Featured Interview With Theresa Sopko
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
Originally from Pittsburgh, I did most of my growing up in Mesa, Arizona. I now live in Queen Creek with the family I nanny for. I don’t currently have any pets of my own, having had three birds in the recent past, but I live with two dogs and a cat.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I fell in love with books very early on in life. My mom used to read to me before bed almost every night, and I had several favorites. I moved on to the Junie B. Jones series and when Harry Potter hit, I was a goner. I’ve been devouring books ever since. I started writing young, too. I was the weirdo in school who looked forward to writing essays and socratic seminars based on assigned reading. In junior high, I wrote short stories and started a time travel novel entitled Werp that, at the time, I believed was literary gold. That story found its way into the trash years later when I found it buried under my bed. I experimented with poetry in high school, but it wasn’t until college that I began to write seriously and passionately.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I’m a lover of YA. I devour John Green, Sarah Dessen, Marie Rutkoski, Kiera Cass, and the like. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is always my answer to “What is your favorite book?”. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran are both books that affected me to my core. I’m also a huge sucker for dystopians. Obviously Harry Potter is a given; they were the beginning of my love affair with reading. The Great Gatsby is one of my all-time favorites, and I’ve got a quote from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath tattooed on my arm. All in all, I’m looking for books that make me cry-tears of devastation, hope, laughter-and books that stay with me for years to follow.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Bewilderments of the Eyes is a New Adult novel about a girl who is fighting depression and anxiety. It depicts the loss of self that results from mental illness, and the impact it has on your relationships, ambitions, and general quality of life. My main character, Quinn, is twenty years old and just wants to feel again. She wants to love where she lives and what she does. She wants to go out with friends and fall in love. She wants to throw herself into life with abandon. But how can she when her brain is telling her that there is no point?
I feel deeply about the importance of self care. Self care is often seen as selfish, self-indulgent, or egocentric where self neglect tends to be romanticized. There is no beauty in losing sleep, or not eating right, or the lack of motivation to get out of bed in the morning. There is nothing beautiful about your own brain turning against you. But mental illness doesn’t mean you’re a lost cause, it doesn’t mean there’s no hope. With Bewilderments of the Eyes, I hope to convey the various forms depression can take and increase awareness and understanding.
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