On the 10th, I posted about my blogaversary and the opportunities to win ARCs of GRAVITY by Melissa West and INBETWEEN by Tara Fuller, critiques, and a $20 Amazon gift card. I also promised interviews with some awesome YA authors, and today we have our second. Remember: Commenting on this post can get you entered for these prizes. Or if you prefer not to be entered but want to comment anyway, you can do that as well. Just let me know in the comment if that’s the case.
Meet our second guest, the talented Elsie Chapman, author of DUALED!
(Releases February 26th from Random House!)
Pre-Order @ Amazon
1. First off, thank you for agreeing to interview! Welcome! It’s great that you sold your book to such a major. What was that like? What was going through your mind when your agent called to say that your book sold?
It was a very surreal moment, John. I don’t think it really hit me until much later when I realized I would actually be seeing my book on a shelf. Even now it’s easy to feel like I’m just playing a role and acting out a script of what happens next.
2. Your cover is made of awesome. What kind of input did you have in the cover process? Is the cover like you imagined it would be?
I had no preconceived idea at ALL of what the cover might look like. My mind just couldn’t go there. But I’m so elated with it. I think it’s utterly perfect. I had some input in that they would run ideas by me and ask for my opinion, but the cover was very much all Random House art design, all Michael Heath the artist.
3. So I’m super pumped for DUALED as I’ve told you four billion times on Twitter, but it just looks so great. Can you tell us a little about it? How about one thing that isn’t in the blurb? Maybe even share the first line with us…?
John, you have been supportive right from the start, so thank you! DUALED is a book about a world where everyone has an Alternate self, but only one—the one worthy of being a soldier—is allowed to survive. It tells the story of West Grayer and her battle with her Alt. As for teasers, I can tell you that there is one line in the book that’s actually going to be the tagline on the back of the jacket. No blurb, just that one line.
4. If your main character ruled the world, what would she do first?
Well, setting aside the possibility of her being able to change her world and how it works, West would probably find some way to get the jump on her Alt. It might be boring, but she’s driven, at least?
5. Tell us about The Call. *rubs hands together*
I received an email from Steven saying he loved it and was offering rep. I tell you, seeing an email pop up in your inbox from an agent after you know he’s read the full is absolutely nerve-wracking. After I read it, I couldn’t even think straight for few minutes! I was so incredibly happy, but also nervous because it was no longer just about me anymore. It meant people committing to me and me not wanting to let them down. And I had to finally tell my family I’d been writing—until that point, I hadn’t told anyone.
6. Plotter or pantser?
I pantsed DUALED, but plotted the sequel, DIVIDED. Pantsing meant painful revisions because of plot holes and tangled character development, so with a detailed outline, I saved myself from some of that for the next book.
7. After you wrote DUALED did you always have a feeling it was good, or were you thinking to yourself “OMG OMG OMG. This sucks! No agent will ever represent this.” If the latter, how did you overcome this? Any tips?
There was definitely that swing from “this is pretty cool” to “this is utter shite” while I was querying. You’re no longer just trying to please yourself at that point. To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever fully overcome that sense of doubt. Going on submission was terrifying. Getting feedback from your editor is an eye opener. Now reviews are a constant source of angst. I think it’s just the nature of the beast, a constant struggle to forget all that and just write as best as you can.
8. What inspired DUALED? Was this your first completed novel? Did you always know it was going to be a trilogy?
I queried a paranormal that didn’t go anywhere, and that was my first completed MS. But I didn’t start writing seriously until that one, which was a couple of years ago. And DUALED initially sold as a standalone, so I’m really excited that my publisher saw the potential for more!
9. What was the most awkward/funny moment you’ve had with your agent or editor, whether during The Call or something else?
My editor and I had some pretty humourous emails about upping the steaminess factor with the love scenes. I understand the need for it, but at the same time it’s not a big thing in the book. But, yes, I’ve heard readers wanting more for DIVIDED. And it will be there.
10. So how about first draft horror stories? They can be bad. What was the dumbest line (you can paraphrase) or note you made in your first draft that made you slap your forehead in embarassment?
I can’t think of anything in particular. Not because I didn’t have dumb lines or silly scenarios (I’m sure I had both!), but because I haven’t looked at my first draft in a long time. It’s buried beneath mounds of revision notes.
11. Anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I’m so appreciative of all your enthusiasm for DUALED, John—thank you! I’m always so excited and anxious when readers tell me they’re looking forward to it. I hope you love it when you finally get your hands on it!