Monday, January 04, 2010

Presenting Eileen Cook!

It is my great pleasure to present to all of you, regardless of your state of sobriety, the adorable and talented Eileen Cook.

I first met Eileen at RWA Nationals in Atlanta a few years ago. She had been a regular commenter on another group blog I participated in (oh, how I miss thee, Literary Chicks) and wanted to know exactly how pissed off I was at the fact that no one could tell her comments from mine. One look into her big beautiful eyes and I wasn't pissed off at all, although I did later insist that she be given a nick
name to tell us apart. Please feel free to refer to her as Shoop from now on.

What followed has been, for me, a beautiful friendship. We've done a workshop together and traveled a bit together and Shoop is a peach, even when her pneumonia is acting up so badly that she makes a funny little squeaking sound every time she inhales. Her books make me laugh in embarrassing snorts, she likes red wine and we're thrilled to have her here as our guest at Drunk Writer Talk.

As an added bonus, Eileen is offering to give away a signed copy of her latest book, GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD to one lucky commenter here this week!

Without further ado, here's Eileen!

What inspired you to write GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD?

I was an English major in college. I recently re-read THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. It had everything- best friends, betrayal, revenge, secret identities. I started to think how interesting it would be to play the story out in a modern day high school, from there I was off and running. I also believe the desire for revenge is universal. Most people I know have been hurt at some point in their life and dreamed of getting that person back. Writing about it was very cathartic.

Your first book, the extremely funny and touching UNPREDICTABLE, was a chick lit novel. You've made the switch to writing YA with WHAT WOULD EMMA DO and now GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD. What led you to that change? Was it difficult to make that swtich?

The change was remarkably easy to make. I don't see a huge difference in writing for teens versus adults. YA books are dealing with a range of subjects and if anything the intensity is that much stronger. When you're a teen you haven't built up a crusty exterior yet, you feel things deeply. When you love someone, no one has loved like you have, and when you hate someone...look out. This intensity makes it really fun to write. There is also the possibility that I never really grew up and that is why writing for teens feels so natural.

WHAT WOULD EMMA DO? is also a retelling of a classic. What is about retelling or re-imagining a story that attracts you to a project?

I was one of those weird people who actually enjoyed reading the classics in school. One reason people tend to dislike them is because they see them as un-relateable. They can't imagine how the characters have anything to tell them in this time. I love playing with the story and seeing how it can be played out with a modern twist. The themes are timeless. I've been contacted by a few English teachers who have used my book in conjunction with the original classic. If something I write has the opportunity to make people more interested in reading the the classic then I'm thrilled.

What's next for you?

I am very excited to announce that just before Christmas I signed a two book deal with my publisher. I'm working on a book that is a twist on THE SCARLET LETTER. I'm also working on a middle grade series with a girl who comes from a fairy godmother family. The only wish she's interested in granting is her own- to be normal. Unfortunately for her, being normal doesn't come easy.


Molly O'Keefe said...

Eileen! So good to have you back. Your YA's are fabulous - And congrats on the Christmas Sale - what a gift! I love your series (series? That's not the right word - your take? Your YA mentality?) Whatever - I like what you do with the revamping of classics - The Scarlet Letter is a fabulous idea!!!

Your books remain the shiniest out there every sentence seems crafted with care and tuned for the most humor or most empathy - I love it. Thanks for coming by!!!

Alli said...

Hello Eileen (or do you prefer Shoop? That is a great name, BTW). Great blog today, both Eileens - and Shoop's books sound fabulous. I love the idea of making classics appealing to YA readers of today. Anything that gets people reading is awesome - and your books sound like loads of fun. Thanks for stopping by!

Maureen McGowan said...

I'm a huge Eileen fan (books and person) and can't wait to read this latest one.

Eileen C (Shoop) and I first made contact via blog commenting, too. See, it works. ;-)

SavvyChick said...

Eileen is shockingly talented, which would annoy me, if she wasn't such a delightful person. Can't wait to pick up my copy of Getting Revenge.

Eileen said...

SavvyChick, I know just what you mean! Not only is she funny, smart and kind, she can knit socks! Good thing she's so much fun or I'd have to occasionally pinch her really hard when she wasn't looking.

Sinead M said...

Seriously, can we call you Shoop.. love that nickname and cannot wait to read your YA's. They sound wonderful.

Eileen said...

Gosh. I feel so shoopy. Thanks everyone.

Molly O'Keefe said...

SHE KNITS??? Okay... enough is enough

Eileen said...

Yes. She knits.

I can't take credit for her nickname. I suggested Maple Sugar which Lani Diane Rich then shortened to Shug and said it would inevitably become Shoop anyway so we should just stop wasting time and call her that.

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