Hello friends! I know this is a little late and I apologize for that. But this Sunday I am brining you an interview from the author Debra Chapoton. I have had a wonderful experience with Debra. She was so helpful and quick to get to the questions I sent her. Also, her book, Exodia, was a fabulous book. You can find my review on Goodreads or Amazon and soon on The Reading Bud.
Without any more delay, here is a little bio about her, followed by the interview. At the end you can read an excerpt from Exodia.
Debra Chapoton has taught kids of all ages in her main career as a teacher. She has a BA in Spanish and a Master of Arts degree in Teaching English. She started writing in 2002 and was surprised to find out that the characters quickly take over the action and dialogue in the stories.
Her first YA novel, EDGE OF ESCAPE, was self-published and then discovered by Piper Verlag Publishing and translated into German. Stalking and obsession get a sympathetic twist in this story of physical and psychological survival.
Her second YA novel, SHELTERED, detours into a different genre as she writes about five teens who confront supernatural forces. Two boys and three girls all harbor secrets which make some of them susceptible to demon possession. Embracing all things supernatural might protect them, but are they ready for the consequences?
In A SOUL’S KISS a tragic accident leaves Jessica comatose, but her spirit escapes her body. Navigating a supernatural realm is tough, but being half dead has its advantages.
A dystopian series, The Exodia Ledgers, was released in June, 2015 with EXODIA and OUT OF EXODIA. Based loosely on the ancient story of Moses, this two book dystopian journey is an adventure full of symbolism, hidden codes, and thematic imagery that will appeal to readers of all ages. These high concept novels bridge the gap from young adult to new adult and mix genres including sci-fi, dystopian, magical realism, and speculative fiction.
Her latest release, THE GIRL IN THE TIME MACHINE, is a time travel novel with an unusual twist. Laken Mitchell has been bullied one time too many, but using a time machine to make her tormenters disappear means putting her own future—and her past—at perilous risk.
When she’s not writing Chapoton enjoys the quiet of the full log home she designed and built with her husband. They live in the middle of 62 acres of beautiful woods in northern Michigan, USA.
- What inspired The Exodia Ledgers Series?
This is a really hard question. In fact, I answered all the rest first and came back to this one. Still don’t know how to answer. Pretty much ideas just float out of the sky and pierce my brain, painlessly, and then grow there like weeds until I pluck them, take a look, and decide to write or not. This one bloomed into two books. For me inspiration is a mystery—it just happens.
- I really enjoyed all the anagrams spread throughout the novel. What inspired the anagrams? Do those come easily to you or did it require a little prep?
Oh, yay, I know the answer to this one. The anagrams were inspired by the need to have some kind of special mental ability or quirk for the main character. Having the anagrams also be prophetic just kind of happened organically. It amazed me. Did it require a little prep? Well, yes and no. I have been playing with codes since I was maybe eight years old. That’s when I discovered cryptograms, secret alphabets, and anagrams. Nowadays when I’m forced to watch a sporting event I find myself mentally rearranging the letters on players’ uniforms to form new words, so though it comes easily, I had to use pencil and paper sometimes to figure out the longer anagrams.
- What kind of research did you have to do for Exodia?
I studied the life of Moses extensively since the plot is based on him. I also researched ancient Egypt and the Holy Land looking for ways it would compare to a post-apocalyptic world in terms of the struggle to survive without modern conveniences.
- When did you decide to become a writer?
About fourteen years ago a teacher friend of mine assigned his high school students to write a novel during the school year. I challenged myself to try to do the same. I had so much fun watching the characters take over my story that after I finished that first novel I wanted to continue creating more.
- Are you self-published? If so, what made you go that route as opposed to traditional publishing?
I self-published first, then I was published traditionally. I’ve been indie published as well and continue to self-pub.
- If you are self-published, if given the opportunity, would you go the traditional route? Why or why not?
I am open to all avenues. In fact, I’ve just begun to publish on Audible. It’s quite humbling to have a voice over artist or actor bring my stories to life.
- How do you set aside time to write? And do you have a daily word or page goal?
I try to write creatively every morning from about 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. or for as long as I’m inspired. My daily goal is a thousand words, which is about four pages. I might return to novel writing throughout the day or work on editing and rewriting or marketing.
- What did you find to be the hardest part about writing?
The hardest part comes after I’m all done writing and have to work on marketing and selling. I’d rather do rewrites and editing while standing on my head than market. I do, however, enjoy author interviews on wonderful blogs like yours [honestly speaking].
- How long did you work on the Exodia series?
Exodia and Out of Exodia took about two years to complete.
- What made you feel that you needed to write this series?
Because I usually write by the seat of my pants meaning I don’t know what’s going to happen next, I wanted to try my hand at writing from a plot outline where I would know what was going to happen next. I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that Moses murdered someone and then God used him anyway in one of the greatest stories of history. I don’t know why I felt I needed to write this series, but I enjoyed the challenge of reinventing the fourth most well-known character of all time.
- Is this series complete?
- What are you currently working on?
