Monday, March 19, 2018

March Madness: Along the Indigo by Elsie Chapman

Today I'm SO excited to be sharing an interview with Elsie Chapman, whose newest book release is coming out on March 20th. :D

*****

Hi Elsie, thanks so much for joining me on The Fox’s Hideaway. For those unfamiliar with your newest novel, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Hi Holly, thanks for having me! Along the Indigo is about struggling teens, a small, sordid town full of lies and secrets, and the ways family can both love and hurt you. It sounds bleaker than it is, I promise! It’s set in the 80s, and both Marsden and Jude are mixed (she’s half Chinese and he’s half Black), and it’s a very different book than either of my first two (Dualed and Divided), both of which are dystopian/SF. I’m really proud of Along the Indigo, and I hope readers will enjoy it!

If you were to sort your main character, Marsden, into a Hogwarts house, which one would she be in? 
You know, it’s been so long since I read HP that I don’t know if I can remember the characteristics of each house well enough to say. I’d say probably…Gryffindor? Marsden’s got a good heart, but she’s not overly trusting, and she’s smart without being sly.

How about Jude? Who is he and how does he fit into Mars’ life?
Jude’s a huge complication for Marsden, and in her mind, he comes into her life at the worst possible time. But it’s never the easy things that bring about the greatest, most important changes, and I think that’s a good way to look at these two ending up being so pivotal to one another. (As for the HP part of the question, I think Jude falls somewhere in between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Maybe? Though I’m probably way off base, so if any HP fans end up reading Along the Indigo and want to share how they’d sort Marsden and Jude, please let me know!

I love hearing about the writing process, so what was one of your favorite parts about writing this particular story? Least favorite?
I really wanted to write a book that felt like something a reader would want to curl up with on a rainy day, something a bit longer, a bit slower-paced, with tons of mood and atmosphere. Recently I came across an article about the art of the slow read, and it reminded me how, as a teen, those were always the kinds of books I was most drawn to (and still am). As for my least favourite part of this book’s writing process, it was hard for me to lose Jude’s perspective (Along the Indigo was originally dual POV). But he’s still fully in the story, and I think focusing on Marsden’s perspective makes for a stronger book in the end!

You’ve also got a short story coming in the A Thousand Beginnings and Endings anthology (which I seriously can’t wait to read). Was it harder or easier to write than a full-length novel, or did you find that it was about the same? Also, can you tell us a little bit about your story? :D
I’m so glad you’re excited! I’m co-editing A Thousand Beginnings and Endings with Ellen Oh, and I do also have a story in it. It’s called “Bullet, Butterfly,” and it’s a retelling of the tragic Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers, which is widely known as the Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet. I put a futuristic spin on it that I hope readers will find cool!  
As for the process of writing it, I did find it easier than writing a full-length novel, if only for length alone (5k vs 90k). Which means less to revise, too, less to fix. But it can go the other way, as well—with less words to play with, it can frustrating to try to fit what you want, or to feel like you’re saying it most effectively.

Lastly, whether it’s writing it or reading it, what do you love about YA?
I still remember how hard it was being a teen, and really turning to books to kind of disappear into when I needed it. I love the idea of readers finding solace in books, especially at a time in their lives when there’s often a lot of uncertainty and questions. If even one teen reads my books and is made the happier for it, then I’ve done my job.

Thanks for taking part in the event and congrats on your newest release, Elsie! 😊
Thank you so much, Holly!!!