Monday, 18 March 2013

ONE: An Interview with YA author, Leigh Ann Kopans

For our readers who aren't familiar with ONE can you give them the movie-trailer version of things.  A little something to bring them up to speed.

Well,  I guess my official blurb is movie-trailer ish! 
When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak.

It makes you a One.

Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover.

If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances.

Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other.
Merrin's mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub's internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed. Now it’s up to her to decide if it's more important to fly solo, or to save everything - and everyone - she loves.

I'm not giving anything away when I mention that Merrin plays the drums.  How did you go about deciding to make that part of who she is?  What drew you into the idea of her instrument of choice being the drums?

Well, I guess because Merrin is the kind of girl who is very angry and frustrated, but knows that having a temper tantrum won't get her anywhere. She needs an outlet, an acceptable way she can hit stuff and make lots of noise. That's playing the drums.
Merrin's also a petite girl, and I noticed when I was searching for drumming videos that the vast majority of drummer girls are also small-framed. I think it must be something about wanting to make yourself bigger than  you actually are, which is also a big part of Mer's character.

Check out Ilana: to me, she looks just like Merrin:

You also mention early on that Merrin is drawn to listening to a little heavy metal when she needs to vent.  In an age dominated by Taylor Swift and Hip-Hop, what led you to choose metal?

Well, music like Taylor's put angst and emotions into words. For people who want to voice their feelings in an emo way, that works, but Merrin just wants to drown them out. Metal is loud  and a little wild, so it works for that.

So, lets drag Merrin out of the future for a second.  I'm riding in her car.  She throws a CD into the stereo. Who am I going to be listening to?

My Chemical Romance, Danger Days. No hesitation.  She might even listen to it in 2139 - she's into vintage stuff. ;)

You also chose (or many would say your characters chose for you) to have Merrin's love interest be a musician as well.  I'm sensing a theme here?

Oh! I just needed a way for him to really prove to her that he understood her without telling her. Merrin doesn't trust words too much, but when Elias picks up a guitar and starts playing along with her, he's speaking her (emotional) language. Really, he doesn't like playing guitar too much. ;) 
BUT if you want to see what he looks like playing guitar?

We here at ATWN are also really interested in the writing process and how it lines up with people's love of music.  Do you listen to music while you write or are you a "shhhh, I'm writing over here" kind of person?

Oh, music was a HUGE part of writing ONE. Especially for mood. Kravitz's  "Fly Away" and Aerosmith's "Fly Away From Here" are pretty much anthems for Merrin at the beginning of the story. "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer is great for some of the midsection moments, and "Meteor Shower" by Owl City and "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire framed my writing of the end.

If we were to take a peek into your record collection, what would we find there?  What do you think people would be most surprised to find in that same collection?

Hmmm...well I pretty much only listen to Spotify. *Hides* I do love Dashboard Confessional (emo! emo!), Cake, MCR, any male acoustic guitar, a guy named Johnny Stimson who describes his music as "musical sunshine," (true!) and a healthy amount of Taylor, like any self-respecting YA author. 
What might surprise you is that Taylor is one of the few women in my music rotation - I tend to like listening to the male voice more. No clue why.

First concert?

Barenaked Ladies! In an ampitheater, with lots of pot in the air (not mine!)

ONE gets a ridiculously fantastic movie deal and you get to collaborate with the production of the soundtrack, hit me with ten songs that would have to be on it.

From your mouth to God's ears! LOL. Um, The five i mentioned up above,  "Up Up Up" by the Givers, "On Top of the World" by Imagine Dragons, "Never Say Never" by the Fray, "Us Against the World" by Coldplay, and "Belief (stripped)" by Gavin DeGraw.

Thanks Leigh Ann!

Thank YOU! I'm so very honored and excited to have been asked. You guys are incredible.

You can pre-order a copy of Leigh Ann's "ONE" by clicky-clickin' this little link right HERE

As a quick thank you to all of Leigh Ann's fans and for the fans of ATWN, leave a comment below and you'll be signed up to win a copy of all of the songs that Leigh Ann mentioned above. You can give her ONE soundtrack a listen below via Spotify.


  1. Leigh Ann,

    I LOVE your Spotify playlist! So many great tunes. And ONE sounds fantastic, with Merrin as a cool and layered MC. Woohoo!

    FYI, I saw BNL in an outdoor amphitheater too (up in Georgia). Very fun, great show. No pot around us --which was a good thing, since I was pregnant with baby boy #2. But I remember the people around us enjoying lots and lots of cocktails.:)

    Thanks for hanging out with us today Leigh Ann!:)

    *scrambles to download ONE* :)

  2. Great interview, Paul! And I agree, Lynn -- LOVE the Spotify playlist.