My guest this week is a brilliant author, an avid reader and reviewer and blogger who I have had the pleasure of reading her first book and great blog posts.
Next week I look forward to reading the second book in her EVO Nation series. It was a fun interview to conduct with great answers where I found out her childhood writing memories and how she manages to juggle her time between projects. Also who would she choose between Doctor Who and Harry Potter? This question and more were answered.
A chat with KJ Chapman
K.J.Chapman is an avid tea drinker, writer, blogger, book lover, Whovian, and author of the EVO Nation Series. Born and raised in Cornwall, England, and with an accent to match, K.J.Chapman is a self-proclaimed fan girl and geek; a lover of everything science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal.
If she is not working on her EVO Nation series, she is blogging on various subjects that peak her interest. Most prominently, she posts musings, tips, advice, and journals of her writing and reading experiences. Chapman is a keen book reviewer, beta reader, and ARC reviewer. You can find all reviews on her blog.
K.J.Chapman on writing: ‘It’s what I do, what I enjoy, and what keeps me sane. Did I say writing keeps me sane? Yeah… perhaps it just balances my crazy.
Hello and thank you for joining me on Writing Corner this week. How is everything with you? Is Cornwall treating you well?
Thank you for having me. I’m doing great, thank you, and Cornwall will always treat me well. It’s the best place in the world, after all.
First off, I loved EVO Nation, the first book in EVO Nation series. Like I said on my review, I was so engrossed in the book that I lost all bearings of my surroundings. How long did it take from concept to the finished novel?
Firstly, thank you for saying so. That is a great compliment. I still get giddy whenever someone tells me how much they enjoyed EVO Nation.
I had the concept of evolved humans for about eight years, but never knew where to go with the narrative. The first notes were written in 2010. I know they were written in 2010 because my daughter was a new-born and I wrote them during the dreaded night feeds. So, you could say that I started six years ago. I would say 2014 was the year of EVO for me. It was when the idea of Facility One and the TORO came to me and spurred me into action. It took eight months to finish the first draft and another four to edit.
I will soon be reading the second and I can’t wait to return to the EVO world. What can I and readers expect?
EVO Shift’s title has many facets (you will see soon, so I shall say no more.) There are huge changes/shifts in the world as Teddie knows it, and a whole new, clandestine group of EVO. Things turn dark quickly, and Teddie finds herself slap bang in the centre of an unprecedented war, trying to deal with loss, new abilities, and self-doubt.
The lines between good and bad blur all the more, and Teddie has to decide who’s side she is on, what she is fighting for, and whether it’s worth her life.
You are working on another project. Would you mind dishing the dirt and giving us an insight?
I’m unbelievably excited about this project. I needed a break from writing the third book in the EVO Nation Series, EVO Ghost, and I’ve had these characters clawing to meet paper, so it was a natural progression.
Thrown to The Blue is a fantasy set in a made up world- mostly in the Kingdoms of Ye’Sande and Yarnair. The narrative is told by two people: Princess Ezrahli of Ye’Sande, and Reed of Yarnair, an archer. Their lives cross unexpectedly when Reed’s ‘leader’ picks him to ‘pretend’ to assassinate the new King of Ye’Sande. Sounds ominous, right? Well, it is the King of Ye’Sande who has orchestrated this faux assassination on himself in the first place. Why? To take the spotlight away from his sister, Princess Ezrahli, after she killed their father, the late King Wellan.
Ezrahli is a sort of anti-heroine. I have enjoyed blurring the lines of hero and villain in this narrative.
How do you manage to divide your time between both projects (Thrown to the blue and EVO Ghost)?
At first, I would spend equal amounts of time on both, but as of late, I have been focussing all my attention on Thrown to The Blue. Once the first draft is complete, I shall take my time during the re-drafting and editing stages and get back to EVO Ghost.
I am a keen follower of your blog. I admire the amount of books you have read and reviewed. Has there been a time where you have read a book and thought, ‘I can’t write a review around this drivel’.
Thankfully, I have only read one book that I couldn’t finish, so I didn’t review it. I am not one to write mean reviews, and do not condone it. What I may not like, may be what someone else loves, so I would never shame an author with a horrific review.
Don’t get me wrong, I write honest reviews in which I state what I loved, liked, and didn’t like so much, but I try to be balanced and fair.
What book did you read in your childhood that still lives in your memory or heart today?
