Riffle Backstory: Q&A with Elsie Chapman, author of 'Dualed' and 'Divided'


Imagine knowing from birth that you are not unique. You have a twin, born to a completely different family, a completely different life. And before the two of you turn twenty, one of you will be dead. In the world of Dualed Everyone is a killer. You train your entire life to kill you genetic twin, to prove that you are worth a future. Would you be the one to survive? Elsie Chapman joins us today to talk about Dualed and the upcoming sequel Divided.

When was the moment you realized you wanted to be a writer? I think there were multiple moments when I was a kid when I seriously considered the possibility. Probably every time after I finished an awesome book, or when one of my teachers really liked something I wrote. But it wasn’t until I was older and the kids were more independent that I acted on it.

What is the strangest thing you've learned or done while researching for this book? How to badly maim someone without killing them, or why a pocket knife might be chosen over a switchblade depending on the situation. Usually it had something to do with a fight scene. I also had to look a bit into genetics.

What scene in your book was the most memorable to write? Memorable…I really enjoy writing action scenes, so I associate good memories with those. Some of the softer scenes between West and Chord were tough for me, though. I had to learn how to make them open up to each other.

If you could pick one of your secondary characters for a spin-off series, who would it be and why? Either Dire or Baer. They both have interesting side stories.

What is your favorite quote from your book? I don’t have a particular favorite, but I’ll share this one today:

The decision’s as fast as a breath, as fresh as a new bruise, and I’m only ten feet away with my hand already on the grip of my gun, drawing it out and up, my finger starting to squeeze the trigger with nothing in my sight except the vulnerability of his chest when—

What has been your favorite moment in your career so far? Seeing how happy my kids are whenever they spot my book in a store. And this past summer I did Word Vancouver, so it was cool that they could attend and see me do something other than sit in front of my laptop all day long.

BONUS 1: If you grew up in the world of Dualed, do you think you would be the one to survive? Nope, not at all. I’m a big chicken. I’m super uncoordinated and way too loud to be stealthy in any way.

BONUS 2: If you could pick a theme song for West, what would it be?

Run by Snow Patrol. I listened to that one a lot while I was writing Dualed. I love its atmosphere and how it’s both uplifting and sad.

Dualed is available now from Random House Kids, and Divided is due out later this year!