I’m thrilled to be touring one of my favorite authors, the extremely talented and very funny Eileen Cook and her book 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?
And now for the usual questions:
What inspired the plot for your book?
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
Why did you decide to write in this genre?
What I enjoy about writing for teens is the intensity. Everything matters so much more as a teen. It may be the first time you’ve had a particular experience from falling in love, to having your heart broken, to having a best friend betray you. When you love someone no one has ever loved like that- and when you hate someone, then they better look out. If you are hurt as an adult you know from experience that you’ll bounce back, but as a teen you aren’t certain. The flip side is also that as an adult you have lost the sense that anything is possible (Let’s be honest, if you are in your 40’s it’s pretty safe your chances of making the Olympic figure skating team has passed you by and it’s also unlikely you’ll move to Europe after falling in love with royalty.) As a teen, the possibilities are endless.
What is your writing process like?
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.
What are you working on now?
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.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Reading is the most common thing, but I have certain shows I love to watch including Glee, The Walking Dead and Castle. I’m also a huge knitter. I have yarn issues. I can’t keep my hands off of it
Who do you like to read?
How do you pick just one? I love everything from other YA’s to women’s fiction, literary fiction, non-fiction, historicals, mystery- you name it. Our house is stuffed with overflowing bookshelves.
“Hailey may be an A student headed to the Ivy League, but when it comes to taking a chance on life, she’s clueless. She’s also enormously appealing and great company throughout this breezy read. Yes, it’s chick lit, but of the highest quality—like a gourmet truffle. Cook has whipped up a real treat.” –Kirkus starred review
“Cook effectively builds both Hailey’s (justified) feelings of rebellion and the social dynamics of her ostracism, especially in her growing friendship with a challenging townie, Drew, who supervises her punishment working with the janitorial staff….Cook coaxes considerable empathy for the otherwise privileged Hailey as she abandons the achievement treadmill to explore her independence.” –Publishers Weekly
Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in six different languages. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer.
You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at www.eileencook.com. Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.