Thank you for visiting Jagged Edge Reviews. We have a lot of exciting reviews, guest posts, cover reveals and book blitz coming up! I apologize we are going through a bit of a change as we have been away for a short time but we are getting back into the swing of things! Just getting a bit organized again, please be patient.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Interview with Eileen Cook

Welcome to Jagged Edge!
would you like to tell us a little about yourself?
I live in Vancouver with my husband and our two dogs. When I’m not writing you’ll find me cheering on my favorite hockey team, knitting, rubbing dog bellies while watching movies, or reading.  I read a lot. Piles and piles of books. If I don’t have a stack of to-be-read books around I start to get nervous.

What inspired you to write?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I loved books growing up as a kid. I used to go to the library and run my fingers down the shelves until I figured out where my future-not-yet-written books would go and then shove my hand in to move the books to either side so I could make some room.  When I got older I decided being a writer was an imaginary job, like saying you want to be a princess. It was only later that I realized it didn’t have to be imaginary, it was up to me.

What authors influenced you as a writer?
I think all authors and books have an influence.  I absolutely loved Judy Blume growing up. I wanted her to show up at my house and tell me that I was her secret love child and then take me away to live in her house by the ocean where we would write books together. Alas, this never happened. Even though it is an odd match with Judy, I would also include Stephen King even though I don’t write horror. What I learned by reading his books was about emotion. Even though I knew he was making everything up, when I read his books I was terrified. I think it is impressive to create that kind of real emotion out of fiction.

Your favorite character?
This is easy!  My favorite character is whomever I am writing about at the time. When I’m in the middle of a book I am completely in love with my main character. I think they are brilliant and funny and I can’t wait to see how things will turn out for them.

What is your favorite Quote?
I’m a quote junkie. I can think of tons I enjoy, but one might be Carpe Diem which is Latin for “Seize the Day.”  Too often I find what really stands in the way of what we want is our own inability to go after it. I would much rather fail (and trust me I have plenty of times) then to have never tried at all.  I took a writing class once and the teacher suggested that I should start sending my stuff out to be considered for publication. I told her that I was afraid I’d be rejected. She looked at me and said “I hate to tell you this, but you’re already not published. The worst thing that will happen is that you still won’t be published.”  That was my aha moment. I knew I might fail as a writer, but there was also the chance that I just might make it and I’d never know if I didn’t try.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
I’d love to jump into Gone with the Wind so I could wear all those great dresses and have dramatic romantic relationships, but the Civil War would make that a bit of a drag, so I’m going to say Harry Potter. I think seeing Hogwarts would be something I’d never forget.

What is the one thing that every writer needs to have or do?
Every writer needs to believe in themselves and the story they want to tell. There will be a lot of people who will tell you that it can’t be done, that your story stinks, or that you’ll never make it.  You have to believe in yourself so you can survive. You’ll never write something that makes everyone happy, there will always be someone who doesn’t like it. If you can stay positive then you’ll do great. (Chocolate can help with this on really bad days)

Are your books different to your personal favorite books by other authors?
If you saw my bookshelves you would really wonder about me. I love reading all sorts of things from non-fiction, to mystery, to women’s fiction, to horror/paranormal novels, to mysteries, to comedies and everything in between. My books can be quite different depending which favorite you want to pick.  What I find my books have in common with my favorites is a tendency to see humor in strange situations and hopefully a story that is entertaining and keeps you wanting to turn the page.

What lead you to writing in this genre?
I love writing for teens. There is a great intensity because when you’re younger you haven’t had a chance to build up a huge emotional wall. If you fall in love no one has fallen in love like that before and if someone betrays you then look out! 

What inspires you the most when you write?
Deadlines.  Ha!  :   )    I like writing, it was how I chose to spend my time before I was published. I tend to collect odd and random ideas (like cat hair on nice black pants), things just stick in my head.  My brain starts trying to make sense of all these ideas and before I know it a book idea has popped up.  Once I have an idea I can’t wait to play with it and write.

How long does it normally take you to write a book and go through the whole process?
It depends on how you want to think about the process. I might play around an idea for years before I start writing. However, once I start writing it usually takes me about 7-9 months to write the book and revise it.  Then I send it off to my publisher who will send it back with more suggestions etc.

What are you most excited about this year?
So many fun things!  On the book side, this summer my Fourth Grade Fairy series is coming out and in January my new YA book Unraveling Isobel will be published.  I’m excited to see the books on the shelf and hear back from people. In the general life front I’m looking forward to spending time with friends and I’m going to NY this summer on vacation and that will be great. I love NY. 

What book do you wish to see come out as a movie? (of course all authors want to see their movie on the big screen but what other book would you like to see?)
I really enjoyed The Hunger Game series so I’m looking forward to seeing how they make that into a movie.  I’d also like to see Lisa McMann’s Wake on the big screen.

Funniest question you have ever been asked?
I was speaking at a school and a third grader asked me “Do you know the lady who wrote theHarry Potter books?” I said no. Then about five minutes later he raised his hand again and asked. “Why not?”    It made me laugh.

What happened while writing one of your books that you did not expect?
I usually think I have a clear idea of where the story is going when I start- I even have a nice outline that I’ve made. However, the story often surprises me with something happening that I never imagined at the beginning. As I get to know the characters suddenly new ideas start popping up everywhere.

As a writer, one thing that I didn’t expect was that I would get emails from readers. Writing is such a solitary thing. You sit at your desk making stuff up for months and then something like a year later it goes out into the world. It is amazing to hear from people (not even related to you!) who have read the book and liked it enough that they take the time to write.

Do you read the review when they are good and/or bad?
I always say I won’t read reviews, but I can't seem to stop myself. When my first book came out I would find myself reading a review which could be 90% positive and I would focus on the 10% that was negative.  I’ve gotten better about being upset over a bad review. I can think of some really popular books that I didn’t like at all.  Books are such a personal thing, what one person loves someone else hates. However, a great review feels amazing. When you’ve worked hard on a book it is great to know someone found all that work worthwhile.

What's next in life for you?
Lunch!  I don’t have a strict plan. I like the idea of leaving my life a bit open to see what happens. I have an idea for another book that I’ve started to write and I’ve gotten interested in writing screenplays so we’ll see what happens with that. All I know for sure is that I want to keep writing.

Was their a question you wish I would have asked but didn't?
I can’t think of a thing. Thanks so much for having me on your blog!

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