Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chatting with Eileen Cook

Welcome Eileen! Let's get started:

1. What made you choose to write a YA novel af
ter completing your adult novel?
I had started reading more and more YA books and was so impressed with how much great stuff is out there. I decided that I wanted to try my hand at writing it. YA is so open in terms of what can be covered and the best part of being a teen is how INTENSE everything can be. It makes it a lot of fun to write.

2. Where do you write best?
I write most of the time in my office, but I find when I’m really stuck I do best to grab my laptop and write someplace else (a coffee shop, the library, the beach). I think the change of location jump starts my brain. I might be fooling myself, but it seems to work.

3. Is there a topic you’ve always wanted to write about?
Both of my books (Unpredictable and What Would Emma Do) are about, at least in part, the idea of how what we believe actually shapes and changes reality. I find it interesting how one person can walk into a room where everyone is laughing and assume everyone is laughing at them and someone else can walk into the same room and assume they just missed the joke. I’m fascinated with how what we believe (about ourselves and others) changes the world around us.

Very good point/insight.

4. What’s one book you wish you’d written?
There are a lot of books where I think about how I would have written them if it had been my book, or how I would have changed the ending. I can’t be the only reader who imagines extra chapters after closing a favorite book? I can’t think of any one book that I would want to be mine, because then they would have been different, but I wish I had come up with Harry Potter series!

5. What was the last book you’ve read that you’ve been recommending to everyone?
I really enjoyed Wake by Lisa McMann and I’m looking forward to Fade coming out. The other book I’ve been recommending is Sarah Dessen’s Lock and Key.

I need to get my hands on WAKE, I've been hearing wicked good things about it!

6. How do you get your ideas? Do you use real events in your novels and if so, can you describe one?
My brain is like black pants and lint, stuff just sticks in there. Bits of conversation, something I’ve read, people watching, you name it goes in there and then who knows what pops back out. None of my books are based on any one particular event in my life, but everything that happens to me is potential fair game to end up in a book. I still have the diaries I kept in junior high and high school. I figure there is plenty of material in there to keep me busy.

Lol, that's really funny. I like that: things just stick in my brain = fair game for later use.

7. Are you working on a new project? Can you tell us more about it?
My next book (which still doesn’t have a good title- I’m taking suggestions) is about friendship, betrayal, love, revenge, and classic movies. I had a ton of fun coming up with various revenge plans. It turns out that I have a very evil side. Who knew?

Nice! Looking forward to reading it.

8. Is hard living in Canada to have your book come out in the US?
I’m an American who moved up to Canada. I love Vancouver ( Canada is way more than maple syrup, moose and Mounties) which is home now, but I still get down to the US all the time. I figure having a book come out just gives me excuse to visit.

9. Name a celebrity, you’d love to have as a BFF:
I would love to be BFF with Meg Cabot assuming you think writer’s are celebrities. Otherwise I love Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner.

OMG, I love these choices. I do think of writers as celebrities.

10. What was it like having Meg Cabot say she enjoyed your book?
The. Best. Thing. Ever. Meg Cabot is a writer that I hugely admire. She writes great books, she works really hard, and she’s super nice. She’s my hero. I totally think she and I would make great best friends. I would hang outside her house and try and casually run into her all the time if we lived closer. I suspect she thinks having a border between us is a good thing.

Meg Cabot rocks; I would <3 having her as a friend.

11. Listing if your favorites: (add anything else fun you can think of)
Type of shoe: I love all kinds of shoes. How can I pick a favorite without knowing what I’m wearing?
Candy: Reese’s Peanut Butter cups hands down.
Pizza topping: Cheese. I especially love stinky blue cheese on there.
Genre of books: Just like shoes- it depends on what I’m feeling on any particular day. I love a good romantic comedy, but I read everything.
Singer and/or Song: Lately I’m loving The Killers. My iPod defaults to them all the time.
Restaurant: There is a great bistro here in Vancouver called Trafalgars. It has only ten or so tables and the chef changes the menu all the time. They also have a KILLER dessert menu
TV show /Movie: Love Actually is one of my all time favorites.
Color: I love the ocean so all shades of blue, green and gray are my favorites

thanks for chatting with us Eileen, it was fun! Here's my short review of her latest book:

What Would Emma Do:
Emma can't wait to escape small town life next year when she heads off to college. She's counting on a track scholarship as her ticket out. But lately, other things have fallen apart - making that time more welcome. Accidentally she kissed her best friend's boyfriend (who she's been good friends with for years). Now things are rocky between her and her best friend - though they've managed to keep it out of the town gossip. Emma doesn't hang out with Colin anymore. One night they sneak out to go to a party together, but before going into the party, they spot the popular girls outside. They eavesdrop and discover the party involves substances they'd rather not deal with. They end up going home. But later, one of the girls becomes sick. The two girls make up a story to hide the evidence. Suddenly the whole town's up in arms as girls are passing out left and right - but it's just the popular girls. Emma and Colin have agreed not to tell anyone what they've overheard, but when it goes too far, will they speak up and face the consequences?

A great tale about life in a small town, where rarely anyone can keep a secret and everyone has an opinion. Eileen Cook writes about tough choices in a friendship and what it means to look down the road and realize that goodbye is fast approaching.

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