Thursday, January 07, 2010

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents Eileen Cook

I only thought I survived the return to ballet. The thighs started complaining mid-afternoon yesterday and are still mildly stiff. I will not, however, do something like take a walk to loosen them up, as we're in the grip of the coldest weather to hit this area in 14 years. We won't be above freezing until maybe Sunday. I suppose I'll have to do some indoor exercise -- probably jumping up and down and yelling at the TV during the national championship game tonight. Hook 'em Horns!

After a holiday hiatus, the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit is back. As a refresher, this is a group of women writers who tour through each other's blogs when we have book releases. I think it's a fun way to learn about other authors. I'm in the group that includes young adult books, since what I write tends to have more in common with that field than it does with the more serious romance and women's fiction in the other group. There's a lot more fantasy/paranormal in the YA group. So, anyway, my guest this time is Eileen Cook, author of the book Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, which sounds like so much fun that I absolutely must find a copy the next time it's warm enough to leave the house.

In the final weeks of eighth grade, Lauren Wood made a choice. She betrayed her best friend, Helen, in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Ditching Helen was worth it, though, because Lauren started high school as one of the It Girls--and now, at the start of her senior year, she's the cheerleading captain, the quarterback's girlfriend, and the undisputed queen bee. Lauren has everything she's ever wanted, and she has forgotten all about her ex-best friend.

But Helen could never forget Lauren. After three years of obsessing, she's moving back to her old town. She has a new name and a new look, but she hasn't dropped her old grudges. She has a detailed plan to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that's ever been important to Lauren—starting with her boyfriend.

I interviewed Eileen about her book:
Be honest here, is there even a tiny scrap of the inspiration for this book that comes from real life -- any old scores you're settling in fiction?
Like most people, I did have someone close to me betray my trust. So if you did something mean to me in high school and now you wonder if what happened to your jeans wasn't an accident since you read this book, I can neither confirm or deny anything for legal reasons! Truthfully, I think fictional revenge is much more fun than real revenge. First of all you won't go to jail which is a bonus, and anything you can imagine you can do.

As a teen, were you more of a Lauren or more of a Helen?
I was much more of a Helen. I used to swear I was invisible in high school. I wasn't popular, but I wasn't unpopular either. It used to make me want to do something to really make an impression on everyone, like run naked screaming down the hall or declare in front of the entire school that I was in fact an international spy who was in the witness protection agency- but I never did.

If you could catch up now with someone who hurt you as a teen, what would you like them to know about you -- about how you felt then or about what's become of you?
I would like to know why. What was the point? I don't understand the need to be mean to other people. I'm fine with not liking someone. I don't care if you don't want to hang out with someone, but to be mean to someone because of the way they look or what they believe, makes no sense to me. I would want them to know that I turned out just fine. Life is good.

If someone had been gunning for you in high school, what would have been the things most important to you that they'd have targeted?
I spent a lot of high school worrying way too much over what people thought of me. It took me awhile to understand that the only opinions I should be worried about are my own and the people that matter to me. If someone was gunning for me (then or now) they would go after the people I care about. I am one of those people who will do anything for my friends. Go ahead- make fun of my outfit, but make fun of my friends and look out.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I am working on a new YA that will be out next year around this time. It is a reworking of The Scarlet Letter set in a modern day high school. I'm having so much fun with it! I'm also working on a middle grade series where the main character is a part of a fairy godmother family. The only wish she wants to grant is her own- to be normal. Sadly for her- normal doesn't come too easy.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about this book?
I guarantee this book will make you laugh out loud. A full on- snort Diet Coke up your nose kind of laugh.

For more info, visit Eileen's web site. Or you can stock up on Diet Coke and order the book from Amazon.

You know, when I saw the premise, I immediately went, "Ooooh, it's all my revenge fantasies!" but then when I started thinking about it, I never had anyone really betray me like that. My school was possibly an odd one because our popular girls were popular because they were really nice to people. Our mean girls weren't popular. I may not have been BFF with the popular girls, but they weren't mean to me (I was actually "school friends" with the popular girls -- we had a lot of classes together and hung out some at school, though I didn't get invited to their after-school stuff). I was mostly upset with the boys, who all seemed to really enjoy hanging out with me when we were working on our homework but who never considered me as someone they were willing to date. That was the kind of betrayal I felt, where I thought a guy was showing interest in me and that inviting me over to study was a prelude to starting to go out, only to find out he was actually already dating someone else and wasn't the least bit interested in me for anything other than school work. I might have thought about some way of getting back at one of those guys while I was still in high school, but I'm not sure that even then I'd have wanted to actually hurt them. That's the kind of thing where living well is the best revenge, and I got that at class reunions. I know now that I wouldn't have wanted to marry any of those guys, and I was a late bloomer (I think I'm far more attractive in my 40s than I was as a teenager), so it's fun to think that they may not have wanted to date me then, but now I'm way out of their league.

My revenge fantasies tend to be more in the professional realm these days, and even there, it's more of a "living well" scenario, not that I would mind if certain people ended up having torpedoed their own careers by making bad decisions involving me.

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