Once We Were: Kat Zhang Interview & Giveaway

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Title: Once We Were
Author: Kat Zhang (Twitter. Facebook)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: September 17, 2013
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Pages: 352

Eva was never supposed to have survived this long. As the recessive soul, she should have faded away years ago. Instead, she lingers in the body she shares with her sister soul, Addie. When the government discovered the truth, they tried to “cure” the girls, but Eva and Addie escaped before the doctors could strip Eva’s soul away.

Now fugitives, Eva and Addie find shelter with a group of hybrids who run an underground resistance. Surrounded by others like them, the girls learn how to temporarily disappear to give each soul some much-needed privacy. Eva is thrilled at the chance to be alone with Ryan, the boy she’s falling for, but troubled by the growing chasm between her and Addie. Despite clashes over their shared body, both girls are eager to join the rebellion.

Yet as they are drawn deeper into the escalating violence, they start to wonder: How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom? Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever.

I am SO excited today to have the amazing Kat Zhang on the blog as part of the final leg of the Once We Were blog tour! Kat took some time out of her busy day to answer some of my most pressing questions because I'm super demanding like that...so, here goes nothing!

1. The theory of dual souls in one body is both original and compelling. What, if anything specific, inspired the plight of Eva and her soul sister, Addie?

Thanks! I don't know if anything specific inspired their situation. I just got to wondering about the idea of being stuck in your own body. We all have an "inner monologue," so to speak, or a "conscience." What if that voice in the back of your head were a real, other being? What would it be like to be her, living and yet not living? The rest of the story really developed from that :)

2. If you lived in the world of Addie and Eva, do you think you'd be the dominant one soul, or would you be the one that settles, and why?

I dunno! Considering that recessive souls tend to disappear, I guess I'd rather be the dominant one :P However, in their world, I don't believe that the dominant/recessive divide is based on traits of the souls themselves. One is simply marked recessive from the beginning. Sometimes, a recessive soul can be tenacious enough to overcome its fate, but there was nothing it could do to avoid being marked in the first place. It's really a toss of the coin--or genes, as the case may be.

3. In ONCE WE WERE, we're offered a beautiful, touching romance, but it's complicated by the fact that Eva and Addie share the same body. What do you think the most challenging aspect of such a romance would be (besides the obvious)?

I think many of the challenges would be based on one's idea of "normal." Obviously, being in a relationship like this would be incredibly weird for most of us, because we're a part of a society that views certain kinds of relationships as normal. Hybrids would find it pretty difficult to conform to that kind of normality, but luckily for most of them (unfortunately, not our protagonists!), they were raised in a completely different kind of community--one where being hybrid is not unusual, and the kind of life people are expected to have is different.

4. If you had to choose a favourite soul between Eva and Addie, who would you choose and why?

That's like asking for a favorite child! ;) Well, I chose to write from Eva's point of view, and at the end of the day, I do think this series is, to a certain degree, more her story than Addie's (which isn't to say that Addie doesn't have her own story--just that it's Eva's that's explored more in the text). I empathize with both of them. Both are trying to figure out a lot of things in a really tough situation, and they both make mistakes and need each other, in the end, to balance themselves out.

5. If you could describe ONCE WE WERE in just five words, what would they be and why?

Choice, Precipice, Expansion, Discovery, Mistakes

Explaining too in-depth would be spoiler-y, but ONCE WE WERE is definitely a time for Eva and Addie to learn more about their world (and the one beyond it) and themselves. They're faced with a number of tough decisions, and they struggle with being (and becoming) the kind of people they want to be.

6. The drama really amps up in this second installment of the Hybrid Chronicles series. Can we expect a TON more drama before we see any resolution?

An entire bookful ;)


And now, here's the best part. Because of the amazing folks at HarperTeen, I was lucky enough to score two ARCs of Once We Were. I'm offering up one (1) ARC internationally to one lucky reader! This giveaway will end promptly at midnight EST on 9/26/13. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This is the second book of the series right? I've still mean to read the first book.
    Lovely interview. I really like the sweater tank Kat is wearing in that photo.

  2. I'm still torn on starting this trilogy, though it sounds fantastic. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on it, Melissa, though this interview has definitely made me more curious. Thanks for sharing!

  3. The whole concept is so unusual -- I can't imagine writing a love story along with the two souls in one body! I have the first book on my Kindle and need to read it so I'll be ready for this second one. I've heard amazing things about it. Great interview!

  4. The book does have some original ideas, but I was quite disappointed with the first book and I just didn't feel like picking up the rest of the series.
    The love story does sound quite complicated and it must have been really hard for the author to have written it.
    Thanks for sharing this great interview and giveaway, Melissa.

  5. Ah! I still need to read book one Melissa! I'm intrigued by the overall concept, and even more by the romance given the two of them occupy the same body. Definitely makes things interesting and I'm hugely curious to see how it's handled. Thanks for the brilliant interview and giveaway!

  6. I absolutely loved the first book and have been impatiently waiting for what feels like forever for book 2! I'm intrigued by the two souls in one body situation and looking forward to seeing how their relationship with each other and other people develop.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. What a very very cool idea! Sounds like my kind of book and I cannot wait to read it! Thanks for pointing me toward another great author. :)

  8. I enjoyed the first book,so can't wait for this one,loved the interview by the way :D

  9. Great interview! I really enjoyed reading the first book and I'm soo impatient to read what happens next! Thanks for this opportunity!

  10. I just found out about this series yesterday and read the first 75 pages of the first book online. I was sucked into the story. I had to buy it, so I appreciate the opportunity to win the second one.

  11. I STILL have not read this but the 5 words to desrice Once We Were have me insanely curious!

    Thanks for sharing, Melissa! <33

  12. I haven't read the series yet but I love the concept of it, having dual souls in one body is really fascinating. Great interview and thanks for the giveaway!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  13. I'm new to the series, but it does fascinate.

  14. I love the concept of this series and I really liked What's left of me, so I can't wait! I think it's a great decision that she wrote this book from Eva's POW.


  15. I love the premise of this series. I had not heard of it before but just bought the first book. Thanks for a great interview!

  16. The idea of having dual souls in one body is absolutely fascinating and I'm curious to see where the author takes them in the sequel!

  17. I love the concept and it's not generic. Thanks for the chance to win, Melissa.



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