Hey everybody! It's Annabelle here. Have you guys missed me? I've missed you all a lot. Well, I promised I'd get back into blogging soon, and I think the AUTHOR ARE ROCKSTARS tour is the perfect way for me to get back on schedule. I've missed all of this so much, and I'm so happy to be back in business! I hope you will all stay with me and support me for my second bout of blogging, fangirling, and sharing random facts about my life that 99% of you probably don't care about but are nice enough to tolerate anyway.
So, as promised, here's today's post. I'm featuring author Elsie Chapman, who in addition to being the author of one of my favorite books, DUALED, is someone I am lucky enough to number in my close friends. (I'm super looking forward to DIVIDED. I want to read it, like, now.) I love the world she created, the entire vast setting, and the spectacular writing, and I love even more the concept of strikers. Basically, I love everything. She's not only a fabulous writer and creator of fabulous characters (including the badass West and sexy, protective Chord) but she's always there with advice and encouragement. I'm not kidding. She's helped me through more than one hard place and that, to me, is only one of the reasons why she is so awesome. Also, she has introduced me to OOR, which is like one of my favorite things ever now. I'm so not even kidding. (And have you SEEN her tumblr? Everything she posts is perfect, I swear.) I could probably make an entire list, but by the end of it you'd all probably be like oh my god why did Annabelle have to start blogging again she never shuts up.
But anyway! Elsie wrote a guest post to put here today, and so I am going to put that here! Hopefully y'all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed coming up with the topic, and reading it myself.
"Could you tell us about the process you work through to create your characters?" ~Annabelle
I like to work from the outside in, from what I think of as “fact” questions to “feel” questions. At first glance, “fact” questions won’t seem to be much more than surface questions, just yes-and-nos and fill-in-the-blanks. And they can be. But you also take them as far you want, and in the end, even the most straightforward of questions can be shown to have an affect on a character’s personality. That’s how “fact” questions will often create “feel” questions, which then help shape a character.
How old are my characters? What do they look like? Do they go to school, work, etc? Someone’s age is just a number, yes. But it also affects voice—a middle grader won’t sound like a teenager. If someone’s spent their entire childhood traveling the world, their perspective of what’s normal is likely to be different than the person who's never left his or her hometown. How someone looks can skew someone’s personality—how they think, their self-esteem. If they can’t go to school because they have to work, what happened to make that so? Is the character resentful of this? Relieved?
Do my characters have families? I think family dynamics are huge for shaping a character, for better or worse. How do they interact with their parents or siblings? Is that interaction related to some kind of history? A dark, secretive history will affect a character very differently than an open, acknowledged one. And if they don’t have families, how did it end up that way? What could have happened to my characters that they are left alone, and how would this affect their outlook on the future?
Not everything that has ever happened to a character will make it into a book, of course. But authors gets to know their characters by asking such questions, and characters are what drive a book in terms of setting, voice, growth arc, etc. The more invested authors are in their characters, the more fleshed out they’ll be, and readers will want to get to know them, too.
Thank you so much Mindy, Rachel, and Jaime! And thank you so much, Annabelle, for being my host on the 20th!
So now, here is the info and lovely stuff about the first of the two books in this dynamic dystopian duology. (I love alliteration.)
Dualed (Dualed, #1)
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
In the city of Kersh, everyone must eliminate their genetic Alternate twin, raised by another family, before their twentieth birthday. West Grayer, 15, has trained as a fighter, and has one month to hunt and kill her Alt. A tragic misstep shakes her confidence. Guilty, grieving, she feels unworthy, runs from her Alt and from love - both can destroy her.
I grew up in Prince George, BC, before graduating from the University of British Columbia with a BA in English Literature. I currently live in Vancouver with my husband and two kids, where I write to either movies on a loop or music turned up way too loud (and sometimes both at the same time).
I’m repped by The Chudney Agency, and my debut novel, DUALED, will be published by Random House in February, 2013. A sequel, DIVIDED, will be published May 27th, 2014.
Find me on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
I’m also a contributing member of Friday the Thirteeners and The Lucky 13s group author blogs.
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In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I am required to state that no payments are received in return for reviews, promotions and endorsements. All books are received at no cost from publishers or purchased by myself. I receive no monetary compensations for anything that appears on Sparkles and Lightning.