Debra Chapoton’s first psychological thriller, Edge of Escape, is about brilliant yet emotionally impaired Eddie who is obsessed with the pretty and popular Rebecca. He devises a plan abduct her and then rescue her. She escapes each time only to fall into his traps again.
Edge of Escape is about an emotionally impaired boy. How did you research the behaviors of emotionally impaired teenagers?
I had psychology classes in college, in-service workshops as a teacher and special education conferences and parent/teacher/administrator meetings in regards to specific “504” students of mine. I’ve also read a great deal on the subject and talked at length with four professionals in the area. That said, the story is fiction and how one person may react after a tragedy can run the spectrum, so the character of Eddie and how he behaves is not meant to be an absolute.
Why did you choose to write a story with obsession, love and survival as its themes?
Well, my husband has often said that he would have been my stalker if I hadn’t returned the affection. So I thought about the differences between obsession, unrequited love, fixation and passion. That gave me some ideas for the character of Eddie. For Rebecca, I thought about all the movies I’d seen where the victim makes poor and stupid choices and ends up dead or tortured. I wanted Rebecca to make all the right decisions, but the wrong assumptions, and see what would happen.
You self-published Edge of Escape. How was the self-publishing journey for Edge of Escape like?
I had entered a rough draft of Edge of Escape in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and it made it to the top 250 out of 5000 entries. Because I had entered the contest they offered a free proof if I wanted to self-publish. The journey began. First stop: editing. Since I’m a grammar freak, I thought I could handle that. Next stop: design a cover. That was so much fun that as soon as I got the proof in the mail I decided to gather all of my manuscripts from the past nine years and publish each one. In a matter of months I published five middle grade adventure novels and I recently added a non-fiction Bible study book to the stack. This journey has been great, but there are many more stops like a website, a fan page, a blog and now marketing. Marketing has been a wonderful experience and I get to meet lots of nice internet people like you.
If there is one word that describes Edge of Escape, what would it be?
How long did it take you to write Edge of Escape?
I honestly don’t know how long it took to write. The first draft was done in a matter of months. Then I let the story sit for a few more months before I looked at it again. Then I rewrote it and let it sit for a couple of years. Originally the characters were in their late twenties; I compacted the story and changed their ages to 18 which meant another total rewrite. From start to finish it was probably about five or six years.
What lessons can readers take away after reading Edge of Escape?
I really hope people will be less judgmental about others. Everyone has problems and how you treat someone may make their problem much, much worse than it should be. I hope to evoke a little more sympathy for the “special” kids, especially now that we just welcomed a “special needs” baby into our extended family.
Can you please tell us a little-known fact about yourself?
In my senior year of high school I did the solo routine in our synchronized swimming show.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Come visit me at my blog and see a slide show of the full log home I designed and built with my husband.
Debra is giving away one print copy of Edge of Escape to a US/Canada Sugarpeach reader and one eBook* copy of Edge of Escape to an international Sugarpeach reader. This giveaway ends on August 12.
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