Day 7. Sometimes, when I was planning this event, I never thought I'd get enough authors interested to fill the two weeks. Then I thought I had way too much. It flip-flopped a lot. ;)
Today's Q&A (the authors I contacted seem to love Q&A's) features another Vancouver area author, Eileen Cook (one I've met). Originally from the US, we've claimed Eileen as one of our own. ;) She's the authors of multiple contemporary YA novels like Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, What Would Emma Do?, and The Education of Hailey Kendrick. Her most recent book is the humourous and haunting Unraveling Isobel, and her next, The Almost Truth, comes out this December. Eileen is also the author of the middle grade Fourth Grade Fairy series. You can find out more about Eileen at her website or talk to her on Twitter. :)
Q: All of your books have funny moments mixed in with the teen angst and the high school horrors. How important is it for there to be humour in your books?
A: I've always been the funny one. It's like my own secret super power. When I first started writing I tried to be very serious. I got a lot of rejections, one of them wrote on the manuscript "be aware the funny bits are good." I realized that because being funny came natural to me I tended to think it wasn't "real" writing. I think humour lets us look at difficult issues more easily. Since I enjoy books that make me laugh I've decided to embrace that in my writing.
Q: Unraveling Isobel was a little different than past books, mostly because of the gothic/creepy/ghost parts. How did that come about? Was there anything specific you had to research for Isobel?
A: Like most of my book ideas, Unraveling Isobel started as a "what if." I had seen one of those ghost hunter TV shows and a friend and I were discussing how we would respond if we saw, or experienced, something paranormal. I wondered if I would assume it was real, think I was going crazy, or wonder if someone was trying to pull something over on me. The more I started to think about it the more I wanted to explore the idea in a book- plus I absolutely love gothic books with creepy houses and family secrets so I liked the idea of writing one.
I love doing research! Not only is a great way to procrastinate writing, but you learn some really interesting things. For Isobel I already knew a fair bit about schizophrenia because I work as a counsellor, but I did do some additional research on how children who have parents with mental illness feel. I also made a floor plan of the house so that I could see it more clearly in my mind.
Q: Did you ever want to get revenge on someone like Lauren Wood in real life? How much of real life has made its way into your books?
A: I think everyone I've ever met has known someone who hurt or betrayed them and dreamed of getting them back. Hopefully most of us realize that the best revenge is moving on and being happy, but the best thing of writing is that you get to do all the things you wouldn't do in real life. Most of my books have something in common with my own life, or a friend's life, and then I take that tiny bit of truth and spin it in a completely different direction.
Q: What is your middle grade series, Fourth Grade Fairy, about? How different is it writing middle grade as opposed to YA?
A: The Fourth Grade Fairy is about Willow who happens to be born into a family of Fairy Godmothers. Unlike her parents and annoying older sister, she doesn't want to do magic, what she wants is to be normal. Alas, Willow's efforts to be normal rarely go well. Writing middle grade was an interesting challenge. I remember being a teen really well, but my memories of fourth grade are a bit more murky.
Q: I know writers often spend their days writing and revising (and staring at the blinking cursor wondering why words don't write themselves), but have you read anything recently that you'd recommend?
A: So many good books, so little time. I had a chance to get a sneak peek at two books coming out this year that were great. The first is The Right and The Real by Joelle Anthony and the other is Never Enough by Denise Jaden.
Q: Do you have another book coming out this year or next year? Will it be straight contemporary like The Education of Hailey Kendrick, or will it be more along the lines of Unraveling Isobel?
A: I do have a new book coming out! It is called The Almost Truth and it will be out in early December. It is a contemporary, but there is a bit of a mystery. It's the story of Sadie who is a teen age con-artist from the wrong side of town. When she realizes that she looks like the age-enhanced photo of a missing child she decides to pull the ultimate con- until she begins to suspect she may actually be the missing girl. I absolutely love this book and can't wait for it to get out into the world.
Thanks so much to Eileen for answering my silly questions, as well as offering a lucky commenter the chance to win a signed copy of The Education of Hailey Kendrick. This was the first of Eileen's books I read and I found it so funny. :) To enter, all you have to do is answer a question of Eileen's, and at the end of the event I'll get Eileen to pick a winner (I'll send her numbers, like if 20 people comment, she'll pick from between 1 and 20).
Here's Eileen's question: since you asked me what I was reading- I'm curious what book your blog readers have read recently and enjoyed.