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Take Five with NARC author Crissa-Jean Chappell
July 22nd, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

Crissa-Jean Chappell with NARC

NARC

By Crissa-Jean Chappell

What could happen if you’re caught by the police with illegal drugs? Criss-Jean Chappell discovered that many young adults are forced to turn NARC, many more than anyone could imagine, or face severe consequences, including jail time. Here’s my review as posted on GOODREADS – NARC by Crissa-Jean Chappell is a powerful, eye-opening novel about a boy named Aaron who gets himself into some serious trouble. I was deeply impressed with how Chappell brought out Aaron’s voice, making him a sympathetic, troubled young man who is deeply loyal to family, protective of friends, and caught in the middle of his poor choices from the past and his current desire to make changes in his life. He takes some stupid risks and gets mixed up in some pretty messy things, all involving drugs. This is a cautionary tale – well written, strong voice, and fascinating supporting characters.
I definitely recommend NARC. This book should be in every HS.

Here’s your chance to win a copy of NARC through GOODREADS –

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/29064-narc

AND – ONE LUCKY WINNER will receive a copy from ME when the book debuts – Just post a comment below. Twitter followers – 1 extra entry. Facebook followers – 1 extra entry, Tweet or post on Facebook – each counts as an extra entry. Follow Crissa-Jean on Twitter @CrissaChappell – 1 extra entry – GIVEAWAY ENDS: SUNDAY, JUNE 29, 8PM CST, WINNER CHOSEN – QU HARRISON

1. NARC is a powerful novel about perceptions – people aren’t who they seem on the outside. This message goes with the concept of “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” How do you apply this to the characters in NARC?

When the story opens, Aaron is in his senior year at Palm Hammock. In his mind, everybody at school wears a mask. Sometimes it feels like you’re given an assigned role (like players in a chess game). He dreams about flipping the board and starting over with a new set of rules.

Aaron is “human wallpaper.” He’s on the outside, looking in. Then he meets Morgan, the so-called popular girl with the Cleopatra hair. As they grow closer, he learns that things aren’t so easy for her, either. At lunch, she would rather sit under a tree with a book than face the stares and whispers in the cafeteria. He soon finds out why.

2. Often in life, young adults have a tough time identifying their strengths. But once a person focuses on them, they can guide a person in making a difference in this world. Looking at Aaron, take one or two of his strengths. What would you wish for him to do with them?

Although he wouldn’t call himself strong, Aaron makes a lot of difficult decisions. He’s not an adult yet, but he’s forced into a position that requires him to act like one. At last, someone is taking him seriously. I believe that young adults are often pushed off to the side. They feel like their thoughts and opinions don’t matter. All they want is for us to listen. Aaron needs to find his voice. That’s where he discovers his inner strength.

3. On the flip side, many people get locked in their weaknesses. What are Aaron’s weaknesses and what can he do to start moving away from using them as a crutch to fail?

He desperately wants to be liked. Throughout the book, he uses magic tricks to get attention. In a way, Aaron feels like he has to pretend (or be fake) in order for people to like him. Sometimes it takes the shape of lies. Or hiding your true feelings, all because you’re afraid of being judged. The kid who’s cracking jokes in the back row? He might be hurting on the inside, but never shows it.

Pretending is like battle armor in high school.

4. NARC definitely makes the reader think. How has this story impacted you, changed you?

In my research, I discovered that it’s not as unusual as you might think—young people (including teens) who put their lives in danger to work as police informants. I was drawn to the idea of a seventeen-year-old doing an adult’s job. And I was curious about the ways it would change his view of the world.

5. You said that you see yourself as a little bit of an “outsider” or an observer. What do you mean and why has it made you a better writer?

Much like Aaron, I floated like a ghost through school (and that was okay with me). Sometimes I wanted to be invisible. That would be my super power. When you’re quiet and spend a lot of time alone, you learn to pay attention.

As a storyteller, you must be an observer of human behavior. That’s where you find the good stuff—the way people speak, the funny gestures they make. I also love to draw. When I’m working on a book, I see it as “drawing with words.” I try to create little portraits of things around me. It might be the smell of low tide at Biscayne Bay. Or a boy speeding past me on a skateboard. He’s got his headphones on and he knows exactly where he’s going. I’ll make up what happens next.

DON’T MISS THESE VIDEOS: And guess what? Crissa-Jean made them.  Here’s what she said: “Yes, I made the videos. (I was a film major in college and I also taught film back in Miami.) One of my former students, Marlon Morina, designed the animated trailer for NARC. In fact, I’m working on a new book about…film school kids!

NARC book trailer from crissachappell on Vimeo.

Literary Outlaws

NARC: seven secrets from crissachappell on Vimeo.

literary outlaws from crissachappell on Vimeo.


5 Responses  
Betsy Kaplan writes:
July 23rd, 2012 at 8:13 am

An important message! Lots of YA do drugs and don’t think that anything can happen to them. But as you said, this scenario happens more often than anyone could ever imagine. Thanks for sharing. I’m a Facebook and Twitter follower. 😀

Lynn Wiese Sneyd writes:
July 24th, 2012 at 8:16 am

Love the videos! So well done. Twitter follower and Facebook follower – thanks.

Sarah Kealy writes:
July 29th, 2012 at 10:46 am

Animation is really cool. Thanks for the interesting interview.

Justina Reads writes:
July 29th, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Sounds like an fascinating book!

Qu Terry writes:
July 29th, 2012 at 7:05 pm

I will be reading this book soon. Also the videos were very compelling.

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