Since the Exodia series I self-pubbed a sci-fi thriller called The Girl in the Time Machine. Now I’m working on a three book series with an interplanetary theme.
- Out of all the novels you have written, what is your favorite so far?
That is like asking me which of my four kids I like best. I can’t answer, but I will say that the Exodia books and my latest book, The Girl in the Time Machine, are the most complex and appeal to the side of my personality that loves puzzles. But … A Soul’s Kiss has that supernatural romance that makes me smile and Edge of Escape, The Guardian’s Diary, and Sheltered satisfy my need for suspense. See what I mean? I can’t pick a favorite, though I’m really into the sci-fi adventure I’m working on now.
- How long did it take you write the first book of the series?
About a year.
- Did you have a professional editor polish up your novel? If so, how did you go about finding them?
I don’t remember. I’ve written over 20 novels and they’ve all been either group edited, contest edited, self-edited (I have a Master’s Degree in English), or professionally edited.
- What kind of books do you read?
I genre jump and have 200 books lined up on my Kindle. I like all sorts of things, but suspense is my favorite.
- Do you have a favorite book or series? Favorite author?
I’m always asked this and the answer changes daily. Today, because I just finished a suspenseful novel and need something light, I’ll pick Evanovich’s series with Stephanie Plum. Those are so much fun to read.
- In the big debate of e-book or traditional hard copy, which do you prefer?
I have three Kindles, need I say more?
- What is your favorite movie?
Back to Future
- Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
You’d think I’d say Moses, right? But I’d be too scared of him. I’d rather meet Jesus.
- Lastly, what advice would you give aspiring writers?
Read a lot. Take writing classes. Read writing books. Edit, edit, and re-edit.
- Anything else that you would like to add that I didn’t ask you about?
Nope, you covered a lot. Thanks so much for this interview.
- Where can we find you on social media?
Books by Debra Chapoton
I didn’t forget! Here is an Excerpt from Exodia.
Part I: 2093
Chapter 1 The Red Slum
From the first page of the Ledger:
The black voice said, “Live in fire, wild, souls howl here.”
There are two paths to every man’s life. Some choose hell …
IT’S AS IF I too am running for my life.
I sit transfixed by the scene outside the smudged window. A scrubby looking boy races away from a statehouse guardsman barely out of reach of the angry soldier’s whip. I clench my fists, press closer to the window, and let the pounding in my ears cover my idiot tutor’s droning voice:
“… after the Eurasian Nuclear War of 2049 when North America united into 90 states and declared trade independence from the rest of the world …”
The kid reaches the fence and scrambles up the chain links. The frayed end of the guard’s whip catches him on the ankle. Two small oranges spill from his pockets as he lurches to scurry over the top unfazed by the lashing or the broken barbs. He casts a casual, nonchalant glance over his shoulder and disappears out of sight.
My posture relaxes and my pulse returns to normal, but then my eyes fall to the words the tutor has scrawled on the wallboard: Eurasian Nuclear War. The letters jump around in my head and rearrange themselves into I aware casual runner. My heart skips a beat. I’ve been having more of these strange distractions lately. Words change in my head and I miss several minutes of time.
I slump down in my seat and glance at the three other boys forced to sit through this drivel with me. Not one is paying attention. We’ve heard it a thousand times.
“… post-apocalyptic immigration changed the culture of our new nation. Tattoos on the left elbow, red or blue, were given at birth to differentiate the two classes. Intermarriage is punishable by death and so is killing or breaking the bones of someone of the opposite tattoo.”
I fight the urge to cradle my left elbow even though it doesn’t matter since I’m wearing a long sleeved shirt. I can never draw attention to my fading tattoo. As grandson of the most powerful man in the nation, Executive President Bryer Battista, there should be no doubt that I am a Blue.
But I have a doubt. Something isn’t right. No one else’s royal blue tattoo has purpled like mine. For months now I’ve secretly dabbed blue dye on my skin, as much to hide the suspicion from myself as from anyone else, that maybe, just maybe, the tattoo I was given sixteen years ago was red. And maybe I, Dalton Battista, grandson of the cruelest tyrant ever, am not a true member of the elite ruling class. That maybe I belong to society’s religious outcasts–those poor hoarders, low class rejects, slave labor.
It takes a moment before the silence registers on my ears. The tutor is no longer speaking. Four sets of eyes are turned on me, watching, waiting.
“Excuse me? Could you repeat the question?”
“Certainly,” the tutor smirks. “What is the name of the resistance leader who tried to claim all of Exodia for the Reds?”
“Um,” I clear my throat. I love history actually. Half my life I was raised by a Red nanny whose tales of Ronel captivated me. “Ronel, David Ronel, he, um …” I run a hand through my hair, long by current standards, and simply stop talking. My fear of public speaking muzzles me even in this small group.
And now my mind swirls around the fact that this morning I ran out of blue dye.
* * *
Thank you so much Debra for allowing me to pick your brain. It was a joy reading your book and I hope to read some of your other works here soon.
Have you read any of Debra’s books? Do you plan on reading any?