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28 April 2010 @ 09:57 am
Leah Cypess is the author of Mistwood, a YA fantasy novel released by Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins) on April 27, 2010.

Everyone tells Isabel that she is the Shifter – the ancient shape-shifting creature who has protected the kings of Samorna for centuries. They need her to be the Shifter. Prince Rokan risked everything when he rode into the Mistwood to summon her to his side; Ven, the magician's apprentice, has devoted his life to studying her legend; and even Princess Clarisse, who fears and hates her, depends on Isabel's powers to further her own plans.

But Isabel doesn't feel like the Shifter. She feels like a lonely human girl, beset by flashes of memory that do more to confuse than to help her. If she is the Shifter, why can't she change her shape? Why doesn't she remember what made her flee the castle so many years ago? As she is drawn deeper into a web of magic and assassination, Isabel will have no choice but to look for answers. But her search will lead her to the one question the Shifter hasn't faced in a thousand years: where does she come from, and what does she really want?



1.  Mindi Scott:  At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up?  And at age eighteen?  And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?

Leah Cypess:  Writer. Writer. Writer. I was nothing if not consistent.  At age eight, I was devastated when I saw a tv special about a seven-year-old whose peace poem was sent to Russia, because it meant I wouldn’t get to be the youngest published author ever.  At age eighteen, I was torn about my decision to major in science journalism, because I was afraid another writing-type career would interfere with my really important writing, which was about shapeshifters and ghosts and stuff like that.  And at age twenty-eight, I had just left my job at a large law firm so I could try writing full time.

2.  MS:  Which Breakfast-Club-style label would have best fit your teenage self? 

LC:  Probably the Loner Who Spends All of Math Class Writing Stories. Wait, should that be capitalized?  (Although I ended up finding other loners to hang out with, which kind of killed the whole “loner” buzz.)

3.  MS:  What are some of your superstitions and/or phobias?

LC:  I don’t think I’m particularly superstitious, but my biggest phobia is flying.  I have to overcome it every single time I get on a plane.  It’s a shame, because one of my biggest hobbies is traveling.


4.  MS:  Without giving away too much from your book, which character or scene are you the most pleased about having created, and why?

LC:  I think I’m most pleased about the scene where Isabel realizes the truth about the central mystery of the book.  I worked really hard to make it both surprising and in-retrospect-obvious, and my editor told me that when she read it, she actually gasped out loud.

5.  MS:  Was there any certain music that inspired you while you were writing this book, or is there a song that could serve as your protagonist’s theme song?

LC:  I wrote this book over the course of so many years that I went through about a dozen “favorite” songs while writing it.  But if I had to pick a theme song, it would have to be Jennifer Paige’s “Vapor,” mostly for the line: “I want to be vapor and disappear, sometimes.”  (It’s also a good song!)

6.  MS:  What’s up next for you as a writer?

LC:  Well, I have a two-book deal with Greenwillow, and the second is going to be a “companion book” to Mistwood.  I also have more books planned in that world, and a couple of contemporary fantasies in the works as well.

7.  MS:  And now, the most important question of all:  Beatles or Elvis?  Please support your answer.  ;-)

LC:  Will you still post this interview if I say, “Who?”  Okay, not seriously, but I’ve never spent much time listening to either. (Ducks.)

8.  MS:  Okay, your turn.  Do you have a question you’d like me to ask my Magic 8-Ball on your behalf?  (I’m telling you, this thing is scarily accurate!  Well, except for when it’s lying.)

LC:  Ha, I know how this works!  If you’re lying, what would you tell me if I asked you if you were lying?  (Oh, wait, that only works when there are two men on an island and one of them always lies and one of them always tells the truth...  oh, well, that was a wasted opportunity.)


MS:  Oh, man.  I’m not sure what to believe now.  :-D  Thank you so much, Leah!

To learn more about Leah Cypess and MISTWOOD, visit www.leahcypess.com