Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Winner and Interview with Author Eileen Cook

Lots of fun things to tell you about today.

For one, Seth Mulo has been chosen as best male character on Bookworm Reader's blog. Take a peek at the other awards she gave DEATH BY BIKINI and DEATH BY LATTE. Thanks, Claire!

Also, the first reviews for DEATH BY DENIM are up! You can check them out at Flamingnet (where they have given DBD the Top Choice Award!) and at the Maelstrom blog.

Also, we have a winner from our Carrie Jones Freebie Friday:
Little Willow
Please send me an email at gerb at lindagerber dot com and I'll e-send your gift certificate to you! Everyone else, don't forget to stop by on Friday, when Sarah Zarr will join us and give away a signed copy of SWEETHEARTS!

AND NOW, a special Tuesday Treat for you - we have another GCC interview with the fabulous Eileen Cook, Author of WHAT WOULD EMMA DO?

Here's the blurb on the book:

Thou shalt not kiss thy best friend’s boyfriend…again….
There is no greater sin than kissing you best friend’s boyfriend. So when Emma breaks that golden rule, she knows she’s messed up big-time. Especially since she lives in the smallest town ever, where everyone knows everything about everyone else….and especially because she maybe kinda wants to do it again. Now her best friend isn’t speaking to her, her best guy friend is making things totally weird, and Emma is running full speed toward certain social disaster. This is so not the way senior year was supposed to go.

Time to pray for a minor miracle. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s time for Emma to stop trying to please everyone around her, and figure out what she wants for herself.

Meg Cabot says that WWED? is “Sassy and sly and sweet all at the same time, this book made me laugh out loud.” And Jaqueline Mitchard says Eileen is the next best thing to Judy Blume. Not bad, huh?

Eileen's insight probably comes from the time she spent as a counselor at Michigan State University. "But real people have real problems," she says. She returned to writing because she "liked having the ability to control the ending. Which is much harder with humans."

The interview:

What inspired you to write WHAT WOULD EMMA DO?
I had recently re-read the Crucible. In the play a group of people begin blaming others of being witches and the situation burns out of control. It got me thinking about what would be the worst thing you could accuse someone of today and how easy it is for the mob mentality to take over. Those thoughts were the beginning of the story that would grow into What Would Emma Do.

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?

I tend to steal traits and quirks from different people and then mix them up to create someone new. What I find interesting is when someone who knows me reads a book and thinks they identify someone else and it wasn’t even someone I had in mind at the time.

What excites you?

Ideas and stories. I love to read and I gather odd bits of news like black slacks attract cat hair. I listen in on conversations when I’m out in public. All these ideas and scraps of ideas get squirreled away somewhere in both my office and my brain. Like a compost pile sometimes it stinks, but sometimes something really interesting comes out of it.

What turns you off?
I hate when people are narrow minded. I don’t mind disagreeing with someone, but it frustrates me when someone refuses to even listen to another point of view.

In DEATH BY LATTE, my character Aphra starts her adventure with a lie. What's the biggest lie you ever told, and what happened as a result of the telling?
I am a terrible liar. Terrible. I will never be able to have a life of crime or live as a secret double agent spy. For this reason I tend not to lie very often. When I was in high school I wanted to go out to a nightclub where my crush was playing in a band. My parents wouldn’t let me go. I said I was going to my room, but in reality I climbed out my bedroom window. What I didn’t know is about 15 minutes after I left my mom had convinced my dad to let me go. When she got to my room to tell me I was already gone.

Much later that night I carefully slid open the bedroom window and started to climb in. My mom was sitting there in the dark and while one half of me was outside, and the other hanging in, she said: welcome home.” I knew I was in BIG trouble.

All stories are built on suspense. What's the most suspenseful thing that's happened to you in real life?
There have been a few decisions I made in my life that were a leap of faith. I wasn’t sure how things would turn out, but it felt like the right thing. One example would be getting married. My now husband and I had dated for several years, but broke up while I was still in college. We were broken up a little over a year when he flew into town and told me he missed me and wanted to get married. We went from not dating to married in less than four months. I’m pretty sure there were a lot of people who thought we were insane, but so far it’s been great.

If you could invite anyone you wanted - living or dead - to hang out with you at a weekend retreat, who would you invite and why?
I would love to have the ultimate writer’s retreat with my current writing buddies, but we would also invite Meg Cabot, Jane Austen, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Sarah Dessen, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker. I could go on and on. I think we’re going to need a large conference center for all these people.

What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I can’t do a cart-wheel. I start off good, but for some reason my legs sort of fall over during the “wheel” part of the move. This was a source of great humiliation growing up. Please do not offer to teach me how- many have tried, many have failed. I have accepted that a gold medal in gymnastics is not in my future.

What's your favorite quote?
Oooh I love quotes. I’m one of those people who always has quotes pinned up all around my office. One of my favorites (it is hard to pick just one) is a poem by Shel Silverstein

Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me -
Anything can happen, child
Anything can be

Milk Chocolate or Dark?
No debate on this issue at all- dark chocolate hands down.

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at www.eileencook.com.