Monday, January 30, 2012

Charming Canucks: Interview and Giveaway with Eileen Cook

I sometimes feel as if Canadian YA authors aren’t as well known as their American counterparts. Charming Canucks therefore is a new feature I’ve created that will be posted every other month in an effort to spotlight more Canadian YA authors and their books. I’d love it if you could leave some comments on these posts, and hope you enjoy the upcoming interviews and giveaways. 
Today, I'd like to welcome Eileen Cook, the first author to be featured as part of Charming Canucks.

A bit about Eileen (as found on Goodreads): Eileen Cook 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 her, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.
Unraveling Isobel, your latest book, was released on January 3 by Simon Pulse. Give three reasons why everyone should read it.
1) It's a fun mix of creepy and funny
2) Who doesn't love a ghost story?
3) My mom says it is awesome and you wouldn't call my mom a liar would you? 

If you had to pick one character from among all those you have created, which one would be your favourite? (I know I'm being evil ;) My personal favourite is Hailey because she's so neurotic). 
Oh evil question. I'm glad you like neurotic, I think all my heroines are a bit bent in that direction (this may say a lot about me). Of course I love all my characters for different reasons, but I tend to be most in love with one that is in the book I am currently writing. I think it is because I am in her head at the time, it's like being in a really intense love relationship. At the moment I'm finishing up a book with a character named Sadie. She's a teen age con artist. I adore her.

You’re known for writing light-hearted, humorous YA contemporaries. Is there another genre you’d love to try your hand at someday? Is there a genre you could never see yourself writing?
If you saw my bookshelves you would think I must have reader ADD. I read everything, historicals, thrillers, mysteries, non-fiction, science fiction, paranormal, YA, adult... you name it and there is likely something on my shelf that fits. I would love to try writing in every genre, the problem I have is that I have a hard time not being funny. Even when I'm trying really hard to be serious, it can come out as funny so my chances of writing a very serious literary novel are slim. I'd try writing any genre, I really enjoy the storytelling process, which is a good thing because writing 300 or so pages takes a lot of time. 

What is your writing process like? Are you a pantser or a planner?
I am a panster by nature, but have developed plotting skills. I have about a zillion books about writing. I am fascinated by all the different ways writers approach their craft. I really enjoy a book called Save the Cat. It is about how to write screenplays, but is really helpful for organizing a book. Now when I start a book I use the structure in that book to lay out the key story points. However, my panster nature is still there - I leave lots of room for things to develop as the story comes along. 

Describe your writing space.
My office used to be the sun porch and it has been closed in. I have lots of windows so I can look out into the back yard (this lets me keep an eye on my dogs who are doing their best to dig as many holes as possible). I have a couple chairs in the office so I have space to sit and read (or knit ). One of my favorite things in my office is the old typewriter that used to belong to my grandfather. When I was a kid I would play writer in his office when visiting. The typewriter is from the late 1920's and weighs at least fifty pounds. I need to keep my desk fairly clean when I am writing or else I can be easily distracted. 

Do you have any writing projects currently planned? If so, can you give a hint of what to expect.
I do! Right now I'm calling the book Shady Sadie, but I'm leaving myself open to changing the title. It's the story of Sadie, a teenage con artist, who when she discovers that she looks like the age enhanced photo of a missing child, decides to pull the ultimate con … until she begins to suspect she might actually be the missing kid. 
This book is scheduled to come out in December. 

Quick Questions:

What's the best thing about living in Vancouver?
The ocean. I love being around water.

You go on a cross-country trip across Canada. What is the one place you have to visit and why?
Just one place? I want to go to Montreal, I've never been. 

What's your favourite book by a Canadian author and why?
One of the best things about being a writer is I sometimes get a sneak peek at books that aren't out yet. There are two new YA's coming in 2012 by Canadian writers that I give a big thumbs up to – The Right and the Real by Joelle Anthony and Never Enough by Denise Jaden. 

A huge thank you to Eileen for taking the time to answer my questions! 

Eileen can be found on: [her blog] [her website] [Twitter] [Facebook] [Goodreads]
Click here to find out more about Eileen's books!
For this giveaway, one person will get the chance to win one copy of any of Eileen's YA books. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Interesting interview.
    i'ven't read any by you yet but i'm planning to and this international giveaway is a great opportunity

    thanks you a lot

    all the best

  2. Thanks for this international GA ^^
    I love typewriter too, I used to stay hours in my dad's office and play with it (I was like 4 or 5 :D)

  3. Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it to worldwide entries.

    Eileen is a new author author to me and it was good to learn a bit about her in the interview.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  4. A spotlight for Canadian YA authors?! YES! This is the BEST! You're brilliant, Z.

