Thursday, March 19, 2009

FREEBIE FRIDAY with Jennifer Echols

Happy first day of spring!

Does it look spring-y where you are? Not here. It's 40 degrees outside. Blurg. But! We escape for spring break in warmer climes tomorrow. Woot!

Meanwhile, thanks for your votes in the Show me the Green contest. The winner is: Roxanne!

(Since you included your addy with the photo, no need to do anything. I'll get the books sent off to you.)

And now, I'm pleased to welcome GCC sister Jennifer Echols to the blog! Jennifer is the author of the Simon Pulse comedies THE BOYS NEXT DOOR, MAJOR CRUSH, and THE EX GAMES and is celebrating the recent release of her new book, GOING TOO FAR - which Teenreads Too calls "a novel readers won't want to put down."

Check out the official blurb:

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO? All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far… and almost doesn’t make it back.
John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge—and over…

And now, for the interview:
What inspired you to write GOING TOO FAR?
I love the TV shows COPS and RENO 911. I had an idea to write a romantic comedy about two teenagers stuck doing a ride-along with a cop. Then I thought the story would be a lot more interesting if the cop could actually be the hero or the heroine, rather than a bystander in the romance. I did some research and discovered some agencies hire 19-year-olds as cops, and voila. Then the novel turned dramatic on me, no longer a romantic comedy, and I decided not to call it back.

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?
Meg is my dark side, but I didn’t really base her on me. She just came out that way.

What excites you?
A great book, movie, or TV show. My latest discovery is CASTLE, a TV show about a novelist.

What turns you off?
Unhappy endings.

What's the biggest lie you ever told, and what happened as a result of the telling?
I am not much of a liar. Not that I’m so upstanding and honest, but I figured out pretty early that I’m a terrible actress and will always get caught in a lie.

What's the most suspenseful thing that's happened to you in real life?
Before I sold my first novel, I had several literary agents who said they wanted to call me to talk about representing me. We were in the process of moving, my husband had already moved to our new city, and I had stayed behind with our three-year-old. Every time the phone rang, I thought it might be a literary agent, but it was always a realtor wanting to show the house. Then the three-year-old and I managed to drop the phone in the bathtub.

It worked out okay.

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 a writer’s retreat and plotting party with Jane Austen, E. M. Forster, and Jennifer Crusie.

What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I almost earned a PhD in English, but I never finished my dissertation on hypertext fiction. The degree didn’t seem important after I got a novel published.

What's your favorite quote?
“Human beings have their great chance in the novel.”--E. M. Forster

Milk Chocolate or Dark?
Cadbury Creme Eggs!

Jennifer has generously donated a copy of GOING TO FAR for this week's lucky FREEBIE FRIDAY winner. To be entered, leave a comment below, telling us either your plans for spring break, or your own real-life cop story. This contest will remain open until Tuesday, March 24th.