Thursday, December 30, 2010

What's Fresh with Eileen Cook's The Education of Hailey Kendrick

Hailey Kendrick always does exactly what's expected of her. She has the right friends, dates the perfect boy, gets good grades, and follows all the rules. But one night, Hailey risks everything by breaking a very big rule in a very public way...and with a very unexpected partner in crime. Hailey gets caught, but her accomplice does not, and Hailey takes the fall for both of them.

Suddenly, Hailey's perfect life--and her reputation--are blowing up in her face. Her friends are all avoiding her. Her teachers don't trust her. Her boyfriend won't even speak to her for long enough to tell her that she's been dumped.

They say honesty is the best policy--but some secrets are worth keeping, no matter the cost. Or are they?

Hello Eileen, great to have you back with us! Please tell us what inspired you to write The Education of Hailey Kendrick.

Eileen: The inspiration came in part from coming across a copy of The Scarlett Letter. I’m very interested in how the process of what everyone thinks of us shapes how we view ourselves. If your identity was suddenly taken away- how would you respond?

As a writer, what made you take that step to try for publication?

Eileen: I took a writing course and my instructor encouraged me to send my writing out. When I told her I was worried that I might be rejected she told me “I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you are already not published. The worst thing that is going to happen to you is that you still won’t be published.” That’s when I decided to stop letting my fears be more important than what I really wanted.

That is one wise writing instructor! So, Eileen, what is your writing process like?

Eileen: I desperately want to be one of those writers who have a schedule and routine, alas, I am not. Rather than having a typical day I set weekly word count goals, and leave myself the flexibility to have shorter or longer writing days depending on where I am in the story, how well the words are coming on a particular day, and what else may be competing for my attention. I do try to write a bit each day in order to stay connected to the story.

Unlike some writers who feel tortured by their muse and find the creative process painful- I love writing. If I don’t have a project on the go I feel out of sorts and as if something is missing. When I sit down and let the story take my complete attention is my favorite part of any day. I’ll write in my office, at the beach, at the library-anyplace I drag a notebook or my laptop.

Could you share a random favorite quote?

Eileen: I’m a total quote junkie too! I can think of zillions of favorites, but my current is “Well behaved women rarely make history.” Eleanor Roosevelt. It reminds me that playing it safe all the time doesn’t get you very far.

Thank you again for sharing with us, Eileen. Best of luck with all your future projects. Would you like to close with what you are working on now?

Eileen: I have a middle grade series coming out for young readers (ages 8-10) in the Spring called The Fourth Grade Fairy. I’m also hard at work on my new YA novel. I’m working on a gothic story with the working title of Haunting Isobel. It has a creepy old house, a family mystery, a brooding handsome man and a possible ghost. It’s been a tremendous amount of fun to write so far.

Eileen Cook spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. When she was unable to find any job postings for world famous author, she went to Michigan State University and became a counselor so she could at least afford her book buying habit. But real people have real problems, so she returned to writing because she liked having the ability to control the ending. Which is much harder with humans.

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

2 fresh comments:

TinaFerraro said...

Great to have you back at YA Fresh, Eileen...and this book and your work in progress sound great!

Beth said...

Great interview, and I love what her writing instructor told her too. Thanks for introducing me to Eileen and her book. Sounds like a great story!