to chase the impossible dream of upending the Link system, freeing the world from the hardware that controls their thoughts and emotions, and hope it will trigger a revolution.
The plot requires a nearly impossible mission to infiltrate the dangerous Community, and it is a task that Zoe must unfortunately complete alone. With challenges and surprises at every turn, nothing goes according to plan. Adrien's visions of the future now show two possible outcomes: one in which they succeed, and one in which humanity falls. It all lies in Zoe's hands.

And guess what? I got to do an interview with Heather, and this is one of my favorite interview sessions to date.*
  • Do you like exercising? Nope J I have a chronic illness, so I can’t really exercise anything beyond the brain muscles, but I try to use those a lot J
  • Three favorite/most recommended books across all genres (adult, ya, na, mg, everything)? Oooo, great question, I love talking books! Ok, favorite books, favorite books. Gotta have Pride and Prejudice on the list, because I can read this book over and over and over. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is my favorite of all time literary YA. It’s so gorgeously written and such a powerful story. Finally, I’ll cheat a little bit and say the entire Clockwork Angel series by Cassandra Clare because, just, SO MUCH LOVE!
  • If you could build a house out of whatever you wanted, free of charge (because the first word anybody thinks is money – how much it would cost. It’s sad to see what humanity has become), what would you build it of? Mmm, for some reason (aka, my obsession with sweets) makes me want to say caramel. Mmm, I love caramel.
  • How do you feel about finishing the Glitch series (and please, try not to use the word bittersweet)? Lol, okay, I’ll try not to use bittersweet! It’s funny, I’ll hear other authors talk about finishing their series and missing their characters. And I do find myself missing Zoe, especially as I move on to writing other books—I’m like, dang, I finally figured Zoe out and now I have to start all over and completely understand a NEW character inside out? That’s so haaaaaaard *insert whiny voice* Ahem. I mean, it’s an exciting to move on. Erm, yeah. But also what I feel is a sense of being satisfied that I really told that story the best it could be told. There were times there in the middle (*makes sideways eyes at book 2*) where I didn’t think I’d be able to figure it all out in time and it would all just end up a heaping, embarrassing mess. But by some grace or magic, even in the scrunched up time period I had to write this series, I managed to put out three books I’m really proud of. Which makes me feel not really proud so much as immensely relieved ;)
  • Your favorite scene from all three books (only one!)? Ooo, great question. And killer to have to choose! Okay, I think I have to say this cave scene in Shutdown. If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about ;)
  • You’ve written dystopia. If you were to write in another genre, what would it be? Well, since I am writing in a new genre with the next book I’ve written, I’ll say contemporary horror! It’s fun not to have to do all the world-building of sci-fi and get to play with creepy atmosphere instead.
  • Most interesting/funny/creepy/absurd story that happened while you were writing and publishing Shutdown? Ooo, another good question. Hmm. I don’t really have that interesting of a life. I wish I had more creepy and absurd things happening to me. But mostly it was just me on my couch, drinking coffee and trying to type as fast as my little fingers could carry me.
  • Most prized possession and story behind it (also, please try to refrain from using the word wedding ring, if it applies, because I understand. Something besides the wedding ring, perhaps?) I’m not much of a sentimental things kind of person. Though I guess what I do value are the things I’ve created that can’t be replaced, so I think I’ll say this oil painting I did of my son a few years ago. I’d attempted painting with acrylics before, but it had always gone badly. But then one summer I started experimenting with oils and suddenly voila, here was a medium I could work with since it takes so long to dry. I could really get the blending I wanted and suddenly my paintings started looking like what I meant them too—a shocking discovery since all my previous acrylic attempts had turned out horrifically. So the painting of my son was my second ever attempt with oils and it came out so much better than I expected. Here’s a link to a pic:
