Author of fantasy, historical fantasy, and paranormal fiction
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Blog Tour - Author Interview: Debra Chapoton (EDGE OF ESCAPE)
Today, I present an interview with Debra Chapoton as part of her blog tour for her YA novel, Edge of Escape.
1) Please tell us about your novel.
EDGE OF ESCAPE is a fast-paced novel that reveals the intersecting lives of two high school students, Eddie and Rebecca. Eddie is emotionally impaired yet very bright and good-looking, but because he is part of the invisible crowd, the special ed. kids, Rebecca is not really aware of him. He devises a plan of stalking and kidnapping in a pathetic attempt to win her over. Eddie has some issues that will make him repulsive and creepy to the reader and yet arouse some sympathy for him. Rebecca, though a strong female character, also has her weaknesses which are exposed as the story unfolds through multiple flashbacks and flash forwards.
2) What was your inspiration for this novel?
I was inspired by Dean Koontz’s novels which so often have bad things taking place in lonely deserted cabins in the middle of the woods. Wait, I live in a log home in the middle of the woods. Anyway, I few years ago there was a boy in one of my classes who was tall, handsome and smart, but cried when he couldn’t understand how to conjugate Spanish verbs. He sat with the special ed. kids at lunch and I never saw him talk to anyone. I started imagining what he would do if he liked one of the popular girls who wouldn’t give him the time of day. What if he drugged her and drove her to a woods like mine and devised a number of traps she had to escape from . . . what if he pretended to be her rescuer . . . what if she started to like him . . .
3) What sort of difficulties, if any, did writing a YA novel present?
The biggest difficulty is getting the characters to do and say what I want. They seem to have minds of their own. I will plan out a scene as I walk back and forth down my half-mile long driveway, chipmunks, deer and raccoons following behind, and then when I get back to the computer to write it down the characters change it all up. They invent their own dialogues or bring a knife in their pocket or leave a clue where I wasn’t expecting one. It has gotten so that every day I try to stop writing at a cliff-hanging point just to see how they’ll get themselves out of the corners I write them into. It’s kind of fun.
4) Stalking is a rather dark topic. Given some of the recent controversy over dark themes in YA, have you worried at all about negative reaction to some elements of your book?
I haven’t heard of any negative reaction to the stalking part probably because Eddie is a pathetic but understandable character. His part in the tragic death of his father and the way his mother mistreats him mold his personality and are factors in his emotional damage. The message hidden beneath the layers of plot is one of understanding, acceptance and forgiveness.
5) Are there any authors who have influenced you?
Every single author I have ever read has influenced me in some way. I learn from each of them and appreciate different styles, plot devices, character building techniques and so on. I have too many favorites to list them, but I will give a recommendation that every romantic girl should read Robin Hardy.
6) Tell us a little about your writing process.
I like to write about 1000 words a day, 5 days a week. First I proofread the previous 2 days’ worth and edit like crazy then I go for a long walk and think about what the next scene should be. It may take one or two hours for that scene to take form when I get back to the computer because those darn characters will go off in other directions. More proofing follows and then it’s lunch time.
7) If you had one piece of advice for an aspiring author, what would it be?
Don’t ask family and friends to read your work and expect to get honest opinions or advice. Seek out a writers’ group or post excerpts on forums that critique and review.