There are three. Charlotte’s Web’s by E.B.White, Stig of the Dump by Clive King, and Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh. I kept my original copies and have passed them on to my daughter.
I was also a huge R.L.Stine fan, which in turn led me to find Stephen King and Dean Koontz as I got older.
What is your earliest childhood memory of writing?
That’s hard for me to determine because I was always reading and writing from a young age. However, my Mum did keep a piece of work that I wrote when I was about 7 or 8:
Yep, I re-wrote Little Red Riding Hood, replacing the wolf with human-flesh eating dragons called Morise and Norise. I even included my own illustrations! Ha!
When did the moment hit and you told yourself, I am a writer. This is who I am?
It didn’t really hit me until I got my first review (other than family). It was when I knew someone unbiased liked what I had to say, that I thought…This is me.
Would you care to share a line with us that you are most proud of writing?
This is a line that has resonated with lots of readers, and I didn’t really think about it until I had it pointed out to me over and over again. I’m proud of it because it holds weight and truth in the current climate:
This is what it has all been about- people who are scared of something they don’t understand. Ignorance is the deadliest flaw in the human species.
In five words how would you sell the EVO series to us?
Evolution, Survival, Relationships, Vengeance, Bravery.
Before we finish up, you wrote Prompt Me: 150 Writing Prompts for Beating The Block. Are prompts something that has helped you with your writing and what was the inspiration behind it? (As you know I am a big fan of prompts and think it’s a great idea).
I am a HUGE fan of writing prompts. I love how every writer sees something in a different light. ‘Prompt Me’ came about after starting my writing prompt exercises on my blog. I enjoy creating atmosphere in a few lines and writing prompts are perfect for that. After getting a great response on my blog, I decided to compile the prompts I had been keeping into an eBook.
Where can we find KJ Chapman and her books?
This next section I like to call World without words or life without love? I Would like to ask you random questions and for you to answer with the first thing that pops into your head.
Writing prompt or picture prompt?
Writing Prompts. Let the imagination roll.
Sci-Fi and Fantasy.
I can’t pick just one! Stephen King, JK Rowling, Anne Rice, Jane Austen, Markus Zusak, Alice Sebold, Charlotte Bronte, Daphne Du Maurier, Garth Nix, Brandon Sanderson, Kristin Cast, PC Cast, Anita Shreve. *Copy and pasted from my Goodreads profile hehe*
A book that you were pleasantly surprised with?
I read my first Anita Shreve novel, Fortune Rocks, when I was twenty. I didn’t think that 19th century, unrequited romance was my thing, but I loved Shreve and her books since. She offers an array of stories, eras, and just engaging writing.
Doctor Who or Harry Potter?
How could you?! Ummm, ahhh… Doctor Who.
Note: Couldn’t resist
Favourite board game?
Morning or night?
Morning. I do my best writing in the morning.
Spring or summer?
Summer, especially the school holidays. No school runs!!!
EVO Nation or EVO Shift?
EVO Nation because EVO Shift wouldn’t be here without it.
If you could be one renowned author for a day, who would it be and why?
Stephen King, so I could feel what it is like to be so damn awesome. His mind must be a thing of wonder and horror.
Top five musical influences?
For writing purposes: Queen, Sia, Linkin Park, Muse, and Adele.
Something that inspires?
Dreams. I had a dream just the other day that I had to write down. I daydream a lot too.
Cornish pasty or Stargazy pie?
Pasty! Oggy Oggy Oggy Oi Oi Oi!
Fill in the blanks: She told me it was safe, but I knew different. If I was to pay for life, I would be subject to interest. I knew I should have stayed in cryofreeze.
Note: (Ooh chilling)
Tea with cake or biscuits?
Biscuits- malted milks to be exact.
Author or blogger?
Author, otherwise I’d have nothing much to blog about.
If EVO Nation was a film, who would star?
Teddy – Rose Leslie
Adam – Jesse Williams
Isaac – Andrew Lincoln
Yana – Elle Fanning
Haydn – Russell Tovey
Golding – Freddie Stroma
Roscoe – Brendan Gleeson
(This is based on looks alone because I’m shallow like that)
World without words or life without love?
That’s a tricky one. I’m going to say world without words because my family are a huge inspiration to me. Without love I would have nothing to write about in the first place.
A big thank you to KJ Chapman for taking the time to answer these questions.
Even though I am taking a break next week there will be a Writing Corner so please look out for that.