Jared K. Chapman is an author, filmmaker, and educator. He is a native Californian who spent his formative years at school in frigid Alberta, Canada with his father and summer vacation in arid central California with his mother. He holds degrees in psychology & religious studies and is currently a doctoral candidate studying the social psychology of extreme groups. He lives in a little oasis just east of Los Angeles with his wife and three sons. 2HVØRHVNØT is his debut novel.
2HVØRHVNØT: To Have or Have Not by Jared K. Chapman ~ Genre: Dystopian Superhero Fantasy, Horror
Welcome to Fellowship City, where the Haves are super-powered, and the Have-Nots are just like you.
The Mighty have all the wealth, fame, power, and superpowers, but even they are subject to the monastery’s control. To maintain peace, telepathic monks see into the past, present, and future to police the other Mighty and the minority of powerless Citizens, who have nothing but their identity tags tattooed on their wrists.
Twenty-year-old Mario lives with his kid sister in one of the many camphouses on the island south of the city. Unlike the other citizens he stands in line with every morning waiting to be bussed to work, he actually likes his downtown job and the Mighty restaurateur who employs him.
At least, he did.
This morning, the grisly, undetected murder of his boss changes everything. In a flash, Mario becomes the primary suspect and must race against time to prove his innocence in a world that oppresses the powerless.
Part READY PLAYER ONE. Part DIVERGENT. Part MINORITY REPORT. Totally Superpowered! 2HVØRHVNØT has fast-paced action, suspense, horror, and mature themes that are sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.
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What inspired you to write this book?
I had a thought in my head about to be or not to be but applying it to the situation of haves and have-nots, which resulted in the title to have or not to have. I thought that was too presumptuous and cumbersome, so I kept thinking and though To Have or Have Not sounded much better, and I am a Hemingway fan, so there’s a little homage there. I kept thinking and thinking about this title and one day while driving home the numeronym popped into my head 2HVORHVNOT. I thought that would be a cool title for a book, so I began to think what a book with that title would be about.
I immediately thought about a tattooed identity code on someone’s arm. I thought about how it could be scanned and used in the future like credit cards, but I thought that was too obvious and really wasn’t sure what the story would be. Poor people are Have Nots and can’t even use their codes while the reach people can… it seemed like something I’ve seen many times before. So, my mind went somewhere darker. What if only the Have Nots have these identity codes and they’re forced on them? I began to think about the Holocaust and poor lives lost in the camps. I began to think about Nietzche’s idea of the Ubermensch inspiring the Nazis. I began to think about Japanese internment camps and signs that said No Jews Allowed or Colored Only Section. I began thinking about the X-Men stories where normal people wanted to round up the mutants and put them into camps. Then, I thought what if that was flipped. What if the people in power, the majority, were the ones with superpowers.
I started to think about what kind of world that would be. I drew upon a lot of the social psychological theories I had learned through the course of my collegiate life. I found myself really drawn to Sherif, Asch, Milgram, and Zimbardo’s famous experiments. Ultimately, I wanted to delve into conflict resolution between two completely different groups. I also drew upon my religious studies and my interest in science-fiction/fantasy, post-apocalyptic/dystopia speculative fiction, particularly 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, The Dark Tower Series, Running Man, Demolition Man, Minority Report, and Ready Player One. All of these inspired me to create the world of Fellowship City.
In Fellowship City, there is a caste system with the highest, most powerful Mighty being the telepathic seers, monks of Sol & Luna, who police the other Mighty. This creates a world without heroes or villains, because the monks stop any crime or wrongdoing, even wrong-thinking before it happens. They eliminate the bad elements to create a utopian world for them, but in doing so, life is mundane. Their superpowers are meaningless. In this world, a pyrokinetic has a job as a barista reheating coffee in the ceramic mugs of old customers. But in nearly every utopia we find some dystopian element, and for those without powers, this world is a nightmare. They are forced to serve the Mighty, live in camps or slums, and must be tattooed with their scannable identity codes.
What can we expect from you in the future?
This book is launching a world. I am currently working on a prequel trilogy describing the rise of the Mighty. I’m editing the first book, writing the second, and have the third outlined and ready to go. I’m also working on a short story that doesn’t fit in the prequel books or in any sequel books, and I have plans to write more of these short stories to complete the world. I set up 2HVØRHVNØT to have a sequel, which I am currently outlining and expect to release next year. After that, I plan to write a third book in the series, making it a trilogy. I also plan to write three shorter books focusing on three of the character’s origin stories.
Once I have published all the Fellowship City books, I would like to complete the epic novel I started in 1996.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in 2HVØRHVNØT: To Have or Have Not?
There are tons of colorful and interesting characters in my book. The two primary protagonists are Mario and his sister, Zelda. They live in a camphouse on the island south of Fellowship City. Mario works downtown at a trendy restaurant where he has recently been promoted from dish-boy to server. Zelda is still under 18, so she doesn’t have to do “real work,” although she volunteers her time in the orphan house when she’s not the story-keeper for a role playing game called SOFA that she plays with her friends.
My book has three episodes, and Mario is the main protagonist of the first episode. He likes working at the restaurant, because the Mighty who employs him is a good guy compared to some of the other horror stories he’s heard. He and his sister lost their parents seven years ago and lived in the orphan house until Mario was able to get his own camphouse and take Zelda in as her guardian. He’s always felt responsible for her and even now fears that he may not have prepared her for the world she will soon enter, because he’s treated her like a princess ever since. Mario has an eidetic memory, which serves him well as a server, but it’s not always entirely perfect. He’s filled with internal conflict as he blames the Mighty for the loss of his parents but needs to work for the Mighty to survive.
Zelda becomes prominent in episode two. Her brother is the most important thing to her in the world and when things look bleak, she feels that she needs to do something. Usually, she seems rather level-headed and the leader among her friends, but her brother is her kryptonite. She gets tunnel vision and will stop at nothing to protect her protector. She’s smart, funny, and athletic… a butt-kicking princess.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Mario and Zelda are obvious, I think. Their father loved the retro games of yesteryear and named his children after his favorites. Jakandy is actually named after Jack Handey from Deep Thoughts on Saturday Night Live. DerMööve is a telekinetic of German ancestry, so I was going for something that could get that across. The Arcane Sawyer just came to me out of nowhere as a blend of Paul Bunyan and Thor. There are many more names with backstories, but I don’t want to give too much away.