    I have a sever case of reader ADD, too. Though I still need to expand on it. I tend to get stuck on certain genres. And I love funny, especially in the more 'heavy' or emotionally charged books I read. I think adding a bit of humor to any situation helps relieve some tension.

    I love the premise for Shady Sadie. It almost sounds like that film, Matchstick Man (which I loved), but with a really interesting twist.

    P.S. I definitely wouldn't want to accuse your mom of being a liar. :)

  5. I'm glad you're featuring Canadian authors. Great to learn about someone new.

  6. Yay, a Canadian author! I don't see too many interviews with them :)

  7. "3) My mom says it is awesome and you wouldn't call my mom a liar would you?"

    Ha! No, definitely would not call your mom a liar, so clearly this book is beyond amazing:) I got to visit Vancouver once in high school and it was just gorgeous. My family and I are big skiers, so we had a blast up there. Thanks for the interview Eileen and Zahida!

  8. Wait, Unraveling Isobel is a Gothic ghost story??? I totally wrote it off as a contemporary issue book. What was I thinking?! I'm totally adding it to my TBR now! :D

    I didn't realize she is the same author who wrote Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood. I haven't read that book yet either, but I have it on my TBR. I love books with mean girls, and I can't resist the cover.

    I like the sound of the teen con artist book, too. I'm going to have to keep an eye out for when that releases. Thanks!

    And thank you for the giveaway!

  9. haha Well if your mom says it's awesome then I guess I have to read it! but seriously I've been in the mood for some good ghost stories, so I am in!

    Great Canadian interview :)

  10. Great post I enjoyed Unraveling Isobel it had a good mix of creepy and humor! I didn't know she wrote these other books though! Go Canada! :D I'm in the Maritimes! <3

  11. Great feature!! Though perhaps I'm biased in thinking that :) I'm not sure why I didn't pick up on the fact that Unraveling Isobel is a ghost story.

  12. This is such a good idea for a column! (I guess that's the best word for it..? Not sure) I love hearing about new-to-me authors and Shady Sadie is definitelyyy going on my to-read list :)

  13. Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood was easily one of my favorites of last year - I'm looking forward to reading Unraveling Isobel!

  14. Oh my gosh!!! A feature that shows the world how awesome Canadian authors are?? That's so amazing, Z! I don't think that we Canadians get enough spotlight either, even when there are awesome authors like Eileen Cook in our wake! ;) <3

    I love this interview! I would NEVER say that your mom is a liar LOL but you're right about the other thing, too: Everyone loves a ghost story! When I first saw the cover for Unraveling Isobel, I would've never guessed "ghosts," but the fact that is about them makes me super intrigued! :)

  15. I love reading about Canadian authors, good feature! =)

    Thanks for the giveaway as well.

    I'm looking forward to reading 'Never Enough' by Denise Jaden, so it's cool that Eileen mentioned it.

  16. Love the idea for a Canadian author showcase! I think Shady Sadie sounds like an interesting concept for a book. Thanks for the giveaway and spreading the Canadian love :)

  17. I've read a couple of her books but still need to read her newest one. Maybe I'll get to meet Eileen one day since she lives in Vancouver.

  18. Oh my gosh! I never knew she was Canadian (woo-hoo!!) ... I absolutely ADORED her book The Education of Hailey Kendrick!

    It must be awesome to live in Vancouver! I've been there once and really enjoyed the ocean :) I live in B.C too! I loved this feature <3 Can't wait for more!

  19. Thanks for the giveaway! I've had my eye on these books for a while now! I think it's great to give Canadian authors a chance in the spotlight :)

  20. I also live in Canada. By the way, Canada is great!

    I hope I win, otherwise you'll have made someone happy!

  21. I also love reading in the sun :)

  22. Thank you for the giveaway! I live in the UK and I mostly here and know about American YA authors. I like this idea as there seems to be awesome YA authors out there from Canada! One of my friends I meant thought blogging is a author from Canada called Patti Larsen and I love her writing.

    Eileen sounds like an awesome author I love the sound of her knew book!

    Thanks for the interview & giveaway!

  23. I love that you've spotlighting a Canadian author, I've noticed a lot of really good ones from up north in the YA field and we're planning on doing the same! Great interview. :)

    Wendy @ at The Midnight Garden

  24. Just joined your blog. This giveaway looks great! Thanks for remembering your followers!!

  25. Anonymous4:19 am

    I also want to go to Montreal! I would love to read this book!

  26. I love funny YA contemporaries with neurotic characters, so I look forward to reading your books. I'm glad to have stumbled upon this feature because I also feel that Canadian authors don't get as much recognition as they should. Your grandfather's typewriter sounds charming.

    Thank you for the giveaway!:)

    Sarah Bibi Setar


I love comments and will reply back via either email or stopping by your blog. Please note that this is an award-free zone.