10 Questions with…Author Elsie Chapman

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Today at A.T.W.N., I’m excited to have the author of Dualed, and it’s upcoming sequel Divided, Elsie Chapman here for “10 Questions with…”. Recently I chatted with Elsie about the “Dualed” duology, music, writing, and her “healthy obsession” for the Japanese Rock Band, One Ok Rock.jay

Welcome to A.T.W.N., Elsie. For those not familiar with your “Dualed” duology, tell us a little bit about Kersh, the city your books are based in.

Photo Credit: Michael Meskin

Photo Credit: Michael Meskin

Thank you for having me, Jay! Dualed and Divided are both based in Kersh, a city of safety barricaded from the constant war that is happening outside in the Surround. In Kersh, every citizen is born with an Alternate version of themselves; because of limited resources inside the city, as well as trying to maintain a society of nothing but the strongest soldiers, only one is permitted to survive to adulthood. Each person has to face and defeat their Alt before they turn twenty.

Now at the center of “Dualed”, and it’s upcoming sequel “Divided”, is your MC, West Grayer. Tell us a little bit about her.

I wanted her to be strong and capable, but also real. She’s a fifteen year old kid going through the typical ups and downs of having to be a teen, but in a harsh world where the matter of life and death is very front and centre. She’s also gone to extremes to make sure she survives—at what point does she start to feel less human and more a murderer?

 In “Dualed” and “Divided”, everyone has a genetic Alternate, which is a twin that was raised by another family. But there’s no chance of an emotional reunion considering they have to kill their Alt before the age of twenty, that’s if they want to survive. If you don’t mind sharing, where did the idea for the Alts come from?

My son asked me a question one day that sparked the idea. He wanted to know if it was possible for everyone to have a twin out there and just not know it.

Sticking with “Divided”, there are a lot of readers out there dying to find out what you have in store for West. Is there anything you can share with our readers to hold them off until May 27th?

That Kersh has its secrets, too. And there’s more Chord. His relationship with West gets deeper.

Finding time to write often comes down to giving something up, so you have time to create. What did you have to give up to find your time to write?

 Actually, it was a bit of the opposite for me. I was a stay at home mom before I started writing. Once the kids were old enough that I didn’t have to watch them so much anymore, I got antsy. So I decided to start writing.

It goes without saying that music plays a major role within the writing routines of all of us here at A.T.W.N. When you were writing “Divided”, what role did music have for you?

Music is also really vital for me when it comes to writing, Jay. It helps create the mood I need to write a specific scene, or it just lets me zone out and stay in a certain state of mind if the writing is going well. It’s why most of the time I can put a song on repeat for days. If it’s right, I milk it for as long as I can.

I once ran into Susan Sarandon at a theatre in Vancouver. She sat in front of me with Tim Robbins. I didn’t say a word, well other than thanking Tim for holding the door to the bathroom. Is there a musician, or actor/actress, that you ran into that you wish you could have sparked up a conversation with, and maybe even had a drink with?

ELSIEMy favourite band is a Japanese rock band called ONE OK ROCK, and my sister and I went to London to see them play this past fall. We saw a few of the members outside the venue, and the language barrier made it tough to exchange more than hello and thanks. But like meeting anyone whom you admire for their work ethic, it would have been really cool to ask them more in-depth questions about their art and their creative processes. And, you know, not have them think you’re crazy or anything.

West Grayer is a stubborn, but loyal main character throughout “Dualed”. Looking back on her journey now through both books, is there a song that best represents her?

One of the songs that I listened to a lot while writing Dualed was Run from Snow Patrol, and it still makes me think of that particular time whenever I hear it. It’s both a sad and hopeful song, and I think it stands for those parts of West. She struggles a lot with her own decisions.

 Having been “inside” your MC West’s head for two books now, what would you find on her iPod if she had one in Kersh?

Snow Patrol for when she’s feeling angsty, Eminem for when she’s a bit pissed off, maybe some Arcade Fire and Killers to lighten it up. She doesn’t seem like a pop person at all, though.

ELSIE2I read somewhere that you sometimes write to movies on in the background. What are a few of your go-to movies?

Right now, it’s World War Z or Moneyball. Sometimes I’ll do a day of Pacific Rim. Other staples are the Bourne movies, LOTR, Inception, 8 Mile, I Am Legend, Lost in Translation. Like music, I put movies on repeat, too. It drives my family nuts. I’m waiting to pick up Captain Phillips because that movie was amazing and I know it’ll work on a loop for writing.

We always like to ask… Who was the first band/singer that you saw in concert? (NOTE: Not the one your parents dragged you to. 😉 )

It wasn’t my first concert, but seeing Pearl Jam in concert when I was a teen was pretty significant and awesome.

One Book…One Band…

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love ONE OK ROCK. I wrote and edited much of Divided while listening to their albums. For the one book…well, I always end up recommending different ones depending on what I’ve just read or is on my mind at the moment. Right now, I’m recommending everyone go read Decoded by Jay-Z. It’s just a really interesting and intelligent read.

ECThanks to Elsie for stopping by All The Write Notes. DIVIDED is out May 27th, 2014 with Random House Books and can be pre-ordered here. Don’t forget to add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads here.  If you’d like to connect socially with Elsie, you can follow her on Tumblr, or on Twitter.

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