A fight to the death against yourself?! But which 'self' is the bad one? Killer premise, right?
Author Elsie Chapman's 'Dualed' has a mantra to her novel...'Be the one, be worthy'. This statement is what every Alt hears when they become active. Everyone who lives in the city of Kersh must prove their worthiness to society by killing their Alternate sometime between the age of 10 - 20 years old. They are given 31 days from their date of activation to eliminate the other person. If at the end of this time period both individuals are still alive, then both will self-destruct and neither will be considered worthy. Your Alt is your enemy from the moment that you are born. A genetically-created twin, who is raised by another family. You may look exactly the same but personalities, where you live, who brings you up, your friends…all different. The protagonist, West Grayer, is a fifteen year old girl, she has lost two siblings and both parents. Now that she is active…she is uncertain on whether or not she is the one worthy to live the life before her. Time is running out. She must die, kill or wait and self-destruct.
I was able to ask Elsie Chapman a few questions about the intense brutal world of 'Dualed' and how she creates.
How difficult is it to kill off protagonists?
Not that difficult, if it makes the book deeper and more interesting. It’s that addition by subtraction thing. Though I’m sure that as a series progresses and a character grows, it does become harder and harder for an author to make that decision.
How long did it take for you to write 'Dualed'?
I wrote the first draft in five weeks. Revisions took many more weeks after that. I’ve come to really appreciate having a solid outline on hand before diving in.
How would you describe your ‘writing’ education?
Nearly everything I know about writing comes from reading. Just reading as much as I can, especially when I was a kid. I read once that almost everything you’ll ever need to know about writing happens before you hit the age of fifteen. So whatever you’ve read, watched, or experienced up until then becomes this foundation you draw from again and again. I think it’s a really interesting perspective.
How would you describe your writing process? What are your writing habits like? How do you create?
I tend to write straight from beginning to end, moving from scene to scene in a very linear fashion. Lots of writers have the ability to jump around, working on different sections at different times, but that doesn’t work for me. If I run into a plot issue, instead of jumping ahead, I need to stop and think it out and finish it before moving on. It makes the revision process a bit painful. Also, music is a must.
What do you consider the elements of a good novel? A great one?
For me, a good novel is one that I don’t have to struggle to finish. If I need to put the book aside for a bit for whatever reason and I’m still thinking about a scene or a character, that’s a good novel. If it makes me feel enough of anything to keep me reading, that’s a good novel. A great novel is one I’ll read again.
How would you define the actual role that an Author is supposed to fill?
Well, as a reader, I really enjoy discovering authors and falling in love with their books and everything they’re able to convey with their words. It’s really does feel as though they are speaking directly to you, and somehow know exactly what you want and need to hear. But I don’t think this ability to connect is an author’s role—I think it’s more that an author holds the potential for a reader to make that connection.
Where can our readers find out more about you?
My website is http://elsiechapman.com, and while it’s always updated with any major book news, my active author blog is now on tumblr: http://elsiechapmanauthor.tumblr.com. I’m also on twitter: https://twitter.com/elsiechapman and facebook: http://facebook.com/ElsieChapmanAuthor
In a nutshell, Chapman’s writing is detailed and nuanced, and she is not afraid to put her characters in dark corners or let them make morally ambiguous choices. A few strings are left open at the end of the novel, making room for what is sure to be another gritty, dangerous sequel in ‘Divided’.
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