  • Which book of the series was the hardest to write, and which was the most fun? Oh Lord, Override was hands down the HARDEST BOOK IN THE UNVIERSE to write. Well, I should say Rewrite, since I wrote that sucker from scratch three times. I just could not figure out the characters for the longest time and the plot kept changing and gah, it was a HUGE mess for a very long time. And then, ironically, it got the best reviews of the whole series! Easiest one to write was Shutdown. I’d just spent over a year fighting with Override, and suddenly it just clicked with Shutdown. I knew my characters backwards and forwards, I knew where I wanted to take them emotionally and plot-wise, and it was just a real pleasure to write.
  • Favorite character and why (besides Zoe. I find authors are unnaturally attached to the MCs they make)? Haha! Yes, we do get attached. My favorite character, and I know people hate him, which partially was the fun of writing him—is Max. I think I have a lot more sympathy for him than my readers do, lol. I really understood his struggle in the first book as a teenage boy suddenly being flooded with emotions (and desires) and how he went about acting on them ALL WRONG. And oh my gosh, writing him in book 2 was so much fun because of the sneaky things I was doing with his character. And in book 3, oh Max. Max, Max, Max. I just see so clearly how his path could have been totally different and how he could have turned out a good man. But alas, he’s suck with the choices he DID make, not what could have been.
  • I can’t help but ask. Can you talk in a southern/Texas drawl, or have you lost the accent? I was born in Georgia and moved to Texas when I was seven, but we lived in Central Texas just outside of Austin where some people had accents, but not insane ones. So I never got an accent! But I do still say ‘ya’ll.’ Which gets me funny looks now that I live in Minnesota ;)
  • Favorite drink, why, and where you get it (hopefully, it’s something exotic and more interesting sounding than coffee, but I can understand where it would come from)? Hmm, well, it is coffee, but only sort of. What I drink constantly is chicory coffee—it’s an herbal coffee made from chicory that does a really great impression of the real thing.
  • Three favorite authors? Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Colleen Hoover.
  • Was it harder to start the series or end it? Way harder to start. There’s so much world-building you have to do right up front and you’re still figuring out your characters. That part is exciting, introducing characters to each other for the first time and watching those sparks explode. I had a blast writing the love story in book one, but then you have vague ideas for what will happen in later books, but they just sit out in the distance as mountains you’ll have to climb one day. Whereas ending a series, you’ve already done the bulk of the work. You and your characters are super tight and after ALL the work of this series, you are finally getting to write the final chapters, and to let the characters all have their last say.
  • One question you wish you were asked, but never were, and its answer? Question: What are you weaknesses as a writer, the things you’re consciously working on? Answer: Creating a character’s voice is friggin’ HARD for me. Some authors talk about how these characters will come to them already fully-formed in their head. I’m in awe of those kinds of authors. Because then there’s writers like me, who struggle the most with voice and how to make the character sympathetic and believable and well rounded. It can take me an embarrassing amount of pages to figure out WHO my protagonist is and what makes them tick. I’ve written entire first drafts without figuring it out, and it’s only in the editing process, I’m like, ohhhhh, that’s who they are, and that’s what they want, their driving motivation. But it takes me a lot of drafts and wasted pages, so I’m always trying to figure out ways to do it better.
 (I know. That was awesome, wasn't it?)

Heather Anastasiu
Heather Anastasiu grew up in Texas and recently moved to Minneapolis with her family. When she's not busy getting lost exploring the new city, she spends most days writing at a café or daydreaming about getting a new tattoo.


*I was actually scheduled to do a guest post, but a huge blunder on my behalf ended up with us deciding to do an interview instead (The Blunder consists of me thinking I have a really good memory, messing things up, messing them up more as I try to fix them, and somehow ending up with some awesomesauce. Also, I will blame the fingers for The Blunder. More about the fingers tomorrow.). Although, if you zoom out the page a little bit, and back up, so that you're seeing the interview questions on the screen from enough distance that they seem blurry, you can imagine this was a guest post. Or, you can just squint. I mean, it is pretty long. Heather called it "the abyss, aka the interview". I couldn't agree more.