Welcome to the third day of The Non Reluctant Reader Paranormal Spooktacular! Today I'm pleased to welcome Marta Acosta, author of the Gothic YA, Dark Companion. She's also the author of a bunch of vampire adult novels! First Marta Acosta will give us an awesome guest post then there will be a giveaway for a copy of Dark Companion!
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.
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?
Marta Acosta's Fears
Hi, Benji, and thanks so much for inviting me to NRR’s Spooktacular paranormal celebration! I like to put my own spin on paranormal creatures – there’s always a scientific explanation for what these creatures are. No, I’m not a scientist, but I pester a friend who is a doctor. I ask him, “What scientific principle could be used to explain why someone would want to drink blood?” And he tells me some really smart-sounding medical stuff that I write in my books.
I’m not scared of ghosts, but I am scared of ghostly things – like moths. Maybe it’s because they come out at night, they’re pale and weird, and they flutter so frenetically at lights. If I was writing a horror story, the main character would be trapped in a room with thousands of frantic moths. There would be scary shadows and the moths would fly blindly into her, and she’d be shrieking for help.
Okay, maybe eventually she’d figure out that the moths couldn’t hurt her, so that story might not be in Stephen King-territory. What about rats? Rats terrify me. I once watched a documentary about rats in the slums of New York. The movie showed people who talked about the rats coming out at night and biting their faces. It was one of the top three worst movie dates I’ve ever been on, which is a cautionary tale about dating angsty artists. Anyway, I put scary rats in my Casa Dracula series featuring Milagro de Los Santos; in Haunted Honeymoon, book 4, her fiancé says to her, “What is it about you and rats?” Rats are terrifying, that’s what!
As someone who grew up in the suburbs, another thing that frightens me is the woods at night. They’re dark even in the daytime, and your view is obstructed by trees and bushes that are shifting and moving in the wind. Do you remember the Halloween scene in To Kill a Mockingbird when Scout and Gem are cutting through the woods and they realize that they’re being followed? Scout’s clumsy pumpkin costume slows her down and she can’t run fast enough as the danger gets closer. It still gives me shivers!
When I was thinking of a setting for my young adult gothic novel, I decided to use an isolated grove of ancient birches, because birch trees sway and move so much in the wind, and their black and white bark can look like faces.
Jane Williams, who was raised in crowded foster homes, is offered a full-scholarship to exclusive Birch Grove Academy for Girls, and even given her own place to live – the former groundskeeper’s cottage amongst the trees. It seems too good to be true. The longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more she begins to wonder about another orphan girl who suddenly left the school and why the headmistress and her handsome sons pay so much attention to her. When Jane hears strange noises at she begins to wonder if the sound is only the trees, or is someone watching her?
There are no rats or moths in Dark Companion, but I think the story has plenty of shivers as Jane figures out exactly why she was brought to Birch Grove and what she’s willing to do to stay.
So, as Halloween draws near, I have lots of advice to share with you: 1) Don’t tell people you’re afraid of moths or they’ll just make fun of you. 2) Don’t let angsty artist types chose the movie on a date. 3) Don’t dress as a pumpkin and take a shortcut through the woods, unless you want to tempt a maniac.
So what scares the heck out of you?
Marta and her publisher have generously donated one copy of Dark Companion for giveaway! Enter to win after the page break!
a Rafflecopter giveaway