Hi guys! Today’s post is a very exciting one! I contacted Eileen Cook, an author, to do an interview for my blog! It was super fun working with her and I really hope you guys enjoy this little interview.
1. What inspired you to write WITH MALICE?
There were a few things that came together to form the idea of this book. I’m fascinated with long-term friendships and how they survive and evolve, or don’t. I knew I wanted to write about two friends who had been in a relationship for so long that at times it was hard to tell where the good parts and the bad intersected. I’d also worked for over twenty years in the field of vocational rehabilitation assisting with people with injuries and illnesses as an expert for the BC Supreme Court. I had done a lot of work with individuals with brain injury and taking the opportunity to explore identity and relationships when you can’t trust your own memory was exciting.
Once I wrote a full draft of the manuscript I knew it was missing something and two other pieces of inspiration fell into place. The first was that I was planning a trip to Italy and it occurred to me to set the book there. I did a semester abroad while in college. It was an amazing experience, but there is something very disorienting about being so far away from home and your own culture. I felt it would give Jill an extra push to explore her friendship if they were out of their current element. As I prepared for the trip I started to read more about the Amanda Knox trial and that motivated me to add the pressure coming from the media- where everyone else is deciding your guilt or innocence based on very little information.
The final bit of inspiration came from the first season of the Serial podcast by NPR. (If you haven’t listened- download it- you’ll thank me.) It’s a true crime story about a murder trial that happened in the 1990s. With each person that told their story I would shift my feelings. “He’s totally innocent! He’s guilty! Wait-he’s innocent!” I wanted to see if I could recreate that feeling for readers by providing them with new perspectives that might change how they felt about the storyline.
2. Where’s your favourite writing spot?
Wherever I happen to be! I’m lucky in that I can write almost anywhere- the beach, a coffee shop, on vacation, on the sofa, or in the library. Most often I write in my office at home. My office was the former screened in porch, so I have lots of windows to the backyard and I’m surrounded by some of my favorite things including my two dogs who keep me company.
3. Who inspires you? (Another author, someone in your life?)
4. When did you begin writing?
I always loved books and stories. My parents have a homework assignment I did in second grade where we were supposed to practice writing sentences and instead I strung mine together to make a story. The teacher wrote on the bottom “I’m sure you’ll be an author someday.” Turns out teachers are pretty smart.
The first time I can remember thinking that writing books was something I wanted to do was when I was 11 or 12. I’d gone to the library and picked up a book by Stephen King, Salem’s Lot. The librarian tried to discourage me from reading it- declaring it too scary. I remember being offended because I was a very mature kid and I understood the difference between make believe and real and I figured how scary could something I knew was fake be? Turns out- really scary! I slept with the light on for weeks. I thought it was amazing that this writer had made something up, something I knew was fiction, and yet it felt so real that I had a real emotional reaction. That’s when I knew that is what I wanted to do.
5. Did you always know you wanted to be an author?
The moment I fully understood that someone actually made the stories and books I loved reading, I knew it was what I wanted to do. In between the desire and the realization there were a lot of tears and rejection- but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
6. Any books you’re currently working on?
Yes. I am just finishing up my new book, THE HANGING GIRL which will be out in October. This is our back of the book blurb: Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions are helping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readings have always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs to start a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realizes the people she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discover their true identity before it’s too late.
Writing this book gave me an excuse to learn how to read Tarot cards and research psychics- so it was a lot of fun to write.
7. Do you have a writing buddy? (Pets?)
I do! I have two dogs, Cairo who is a mutt and Gimlet who is a West Highland Terrier. Both of them stick pretty close to me while I’m in my office and I’ve been known to talk about plot points with them and force them to listen to me read aloud various sections to see if they’re working. They are great listeners (at least as long as I bribe them with dog cookies.)
8. Are you a night owl or morning person?
I’m much more of a night owl than a morning person. I tend to do my best writing in the afternoon, but I can stay up to the wee hours reading (and have been known to do that exact thing.)
9. What are a few of your favourite books?
Oh so many books, so little time. Some of my favorites include: Gone Girl by Flynn, anything by Jennifer McMahon, A Prayer for Owen Meany by Irving, and The Little Stranger by Sarah Water. I recently read several great books (some which aren’t even out yet) Never Let You Go by Stevens, The Party by Harding and The Sisters Chase by Heally. Keep your eyes peeled for these.
10. Would you rather never be able to read again or never be able to write again?
This question is a total nightmare to me. I can’t fathom being able to give up either. You might as well as would you rather give up your heart beating or being able to breathe. The two are so connected in my head. If I absolutely had to give up one it would be writing. The idea of living in a world without stories is more horrific than I can imagine.
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 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.
I hope you guys enjoyed this interview!
Bye bye for now,