~Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Author Interview: Elieen Cook

I visited with a psychic once. The woman ended up being so far off the mark that I felt sorry for her; I felt like I hurt her feelings. Then my friend saw my psychic one Saturday night at Barnes and Nobles, scouring the Fortune Telling section with her nose in a Tarot card book. I don't feel sorry for her anymore.

So when Eileen Cook approached me about reviewing her new book, Unpredictable, about a girl who fakes psychic powers to win back her boyfriend, I was immediately interested. It's a charming story of a less-than-perfect heroine who will go to any length, including the oddest of things—posing as a psychic to negatively influence her ex's new girl—to get him back. And by less-than-perfect, I really mean Sophie Kintock is a slightly insane Bridget Jones. To illustrate, the novel opens with Sophie justifying what would most likely award her incarceration for breaking and entering her boyfriend's condo:

I would also point out that technically:
  • I’m not breaking into his condo but only the building’s laundry room, which, as anyone would tell you, hardly counts as a crime at all.
  • Since we lived together for six years before he moved out, in many ways any place of his is a place of mine as well.
  • Not to mention I haven’t broken anything to gain entry so it’s more like just entering.
Doug would point out that technically he is not my boyfriend since he broke up with me, but that’s a situation I plan to remedy.
I consumed the book in one sitting—the plot moves quickly enough that I didn't want to wait to find out what happens next. It's a lighthearted and enjoyable read that's perfect for by the pool or on vacation.

Mrs. Cook was also able to grant me an interview about her book:

You said in your research you visited several psychics. What's the most off-mark prediction you received? Was there anything that made you think twice?

One psychic told me that my relationship with my son would be difficult for a few years, but then we would be closer than ever. As I have no children (unless you count my dogs– and they're both girls) this was the most off comment I received. I didn't have any predictions that gave me the willies, but there were some that seemed reasonable. Overall, I found most of them very general and would fit for almost anyone, so I'm staying a touch skeptical. I am open to having my mind changed and I've heard other people have stories where they got very specific and what they felt were very accurate readings.

Is it detrimental to believe in wonder and magic?

I completely believe in wonder and magic– but I'm skeptical about people who say they have special powers. I think we can get caught looking for knock your socks off magic and miss the real magic– the feeling of falling in love or finding a killer pair of shoes on sale– in your size.

What about soul mates?

As for soul mates– I do believe that there are those rare relationships that seem destined. You just click with that person. However, I don't think there is just one person out there for us. I think depending where life takes you– you may meet different soul mates. Except for my husband– I always tell him I'm the only one for him.

There is no real description of the main character, Sophie Kintock, in the novel in regards to appearance and style. Is that because a piece of her exists in all of us?

There is a scene early in the book where Sophie describes herself as "overall average" and I had her avoid being too specific. I wanted readers to be able to have their own version of her and be able to place themselves in her shoes. There is no doubt that Sophie is way over the top, but I hope she embodies the idea of doing the things we might think about– but would never do.

I loved how Sophie tried to drive her ex crazy by stealing half of each pair of socks and moving his car to different spaces in parking lots. I wish I thought of those first. Do you have any other harmless retaliation ideas?

Being evil is way more fun than being good– especially in fiction when you don't have to pay any consequences for your actions. I really enjoyed having the chance to come up with wild plans for Sophie to carry out. If I think of any other great retaliation plans I'll be sure to let you know.

Care to share the most desperate thing you did for love? Did it work?

My high school years contained many pathetic desperate bids for love. These including the infamous calling and then hanging up (these were the days before caller id thank God), getting friends to get inside information on the object of my affection and general stalker like behaviors. Tragically none of these well planned strategies resulted in obtaining love. I dated my now husband through university and then we broke up. I took a leap of faith a year later when we went from not dating at all to getting engaged. A few people thought we were insane, but so far it seems to be working out.

I just read on your website that Unpredictable has been optioned for a movie by New Line Cinema. What actress would you like to play our heroine?

I never considered the idea that Unpredictable would be optioned for film so when the call came it was a total shock. I would be open to the idea of many actresses, but if I had to pick one I think Anne Hathaway would be interesting. I would love to know how they will adapt the story and then the chance to see it on the screen, plus I'm hoping if I go Hollywood I can meet George Clooney.

What other authors are your influences?

I am a huge reader. Some of my earliest memories include my parents taking me to the library and bringing home stacks of books. I enjoy reading a wide range of things from non fiction, to mysteries, to literary fiction to romantic comedies. I believe everything we read has an influence from learning the craft and inspiring us to do better. Some of my favorite writers include John Irving, Meg Cabot, and Minette Walters, of course ask me in another week and I'm sure I'll have a new stack.

Is there a message in your novel that you are trying to convey?

My largest goal was to make a book that people would enjoy and would make them laugh out loud. What people believe, why they believe it, and how they filter information to support their existing beliefs is fascinating to me and I enjoyed exploring it in the book using the ideas of psychics, skeptics and true love. If people think about those issues after reading the book that would be great.

Anything else you would like to share with your readers?

As a reader I know how many choices there are– so many books, so little time. I really appreciate everyone who gives a new writer a try, it's much easier to pick up and spend your money on an author you already know you'll like. I hope they enjoy Unpredictable and I would love to hear from them at eileen@eileencook.com

The first chapter of Unpredictable can be read at Cook's website here.

Unpredictable is available from most on-line merchants. Amazon's is here.

If you would like your product, book, or website reviewed on this blog, please e-mail me here.


Cara said...

Great blog entry. :-)

AmyD said...

Nice interview, lady!! Wish I had written a book, so you could interview me. *sigh* Well, I guess that's not the ONLY reason why I wish that, but you know what I mean. ;o)

I just went on Amazon and bought the book. If you liked it, I know I will! Thanks for the suggestion!

Eileen said...

Well Amy D- you are my new best friend. I hope you like it.

Let me know if you finish your book and then I'll interview you on my site- a sort of play it forward kind of thing.

AmyD said...

Eileen: You're ON! :o) YAY!!!!

WiscoBlonde said...

Nice review! I've been sent books to review before but I never thought to ask for an interview! I like your style!

Katie cat said...

I've heard of that book... now that I know what it's about I'll have to check it out!


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