Please help me welcome my guest today, author Debra Chapoton. The first time I heard of Debra was when I attended an online book launch party on Facebook and I was lucky enough to win a copy of her 'A Soul's Kiss'. A short time later, I was privileged to become welcomed into a fantastic group of woman authors, of which Debra is one, when Creative Prose Publishing accepted my YA novel for publication. I feel privileged to have had the chance to get to know such an amazing author. And now you get the chance, too.
Stephanie: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Debra: I am a Christian, wife, mom, teacher, and avid game player. I love words, grammar, editing, writing and rewriting. I designed and built a full log home where I feel like I’m on perpetual vacation (You can see a slide show of it on my blog: http://debrachapoton.com ).
Stephanie: I've seen pictures of your lovely log home and am green with envy. I can just imagine your cozy writing space. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
Debra: I started writing in 2002 after a teaching colleague of mine challenged his eleventh grade students to write a novel during the school year. I thought if they could do it, so could I. I wrote every day during summer vacation and by fall I had completed the first book in a middle grade series (THE SECRET IN THE HIDDEN CAVE, currently free on Kindle). I was hooked on the excitement of what these imaginary characters were going to do next. Since then, I’ve written twenty novels, most of which are published.
Stephanie: Wow, twenty novels. That's a book and a half per year. It took me 5 years to write my first one. Where do you get your ideas?
Debra: I pull ideas out of thin air, just like everyone else. I suspect there’s an area in the brain, where dreams come from, which helps a lot. I get inspiration mostly from people I know. Former students are a wealth of novel ideas for me.
Stephanie: I love the world. So much inspiration. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
Debra: I usually write by the seat of my pants. I get an idea and sometimes I know the ending so I write that first, then I start at the beginning and spend months writing about five pages a day trying to find out what happens next. I’m always surprised. I usually rewrite the ending three or four times when I finally get back to it.
I have written with an outline as well, but that was for a two book re-telling of the story of Moses. I needed to keep the order of events straight even though I set the story in post-apocalyptic America, 2093. This futuristic sci-fi series will be out later this year so look for EXODIA and OUT OF EXODIA.
Stephanie: I am super intrigued. Can't wait for them to be out. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Debra: Whenever I’m asked this question I immediately think of Dean Koontz whose books terrified and intrigued me. So many of his settings include a log cabin in the forest. Kind of like where I live now. I get a lot of inspiration from dark nights, scary sounds, and the spooky woods, evidenced by my first and second young adult novels: EDGE OF ESCAPE and SHELTERED, one a psychological thriller and the other a paranormal haunting.
Stephanie: Dean Koontz is great. You know its a well written book, when you are terrified by it. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Debra: I started looking for an agent or a publisher just before the industry went digital. That meant printing out multiple copies of my precious manuscript and spending many dollars on mailers and postage. The prospect of self-publishing at no cost through Amazon appealed to my thrifty nature so I started uploading my kids’ series and my first YA novel, EDGE OF ESCAPE. By some miracle of discovery, an editor for a major German publisher contacted me about EDGE and wanted to include it as one of four premier novels in its newest imprint. The advance was substantial especially after converting euros to dollars and I loved the irony of me, a Spanish teacher, having my novel translated into German.
Stephanie: That is a fantastic accomplishment. I know several self-published authors and that is truly a dream for an indie author to have a publisher come to them and ask to publish your novel. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Debra: EXODIA will be out later this year. The following is quite possibly the back cover blurb:
Two generations after the Eurasian nuclear war American life is a strange mix of failing technologies, psychic predictions, and radiation induced abilities. By 2093 tattoos on the left elbow, blue or red, are mandatory to differentiate two classes, privileged and slave.
Sixteen year old Dalton Battista fears that his fading tattoo is a deadly omen. He is either the heir of the brutal Blue tyrant of Exodia or he is the Reds’ prophesied liberator. Shy, handsome, smart and in possession of powers he doesn’t yet realize, he escapes an order for his execution by fleeing the city with the help of Lydia who quickly captures his heart. But he cannot escape a destiny that will force him to accept a role in the life of another girl, one who is not tattooed.
Exodia is a dystopian novel of hidden identity, murder, slavery, prophecies, plagues, and a love triangle that pits the truth of ancient promises against duty, honor, and devotion.
Stephanie: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Debra: Um, my first kiss shows up in varying interpretations. Painful or embarrassing moments tend to get reenacted as well, but for the most part it’s all fiction.
Stephanie: Lol, you never can forget a first kiss, whether they are great or disgusting, weird or awkward. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
Debra: I thought I might like to take the characters in SHELTERED, a demonic paranormal tale, to another level. The ones that survived, that is. Mwa-ha-ha.
Stephanie: I getting a feeling there is a darker side to this pretty blonde. :-) Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Debra: Thank you for your support and keep those reviews coming. If you’ve only read one of my novels, please consider checking out another one. Here are some quick synopses of my young adult novels:
EDGE OF ESCAPE — Eddie is brilliant but emotionally impaired. He fixates on popular Rebecca, abducts her, and then tries to be her rescuer as she escapes his traps. Stalking gets a strangely sympathetic twist in this story of obsession and survival.
A SOUL’S KISS — When a tragic accident leaves Jessica comatose, her spirit escapes her body. Navigating a supernatural realm is tough, but being half dead has its advantages. Like experiencing romance on a whole new plane - literally.
SHELTERED —Paranormal meets psycho meets Goth in this story of demonic occurrences and budding love. One by one strange and mysterious events stretch five teens’ belief in the supernatural.
THE GUARDIAN’S DIARY —When 17 year old Jedidiah finally learns to accept his handicap, he opens his heart to a girl who pities him. But by doing so he risks losing the love of another girl, one who can mend his broken soul.
You can find links to all my books here: http://www.amazon.com/Debra-Chapoton/e/B003MX4NCS/
Thank you so much Debra for sharing all of your amazing accomplishments and talents with us. I look forward to reading more of your books and all of you can look for my reviews of those books to come. 'A Soul's Kiss' review will be posted in the next few weeks so make sure to check back.
Stephanie N. Pitman, Author
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