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.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

From Kelly & Tina @ YA Fresh!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Recommendation: The Clearing!

Every now and then Kelly and I like to chat up books that have particularly touched us, and I'm doing just that today by reporting on
The Clearing
by Heather Davis.

Heather and I are friends, and I had been meaning to read this book for a while, but you know the saying, "So many books, so little time." This week, with most of my holiday shopping behind me, I finally got the chance to crack it open. And what happened was that I found it almost impossible to put down.

Here's the blurb:

In this bittersweet romance, two teens living decades apart form a bond that will change their lives forever.

Amy is drawn to the misty, mysterious clearing behind her Aunt Mae's place because it looks like the perfect place to hide from life. A place to block out the pain of her last relationship, to avoid the kids in her new town, to stop dwelling on what her future holds after high school. Then, she meets a boy lurking in the mist--Henry. Henry is different from any other guy Amy has ever known. And after several meetings in the clearing, she's starting to fall for him.

But Amy is stunned when she finds out just how different Henry really is. Because on his side of the clearing, it's still 1944. By some miracle, Henry and his family are stuck in the past, staving off the tragedy that will strike them in the future. Amy's crossing over to Henry's side brings him more happiness than he's ever known--but her presence also threatens to destroy his safe existence.

The Clearing was totally engrossing for me, engaging my inner romantic as well as my reader's yearning for a fresh, interesting storyline. Add to this some lovely descriptive passages that absolutely made me feel that I was in the clearing with Amy and Henry, and no surprise that it's on the short-list for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award.

So for those of you still looking for holiday gifts, or are soon to receive holiday gift cards, I suggest you keep this heart-felt page turner in mind!

And be sure to check back for an interview with Heather Davis early next year.

Monday, December 20, 2010

We Have a Winner!

Thanks to all who entered the contest to win a copy of Heather Terrell's FALLEN ANGEL! And our winner is...


So Sydney, please contact me at, I'll get that book winging its way to you!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fallen Angel Giveaway!

We welcome Heather Terrell to YA FRESH today, to talk about her new Harper Collins series, Fallen Angel!

Hi, Heather, could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

I was actually practicing as a lawyer in New York City when I had the idea for my first novel, a historical suspense story called The Chrysalis. It took me almost ten years to write that book, but when I finally finished it, I showed it to an agent. She took me on as a client, and after more editing, I was fortunate enough to enter into my first contract with Random House. After writing two more historical suspense novels, I decided to try my hand at young adult books. My new series with Harper Collins entitled Fallen Angel -- is the result of that venture.

Great! Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

On a day that I’ve dedicated to writing, I get my family situated and then pour myself a huge cup of coffee. Afterwards, I head upstairs to my office, put on the music I’ve selected for writing that particular novel, and begin. I start by re-reading the chapter I finished the day before, consult my outline, and commence typing!

Please tell us about your novel, Fallen Angel, and what we can expect from your characters.

Fallen Angel is the story of two otherworldly teens, Ellie Faneuil and Michael Chase. They are determined to uncover what they are vampire, angel, or something altogether different -- and how they got this way . . . together. But the truth has repercussions neither could have imagined. Soon they find themselves center stage in an ancient conflict that threatens to destroy everything they love. And it is no longer clear whether Ellie and Michael will choose the same side.

At its core, Fallen Angel is a supernatural tale about true love, destiny, and the battle of good versus evil.

What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

The sequel to Fallen Angel will release in early summer of 2011. That novel is called Eternity.

Eternity tells Ellie’s tale as she comes to grips with her destiny as the Elect One, a fate that makes her relationship with Michael tense. Yet Ellie doesn’t have the luxury of time to work things out with Michael, because they are called to stand against the group of fallen angels who are bent on destroying the world. In order to face the evil heading her way, Ellie tries to put her personal life aside. But she soon learns that whoever holds her heart also holds the key to mankind's salvation or destruction. As the end days approach, Ellie is faced with an epic decision. Who does her heart really belong to? And is her love strong enough to save the world?

Would you like to close with a writing tip?

I have learned so many helpful writing tips from fellow author friends. The one that has proven the most useful, however, is also the simplest. Pick a time each day to write and stick to it whether or not you feel like writing. The words will follow.

Thanks, Heather!

* * * * *

Thanks so much! And now for our readers, the giveaway! We will be choosing one random commenter to receive a copy of Fallen Angel. Simply leave a us a comment telling us why it should be you!

Check back on Monday to learn the winner!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Baking (and eating) of Holiday Cookies!

Okay, so I’m no Martha Stewart when it comes to baking. BUT I still have the urge for some holiday cookies! Yummers!

So what do I think of when it comes to holiday cookies…?

Is it these…

Or these…


All good, yes, but when I bake Christmas cookies I have the most fun with Sugar cookies!!

When I was little my aunt would always make sugar cookies with frosting on top in reindeer and in santa shapes. But not only that they were so thin and light that they seemed to melt on your tongue. *sigh*

And with my mom, we'd always make our sugar cookie dough into fun shapes like candy canes and holly wreaths:

So this year with my kiddos I plan on making a big mess and continuing the cookie baking tradition!

How about you? Any favorite holiday cookies for you this holiday season?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Our Teen TV Show Giveaway Winner... Erin!

Erin, please contact me at and let me know which book you'd like: Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress by Tina Ferraro, or Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick!

Thanks to all who entered, and keep checking back...the giveaways just keep on coming!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Let's Talk Teen TV Shows (Giveaway!)

I was watching GLEE the other night (yes, I am a Gleek) and thinking back on various TV shows featuring high school and teens I’ve seen over the years. I thought it would be fun to mention some "oldies but goodies" here for those of us who have down-time over the holidays and feel like going back...

Gidget (1960’s)

A one-season wonder featuring life on the beach (and around town) starring Sally Field!

Welcome Back, Kotter (1970’s)

A former student becomes a teacher at the inner city school he'd been so happy to once leave. And check out John Travolta in one of his earliest roles.

Square Pegs (1980’s)

About misfits in high school. I recall the tag line being “One size does NOT fit all.” And notice a very young “Sex and the City” Sarah Jessica Parker.

Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990’s)

Tagline (thank you, Netflix): A Kansas family relocates to Beverly Hills, where their two children adapt to the infamous social drama of West Beverly Hills High.

So now it’s your turn, and I purposely left the door wide open! Tell us some other TV shows that featured teens in high school that you think others might enjoy tuning into it. One winner will be randomly chosen and can pick between a signed copy of Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress by Tina Ferraro, and a signed copy of Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick!

Giveaway ends--and winner announced--on Monday, December 13th!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Amazon Gift Card Winner

Thanks to all who entered this past weekend's contest and told us a book they are planning to purchase or hope to receive!

And our winner, chosen by my random number generator, is...


So, Lucia, please contact me at, and I'll get you the $10.00 gift certificate!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Holiday Shopping Giveaway!

Kelly and I have long been proponents of books as holiday gifts for friends and family of all ages, which not only helps support the publishing industry, but enriches minds and sometimes draws in new readers.

Last year, some of you may remember, my 2009 release, The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, made’s “Great Gifts for Teens” List.

Well, this year we are excited to report that Kelly’s 2007 release, Graffiti Girl, has been earmarked by for a
bargain price just in time for the holidays of only $3.98.

In celebration of the season, and hoping that you will consider books for your gifts, too, we will be giving one commenter a $10.00 gift card. All you have to do to be entered is tell us a book that you’re either planning to purchase as a gift or hope you receive!

Best wishes to all who enter...and check back on Monday, December 9th to see the winner!