Tuesday, February 18, 2014

5 Questions with Allison Glock-Cooper and T. Cooper

I had the wonderful chance to read and review Changers Book One: Drew, the first book in the new YA series Changers by Allison Glock-Cooper and T. Cooper. They also agreed to this interview, which I hope gives you some insight into the new book!  
If you have any questions about the questions (ha-ha) that I asked (i.e. what is an Abider?) Please comment below and I will clarify. 
(Please visit the their website, which is linked below in their answer to question #5!)
HF: What is the significance of the Abiders' relationship with the Changers? Do they represent someone or something in the real world?

AG & TC:To us, the Abiders represent any group that forgoes knowledge in favor of superstition, or that acts from a place of fear. Basically, they are that subset of the population that believe things are better when they stay the same--which is rough life philosophy given nothing ever does stay the same. Their relationship with the Changers is one of distrust and the need to control this thing they can't understand. In the real world, when any minority begins to gain power or visibility, the opposition to that minority grows louder and more desperate. You can find this pattern in most social change movements. Simply put, things get very dramatic before they settle down. And we are meeting the Abiders at the start of their hysteria over the Changers.

HF: Did your high school experiences inspire the book? If not, what did?

AG & TC: Very much so. Also the high school experiences of our children, our friends, their friends. As writers, we are always listening. One small example is that I was, in fact, a cheerleader for a brief, inglorious stint. And the chapters about that came quite directly from the dissonance I felt being an independent, bookish girl putting on that pleated skirt and jumping up and down.

HF: I found Ethan's approach to being a girl amusing, especially to clothing (like jeggings), friendship, and romance. Did you two collaborate on different viewpoints of each gender?

AG & TC: The entire book (and series) is a collaboration, in that my husband would write a brief outline, then I would fill in the meat of the chapter, then he would add and subtract, and so on. Some chapters he wrote exclusively. Others I did. People always tell us they know who penned what, but they are often incorrect, which is a great compliment of sorts, in that it means we were both able to inhabit all the characters, and to play with gender and voice, which is kind of the whole meta-point of the series. That said, I did make him try on jeggings. And he nearly died.

HF: Will one of the supporting character's (such as Tracy or Chase) stories be elaborated upon in the next book?

AG & TC: Tracy and Chase, as well as Audrey and other key characters, will remain with us for the next three books. Whether or not they stay those people remains to be seen. If you are asking if we will explore their origin stories, that is a possibility too. Readers seem very keen to find out what happens to Drew. But Audrey kind of wins my heart. She is the kind of generous, honorable friend everyone wants to have.

HF: Why did you write this series? Do you hope to influence how young people see the world from the eyes of others?

AG & TC: We wrote the series to entertain, of course, but also to engage readers in a discussion about what really defines a person. (Our empathy project--wearechangers.org--more explicitly addresses this, as does our Unselfies campaign, where we encourage folks to stop taking pictures of themselves and instead take a few of how they feel.)  We believe everyone contains multitudes. And that true love and friendship weather the growth all humans go through as they become adults. We also believe where you begin in life need not be where you end up. It is such a hopeful notion to consider that who or what you become is really up to you. Lastly, we wanted to write something that was real and grounded, but also magical and fun. Because the best stuff in life happens when magic and reality collide.

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