Thursday, June 13, 2013

Interview with Author Leigh Ann Kopans

I’m super excited (go ask Leigh Ann how excited I was) to have fellow superhero lover and debut author Leigh Ann Kopans on the blog!

Leigh Ann’s superhero YA ONE hit the shelves this Tuesday and you can get your copy here.

About ONE:

When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak.

It makes you a One.

Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover.

If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances.

Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other.

Merrin's mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub's internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed. Now it’s up to her to decide if it's more important to fly solo, or to save everything - and everyone - she loves.

(Taken from Amazon. Com)

What were your influences as a child? Did you watch the Justice League, Batman? Wonder Woman Saturday cartoons? Were you writing as a child?

YES! I grew up watching the X-men on Saturday morning cartoons, and I begged my dad to record them for me so I could watch them whenever. I remember especially loving Rogue, because she was the most angst-filled for sure. But I'm sure the idea of angsty teen mutants in general really stuck with me.

The thing with the old X-men cartoons, and the subsequent movies, and then ALL the Marvel superhero movies, actually, is that they were just as concerned with the inner and interpersonal conflict as they were with the superpowers themselves. I think those influences are pretty apparent in ONE.

Oh, and no! I never wrote as a child, just read - a lot. My first try at a novel was January 2011. :D

Next! :D

I love that about the X-Men! Total love of inner and outer conflicts.

What about your teen years? What influences did you have? What parts of you went into ONE and sixteen-year-old Merrin?

Hmm, that's an interesting question! I feel like I'm on the psychoanalyst's couch a little, LOL. Well, I'd say that I was always "the smart one -" very geeky in terms of reading all the time and loving school. I've never had more than a few close friends at a time, and wasn't part of the cool crowd but wasn't an outcast, either.  I think that like Merrin a lot of the time I felt like something was missing and I was just waiting to find it (though I think a lot of high schoolers feel like that at one time or another.)

I remember that angst! (Very strange. Human-like feelings in me? Weird.) So, what part of your adult life has led to ONE? A turning point? What lessons and experiences have led to your debut novel?

Well, ONE was the second novel I wrote. I think I'd had the idea in the back of my head since...well, since I was a kid. I was always very analytical and liked to pick things apart, and so of course with superpowers I was going to be obsessing over the mechanics of it all. But I hadn't had the experience to turn that into a fully fleshed out plot, I think, until I'd gone through a "training wheels" novel.

The first scene I wrote from One - the scene that's now chapter 8, a boy and a girl flying around a cornfield - had been haunting me for days. From there, I pieced together the rest of the story, and the characters.

In terms of the debut novel, I think that the toughest lesson and learning experience has been balancing the willingness and ability to learn enough to write a good novel with the confidence needed to actually publish it. It's a tough balance, one that I still struggle with daily.

I love how chapter 8 is The Scene That Started It All. I love those stories. So 8 is what started it all. What about music? Poetry? Book? Movie? What influences drove the feel/story you wanted to capture? Did those influences still work with the end result?

There are so, SO many songs about flying. Kravitz's "Fly Away" and Switchfoot's "Oh! Gravity" were huge influences for the feel of Merrin's character at the beginning of the book. I wrote to "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer on a loop to lend the magical, floaty feel to chapter 8, and "Meteor Shower" by Owl City colored a lot of the descriptions of Merrin and Elias together.

In terms of concept, though, it was every superhero comic and movie I ever loved. X-men, most of all, but Daredevil was big, and the Avengers, too. I loved to try to wrap my brain around the very real possibility of genetic mutations since I was a child - there's just so much we don't know. It turns out that genes can mutate to adapt in certain ways, and a brand-new scientific field called epigenetics is studying that. The concepts in ONE were based on some research I did there.

I was actually worried that the influences would be TOO obvious in the final result, but I'm thankful that I have a creative enough brain to have twisted and turned them around to fit my own concepts, characters, and story.

That’s so awesome. Is there anything else you want to add?

No, just that I really appreciate you asking me to come over today! It's been fun. And Happy Birthday! <3

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Add ONE on GoodReads here.
And totally follow Leigh Ann on Twitter.

And it’s never too late to send me a ONE poster! That cover’s my favorite this year!