Thursday, August 23, 2012

Author Interview: Elsie Chapman previews Dualed

For my spotlight on upcoming dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction series, I interview authors with novels coming out in the genre in 2012/13. These are exclusive first looks at exciting new works. Enjoy!

Today I have Elsie Chapman on the blog to talk about her debut novel DUALED which comes out from Random House on February 26, 2013. I have actually already read this one (spoiler: it's fantastic!) and Michelle and I will be discussing it on the blog tomorrow.

Here's the summary:

DUALED is a dystopian YA featuring West Grayer, a fifteen year old assassin who lives in a gated city where everyone has a double, a virtual twin, an Alternate. In this oasis of safety from the wars without, and with limited space and even less resources, only one Alt is allowed to survive. When it’s time to kill her own Alt before her Alt kills her, West has to face the hardest Assignment of all–herself.

The cover:

And the interview:

Why do you think people are drawn to "dark" stories?

It’s fun to dive into new worlds. And ones with dark themes will often make us sit back and really examine what makes up our own. I also think readers love to follow a character’s arc of growth throughout a book—how they learn to deal, overcome problems, mature. Going along for the ride makes their accomplishments ours, too.

If DUALED had a theme song, what would it be and why?

Like many writers, I really think music helps nail down that perfect mood. And it almost gets woven in, becoming a part of the book itself. While I was writing DUALED I listened to a lot of Arcade Fire, Eminem, Coldplay, The Killers, KOL. But if I have to pick one song that always reminds me of West and Chord, it would be Snow Patrol’s Run. The lyrics are beautiful, and the music just creates this great atmosphere, rainy and desperate and hopeful all at the same time.

What fictional character from another book would your main character chose as his/her best friend and why?

The Millenium series’ Lisbeth Salander. I can see her being this really unique big sister or mentor figure for West.

What are your top 5 Dystopian lit recs and why?

Battle Royale—Koushun Takame
Really disturbing, really violent. High school students left on an island to fight each other until only one survivor remains. If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games or Lord of the Flies and don’t mind a hefty dose of gore, you’ll probably love this.

Never Let Me Go—Kazuo Ishiguro
Dystopia mixed with science fiction. The writing is so lyrical, the plot nearly peaceful, that you don’t feel the full impact of the story until after you’re done reading. Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy stuck with me days afterward.

Twentieth Century Boys—Naoki Urasawa
A group of friends fight against a society that’s unfolding in exactly the same way as the events they’d made up as kids. A manga full of intricate plot twists and jumping timelines, it’ll make your head hurt and keep you reading way past your bedtime.

Watership Down—Richard Adams
With dystopian elements, this is one of my favourite books ever, ever, ever. A bunny world that’s just as rich, complicated, and messy as our own. Fiver, Bigwig, and Hazel are simply fantastic characters, fur and all.

The Road—Cormac McCarthy
I’m cheating because this is post-apocalyptic and not dystopian. But the combination of McCarthy’s unique style of writing and the sheer bleakness of the setting makes for a chilling read.

What's on the top of your to-do list before the world ends?

If we only have until December of 2012? Somehow get through my massive TBR list. Go back to Japan for a vacation with my husband and two kids and climb Mt. Fuji. Visit New York, get tickets for the Jimmy Fallon show, find the best black and white cookie in the city.

How does your novel stand out from others in the genre?

There’s no huge rebellion in DUALED. Rather, West’s biggest challenge is herself, when her own worst fears—whatever haunts her and keeps her from moving on—are brought to life in the form of her Alt. She has to kill this other version of herself if she wants to stay alive. And because life outside the city’s gates is even more dangerous, West’s world is this strange and complex dystopia-within-a-utopia-within-a-dystopia sort of place.

Thanks Elsie!



Amy Parker said...

Great interview, Elsie! Can't wait for this book.

Emma Pass said...

Elsie!!! Have I told you recently that I can't wait to read DUALED? Because I can't. That is all.

Christina said...

I love all of those bands you've been listening to! Run is a gorgeous song.

Also, yay to seeing manga on your list of favorite dystopias!