Monday, October 08, 2007

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents Jennifer Echols

As much as I say I'd love to spend an entire weekend on the sofa, in practice it's not as much fun as it sounds. The knees got really sore on me, so I tried to stay off my feet for most of the weekend. And wouldn't you know, it was at a time when there wasn't anything I wanted to watch on any of the flavors of HBO and nothing I was really keen about OnDemand. I did have a couple of DVDs I needed to watch for a project I'm working on, and I read. Otherwise, I did get kind of bored. I found myself actually wanting to clean house. It seems that only happens when I'm on a tight deadline or physically incapacitated.

I'm actually semi-mobile today (I'm not in pain anymore, but I'm strangely aware of my knees) and I'm debating whether to run some errands or take one more day of minimal walking. In the meantime, I've got another guest on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, Jennifer Echols, author of The Boys Next Door.

Lori has spent every summer on the lake, swimming and wakeboarding with the three boys next door, and working at the boys’ family marina. Lori is close to Adam, the “baby” of the family, who's her age. But secretly, she’s always had a thing for the middle brother, Sean. And this summer, Sean actually seems to be—dare she think it—flirting with her. She figures he’s only being nice because they're like family, since he’s not into younger girls. Until he steals Adam's (even younger) girlfriend.

Lori and Adam team up to get Adam’s girlfriend back, and to get Sean for Lori. But then Lori begins to notice ADAM. He’s grown taller. More mature. And Lori thinks Adam is interested in her, too. And that’s when their ploy finally works. Adam gets his girlfriend back, and Lori gets Sean. The right couples are finally in place, and everything should be smooth sailing. So what’s with all the waves?

Now, the Interview:
What inspired you to write this book?

I grew up on beautiful Lake Martin in Alabama. My older brother and I spent all day playing on the lake, and I fell in love with his hilarious and unattainable friends. So this book is full of sun, fond memories, and longing.

Describe your creative process.
My creative process is the biggest mess you have ever seen. I start by plotting, but along the way I begin writing the book by the seat of my pants without meaning to--a little of chapter 2, a little of chapter 10, the ending, the beginning. When I'm about halfway through the word count, I can't find anything anymore. I have a little nervous breakdown, read through what I've got, and regroup. Once I've adjusted the plot and made some tables and charts, I can write through to the end quite happily. Believe me, I have tried to streamline this process, with no success. I am what I am.

Do you have any writing habits or rituals?
I get up at 4:30 a.m. and write until I've filled my word quota for the day. I make a soundtrack of the book and listen to that on my iPod as I write. LOTS of caffeine is involved.

How much, if anything, do you have in common with your heroine?
Lori, the heroine of THE BOYS NEXT DOOR, is basically me at sixteen. I didn't realize what I'd done until several people told me this. She's a tomboy and a dork, but she means well!

What do you think the appeal of the guy who doesn't seem to notice you exist (or that you're female) is?
THE BOYS NEXT DOOR is all about that problem. I think at heart it's a self-worth problem. If you don't have a well-developed sense of self-worth--like adults going through tough times or transitions, and most teenagers--then you think the guy doesn't notice you because you're not good enough. Luckily, as you grow older or fight through that difficult period in your life, you realize you ARE good enough, and if the guy in question doesn't understand this, he is the Loser.

Chocolate: dark or milk?

What are you working on now?
My teen drama BOY IN BLUE, about a troubled teen sentenced to night patrol with the 19-year-old rookie cop who arrested her, will be published by MTV Books in February 2009. Right now I'm working on what I hope will be the follow-up book, a teen drama called NO PARKING.

Is there anything else you'd like to say about this book or the process of writing it?
If you enjoy sunshine, first love and boy-fights, I hope you'll check out THE BOYS NEXT DOOR!

For more info, check out Jennifer's web site. Or, you can buy the book at Amazon.

Tomorrow I think I'll do my TV season so far post.

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