Friday, April 23, 2010

Getting to Know Eileen Cook

I've always said that the best thing about writing Here Comes Your Man was making so many wonderful new friends.

Well, it has recently come to my attention that the vast majority of these new "friends" are imaginary, but no matter—I'm 97% sure that novelist Eileen Cook is a real person, and she more than makes up for all the rest.

Eileen is the author of three novels—Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do?, and Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood—all of which I absolutely loved. A few years ago, Eileen did me the great favor of reading an early draft of Here Comes Your Man, offering a slew of valuable feedback. She also wrote the beautiful blurb that now graces my book's back cover. (Okay, so now she's starting to sound too good to be true, even to me...)

Eileen recently interviewed me on her own blog, and now I have the pleasure of hosting her here. (I'll let you decide for yourself whether or not I made her up...)

You’ve said that Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood was inspired by The Count of Monte Cristo—what drew you to that particular story?
My undergrad degree was in English Literature. Because I think it makes me look smart, combined with my obsessive hoarding disorder when it comes to books, I still have most of the books I had to read in University. Now that I have time, I enjoy pulling them off the shelf and reading them again without worrying about a test or having to write a paper on some obscure image or theme. When I was re-reading The Count of Monte Cristo I realized how delightful it is to watch someone go after revenge. Most of us think about it at some point, but to see someone really go for it, makes for a great guilty pleasure. I started thinking how the story would play out in a high school setting. I loved the idea of being able to go back to high school under an assumed identity and right some wrongs. The story wrote itself quickly which leads me to believe I had some unresolved issues from high school.

Your protagonist Helen gets a chance to start over with a whole new identity. Is there anything from your own teen years that, given the chance, you might go back and do differently?
I can think of approximately a zillion things that I would do differently. Note to my teen self: There is such a thing as hair that is "too big." Duran Duran is not the best music known to man. Invest in Apple stock. Getting a part in the school play is not the most important thing that will ever happen in your life. Even though you will get stood up for your junior prom and you will be crushed, later you will realize he was a huge weenie and you had a far better time going with your friends.

Of course the problem is that if I took all the pain out of my teen years then I wouldn't have anything to write about now.

I read in another interview that your wish to be a writer started pretty young. Do you remember the first piece of fiction you ever finished and what it was about?
My parents framed for me the first story I ever wrote. It was in second grade, I called it "George the Sighkyatrist." (That would be Psychiatrist - except for the fact I couldn't spell). While the story does have a plot, a man seeks psychological support for sleepwalking, it isn't exactly a page turner. In fairness, it was only one page long. I think it is safe to say I have improved.

I also have notebooks full of angst filled poetry that I wrote as a teen. I made emo kids look upbeat. I was a huge fan of the repeat line.

My heart throbs,
A dark and empty drum.

I plan to burn these notebooks before I die.

Your Simon & Schuster profile says that you’ve read A Prayer for Owen Meany five times. John Irving is one of my favorite writers too, so I’m curious—what keeps bringing you back to Owen Meany?
I love this book. I find something knew in it every time I read it. I love the themes of destiny and redemption and the characters pull me in every time. It's a wonderfully quirky book, but somehow he pulls it together so that it feels honest and true. I'm thinking it takes special talent to make stuffed armadillos and killer baseballs work.

Everyone who visits your adopted hometown of Vancouver comes back talking about how beautiful it is. Is it really a wonderful place, or do they just brainwash the tourists?
Despite common wisdom that would have people believe Canada is all igloos, mounties, and lumberjacks, there is more. Vancouver is great and we rarely have to cope with stray moose in our backyard. (Although if I'm honest we have had a couple of bears.) When we first moved here in 1994, it was supposed to be for a year. We just never left. Now I say "eh" and watch hockey. I've gone native.

Now we just have to get you and your family to come visit.

What are you working on now? (And when do we get to read it?)
I am working on a YA that was inspired by The Scarlet Letter. (I knew that English degree would come in handy) It is tentatively titled The Vindication of Hailey Kendrick and will be out next January. Stay tuned as the title may change. The truth is, I stink at titles. How it is possible that I can write a whole book and be unable to come up with a catchy title is a mystery to me. This is why I need an editor.

Thanks for coming, Eileen!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Amazon, je t'aime!

Okay, so Amazon was a little slower than Barnes & Noble to start selling my book. And yeah, it hurt a little...I thought Amazon and I had something pretty special.

All is forgiven now though, because Amazon has not only started selling Here Comes Your Man in the US, they've also got it listed on their sites in the UK, France, Germany, and Japan!

For the moment, there do seem to be some international supply issues—the French site lists the book as "temporairement en rupture de stock," which sounds extraordinarily painful. But's exciting just to be listed.

I'm still waiting for Amazon to activate the LOOK INSIDE! feature that will allow you to flip through a few pages online, but until they do, you can view a 14-page PDF sample right here. (And if you don't have Acrobat on your computer, you can view the sample through Google Docs here.)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ready or Not, Here Comes Your Man!

I approved the final proof of Here Comes Your Man on Tuesday, and I've been anxiously checking for a listing ever since. Just for kicks, I decided to give Barnes & Noble a try, and there it was...

Am I excited? Well, my hands are shaking and I'm having some difficulty breathing...does that count?

Holy crap.

For the record, the pricing here is a little wonky—the book is supposed to list for $12—but B&N has discounted it below that anyway, so it's all good!

Hopefully Amazon adds the paperback to their system soon. Even if they don't, I should have the Kindle version available over there later today, for those of you who prefer your books sans papier. I'll also try to get a sample of the book up somewhere here...and then the entire Hysterical Publishing team and I are going to take a nap!