October 24, 2012

The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular Day Three: Marta Acosta, author of Dark Companion

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.
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?
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?

Giveaway
Marta and her publisher have generously donated one copy of Dark Companion for giveaway! Enter to win after the page break!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

38 comments:

  1. The one thing that scares me the most are Haunted Houses they put up for Halloween. I love going to them but I am always in the middle of the group. They freak me out. Thanks for this great giveaway!
    -Maritza R

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  2. Spiders!! THey're so gross:) But I know they eat up harmful things, so at least there's that:)

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  3. i hate it when children in horror films are used - they are the most scariest.

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  4. This book looks great! What scares me the most? Any noise in the night. Any hidden thing I can't see, but I know is waiting...lurking...

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  5. The dark... and zombies. They're SCARY

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  6. Hey, Benji! I love your Halloween-theme banner!

    -Mara80, when I was about six or seven, I got trapped in a house of mirrors and I broke down sobbing until someone led me out. It was awful.
    - Susan, heights don't bother me when I'm inside looking down. I'm not keen at standing on the edge of a precipice.
    -Christina, I hated spiders until I gardened and then I got to appreciate them. I still don't like the little bitey ones or the big-bodied poisonous ones, but I don't mind the typical garden spiders.
    -Yto, I can't even watch commercials with those freaky kids in horror movies.
    -Emilee, the scariest noises in the night for me are creaks...because that's what you hear just before a quake rolls in and I've dealt with those. We have our earthquake supply kids ready and I sleep with shoes and a flashlight by my bed.
    -Fara, I don't think the dark is scary -- I think the things hiding in the dark are scary!

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  7. The thing that scares me the most is heights. Seriously, just scary!

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  8. Insanity scares me the most, it's probably an odd answer but when I was young my greatest, most irrational fear was that I end up in a mental institution. It just always stuck with me. In terms of physical things, it'd be cockroaches. I'd run so fast from the critters leaving a smoke trail behind. :P Thank you. :)

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  9. I'm scared of strange noises in the night.

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  10. Probably diseases. LOL eclairre(at)ymail(dot)com

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  11. Beeing in the sea(somewhere deep) at night.
    Thank you for the giveaway :)

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  12. Caves. I'm majorly claustrophobic lol
    Also, clowns. And dolls. God, I'm such a wuss! ;P
    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

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  13. Any imaginary animal that doesn't EVEN exist( except in books) seem to haunt me whenever I go outside. That is one downside to reading books...to imagine scary creatures and be frightened for ABSOLUTELY NO reason at all.

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  14. Spiders...I'm not really sure-these are the times when you need a fear landscape!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  15. What scares me the most, is losing someone I love. Also, clowns and spiders.

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  16. Clowns are scary to me. I felt that way even before Stephen King's IT.

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  17. Bugs. Gack! I just got a huge shiver up my back just typing that!

    jochibi AT yahoo DOT com

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  18. I'm SO scared of sharks! Especially Megalodons...

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  19. Cockroaches! Ew~ I dunno why but those super big ones you see in the south creep me out more than they should!

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  20. Hi, everyone!

    -Alicia and Tia, fear of heights is really common. I don't like standing on the edge of cliff when it's really windy.
    -Isa, good answer! I worry about senility.
    -Mary, I don't like the sound of something scurrying in the walls, but I'm used to raccoons, possums, and (ew) skunks climbing on my outside pergola at night.
    -Ecclaire, one more reason to compulsively wash our hands!
    -Lilian, Starry, Holly, I'm only scared of the big bitey ones, not daddy-long-legs.
    -Kristia, now you've given me a new thing to fear!
    -BN, I worry about rattlers when I visit my friend's ranch.
    -MAD Mary, Dolls freak me out.
    -KiKi, that's why I can't read scary books -- they're always too real to me.
    -LadyVamp, my sister-in-law told me about going to a ventriloquist dummy museum -- agh!
    -Jo, I got over most bugs because I garden and they're part of a healthy garden.
    -Cassi, a shark just bit someone off the coast here recently.
    -Misha, we don't seem to have cockroaches in our microclimate -- thank heavens! I hate weavils, the ones we call pincher bugs.


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  21. For me being trapped in an airplane that can't land

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  22. The drug addicts in my neighborhood!

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  23. Being buried alive..... seriously, creeps me out.. I was little and freaked out in a cave once, that was enough :)

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  24. Being eaten alive. I love zombies, but the concept of anything (including bugs, a bacteria, or people) eating me while I'm still alive is the scariest thing ever for me.

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  25. Small, squiggly creatures scare me the most! Things like snakes and salamanders. Even the tiniest ones have me running away screaming.

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  26. Small,dark spaces scare me!
    sqwalker2@gmail.com

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  28. Things that scare me most are spiders. Thanks for the giveaway!!

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Thank you for the comment, I love and appreciate each and every one! As of March 2012, The Non Reluctant Reader is an awards-free zone. I'm honored to be considered, but do not currently have the time to pass the award on. Comments are the best award I can receive though! If the comment requires a reply, please be sure to check back for one. If it is a feature/meme leave a link to your post and I will stop by and comment if I get the chance!

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