Please welcome Elsie Chapman to the blog! DIVIDED, the sequel to DUALED, will be out out next week, and Elsie was kind enough to stop by and answer a few of my questions. Also, we’ve got a copy of Divided to give away to one lucky winner, so be sure to check out the giveaway details at the bottom of the post!
Elsie, will you give us an idea of what to expect from Divided, the 2nd book in your series?
Still lots of action, lots of twists, you learn more about Kersh and the Board. West is now dealing with the aftermath of outliving her Alt and the paths she took to achieve that. At the heart of it, both books are stories about personal survival. I really wanted to keep the story close to West, what’s going on in her head, and focus on the human elements of this dystopian world.
Why do you think readers will root for your heroine, West Greyer, and how do you think she’s grown since the first book, Dualed?
I think most readers can relate to feeling conflicted over past decisions. When we mess up, we want to know that we can move past that and are more than that. So West needs to come to terms with her own judgment calls, whether they were mistakes or not.
It’s been quite a whirlwind for you, with Dualed and Divided published in less than a year and a half! You have a BA in English Literature, but have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us a little more about yourself and your background?
It has definitely been a crazy couple of years. Well, I was a huge reader as a kid, so I’ve always liked the idea of writing. But I didn’t begin writing seriously until a few years ago. Coming out of university, I almost went into teaching and only decided at the last moment that it wasn’t for me.
What’s one of the first things you can remember writing?
Actually, I still have it. I was probably in grade 2 or 3. Handwritten on looseleaf paper and tied together through the holes with yarn. It was about two friends going camping. They buy hot dogs at the gas station. I didn’t flesh out the plot very well, though—no conflict or climax.
What do you enjoy most about writing, and reading, speculative fiction, and what have you enjoyed most about writing this series?
I like a book that won’t let me put it down. For whatever reason—the action, characters, plot. Escapism is fun and gets your mind going. I love movies for that same reason. For this series, I discovered I really do enjoy writing action scenes.
What made you decide to write a series for a younger audience?
It wasn’t an intentional decision, actually. I just started writing and YA was what came out.
What kind of research have you done for the books, and what is one of the most interesting things you’ve learned?
For these two books, I really did go online research (How deep you go depends on the topic, how heavily you are going to cover it, what kind of ramifications can you expect if you get it wrong, etc. For example, researching a culture vs different kind of swords. Both require research, but very different kinds. There’s a sensitivity issue.). Researching for writing purposes really is one of the strangest asides that come with this job. Learning about how badly you can hurt someone without them dying on you, blood loss, bullet trajectories, genetics… It’s weird to wake up in the morning and say, “Well, today I have to learn how to properly handle a knife.”
What are a few of your favorite writers or books, and who, or what do you think has influenced you the most in your writing?
I always say Stephen King was my biggest influence since I grew up on his books. I also used to read a lot of crime thrillers and romance—we didn’t have a lot of YA when I was teen. Though I remember reading Lois Duncan and Christopher Pike. And, of course, VC Andrews. I’m all over the place now in terms of authors and genres, especially when it depends on what imports I’m seeing at the bookstores. I’m probably reading more YA than ever before.
On a personal note… If someone were to come visit you in Tokyo for the first time, where would you take them?
Ooh, this is a hard one. There are A LOT of places to see, and it really depends on what that person is into because all the places are so different. Shibuya for the scramble crossing is probably a safe bet. Then Tower Records or Tsutaya to see how music stores should be done, belt sushi, Akihabara if they’re into anime or electronics, anmitsu or crepes for dessert… That’s all like a drop in the bucket.
What’s next for you?
Working on something new!
2.) Giveaway is for 1 copy of DIVIDED by Elsie Chapman to 1 winner
3.) Giveaway is open to all those with US mailing addresses (no PO boxes)
4.) You must enter on or before 6/23/14
5.) Book courtesy of Random House
6.) Please see my Giveaway Policy.
The hunter becomes the hunted. . . .
West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life.
The Board has other plans. They want her to kill one last time, and offer her a deal worth killing for. But when West recognizes her target as a ghost from her past, she realizes she’s in over her head. The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future.
How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything.