Five words that would describe you?
Stubborn, loyal, honest, illogical, obsessive.
In the world of Dualed, everyone has to eliminate their Alt before their twentieth birthday. That's such an original idea! How did you come up with it?
The Alt part was the result of my son asking me one day, how could we be sure we all didn’t have an other “us” out there, and we just didn’t know it? The twentieth birthday idea was actually something that came out of revisions. Originally, Dualed was written so that an assignment could go active at any point in an Alt’s lifetime. But my incredibly awesome editor asked me to think about how the tension of the world could be heightened even more by playing with that window of time, to really pinpoint that sense of do-or-die urgency.
This may be mentioned in the book, but I guess it doesn't hurt to ask: where does each person's Alt come from?
Without giving too much away, I’ll say labs and genetic tinkering.
What was your favorite part of writing Dualed?
I really enjoyed writing the action scenes. It was interesting to see how far I could push West, my MC, and still be comfortable with it myself. The hardest parts were the romantic scenes because I’m not a super romantic person. So it always took a bit for me to get into that mindset. But I’ve been told I pulled it off, so we’ll see how West and Chord do in the sequel.
Alts sound like very complex... 'beings'. Was it hard creating them, especially since they are actually sort of like evil 'shadows' of the real person?
Well, they really are. At least, that’s how everyone needs to see their own Alt in order to be okay killing them. They’re not supposed to feel guilty, or try to be friends, or find some other way out. They’re built so that if one isn’t eliminated within a certain time period, they are both destroyed—pretty good incentive for a person to kill or be killed. And it’s interesting if you consider how Alts are probably thinking the same thing about their Alts that they, in turn, are thinking about them. If each Alt is the other’s evil shadow, who’s really the stronger or weaker half? Who’s more deserving?
What other things do you do in your free time besides writing?
If I’m not writing, I’m probably revising or editing, outlining new ideas, thinking of blog posts, getting some reading done, or tackling interview questions (heh). I do like to mess around on Twitter because I can catch up fairly easily with others. And recently I caved in to Tumblr, though I don’t link to it on any of my sites, as it’s not author- or writer-related at all. It’s just something I can have fun with, my own personal collection of random, nonsensical stuff. But if you do find me on there, please say hi! And if I had a super long chunk of free time? A vacation away is always up for consideration.
If we were in the world of Dualed, what's your best advice to stay alive and defeat our Alts?
I’d definitely go for the quick attack, to move in as soon as your assignment goes active. Once your Alt’s on the loose and after you, you’re not only hunting, you’re also being hunted. Makes it twice as hard.
Lastly, apart from tons of action-packed scenes and swoon-worthy romance, what can readers expect from Dualed?
An MC that’s not absolute. She wavers, she’s got faults, she’s doing the best she can. I know that can be frustrating for some readers, but I think it’s honest. And as horrible as some of West’s decisions are, and their consequences, I really wanted her to do the deciding, rather than have things decided for her, or to simply happen to her.
Thank you, Megan!
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Dualed is totally on my wishlist right now! While we don't have any Dualed ARCs to give away, the lovely Elsie sent me some signed bookmarks to hand out to you guys while we wait anxiously for her debut novel to hit shelves. The contest is open internationally, so enter now! Want to know more about Dualed? Check it out below:
Dualed (Dualed #1)
Publication date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.
Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.
Elsie Chapman grew up in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, before graduating from the University of British Columbia with a BA in English literature. She lives in Vancouver with her husband and two children, where she writes to either movies on a loop or music turned up way too loud (and sometimes both at the same time). DUALED is her first novel.