[Although this post was originally published on December 9, 2009, I actually “met” Eileen Cook at The Debutante Ball in 2006. Of course, I featured Eileen and her debut novel, Unpredictable in 2007, but the “free” homemade Blogger site being used at the time (with three years of posts) became infected with a virus and was immediately whisked away in May 2009. Yes, one second it was there, the next second everything was gone. Six weeks later, I started over with The Divining Wand and brought back as many “lost” authors as possible.
And Eileen Cook (Unpredictable, Fourth Grade Fairy, What Would Emma Do?, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, The Education of Hailey Kendrick, Unraveling Isobel, Do or Di, The Almost Truth, The Year of Mistaken Discoveries, Remember, ans her most recent, With Malice) who had found her niche as an acclaimed YA author was reintroduced in the following Q&A. Enjoy!]
To know Eileen Cook — even if it’s limited to virtual reality — is to know a witty, wise, and most thoughtful author/friend. As one of the Founder Debutantes in that first Class of 2007 Ball, she debuted with the romantic comedy novel, Unpredictable, in a voice and style that could make anyone smile. Since Eileen understood that Young Adults need to smile through the challenges of adolescence, her second book, What Would Emma Do? became her YA debut and earned this praise from Meg Cabot, Grand Dame of the genre: “Sassy and sly and sweet all at the same time, this book made me laugh out loud.”
Eileen’s next YA offering, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood will be released January 5, 2010 and a full presentation is scheduled to be posted here on January 4, 2010.
The author’s official one sentence bio:
Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs.
Yet please read on…because for The Divining Wand, Eileen Cook is most revealing!
Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Blessed, Creative, Laughter, Content, Friendship, Family, Books/stories, Busy
Q: What is your motto or maxim
A: I’ve always wanted to have a motto. The closest I can come up with would be Carpe Diem- Seize the Day. I believe those who win in life are those who aren’t afraid to fail spectacularly. I would much rather try something and have it not go well than to not have ever tried at all.
Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: A good book, a hot cup of tea, a warm dog in my lap and my husband nearby to share a laugh.
Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: My greatest fear is losing someone I love. While I understand no one can live forever, it would be nice if we could keep all of those near and dear to us with us forever. My irrational fear is spiders. I have been known to do a high pitched squealing dance move while flapping my arms in the air when spotting one. Once, one horrible night, I woke up and turned on the light to go to the bathroom. Swinging, mere inches from my face was a spider. If I hadn’t woken up it would have continued to lower itself until it was TOUCHING MY FACE. It could have crawled into my nose and laid spider baby eggs in my sinus cavity. (shudders) I still can give myself the whim whams when I think about it.
Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: I’m a homebody. I love Vancouver. It is a beautiful city, we’ve got mountains, oceans, and great restaurants. What more could any girl want? Not to mention the Olympics will be starting soon and I’ve got my husband and dogs here. Let’s hear it for home for the holidays! However, I’m betting that I want to stay home is a boring answer, so my second favorite city is London England.
Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: My mom. She has this wonderful sense of peace about her. Even when things are going crazy around her she’s able to exude grace and calm. She’s taught me that difficult things can be handled by taking things one step at a time, surrounding ourselves with supportive people and taking the time to laugh once and awhile.
Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: Oh I have several that I use in conversation and cut out where I can in my writing. The two I see most often are:
– Technically as in: “Technically, it doesn’t count as stealing if you plan to give it back.”
– It is what it is : I’m not sure when I started this Zen pithy quote, but I say it alllll the time.
Q; If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: Only one? I’m torn between my desire to be able to sing and being coordinated. I love to sing, but trust me when I tell you that I should never, ever, ever sing aloud in public. However, in the confines of my car I really belt it out. I’m also a total klutz. I’m always falling down stairs, tripping over dust, bumping into things and dropping breakable objects. While being able sing would be a dream come true, not hurting myself or others might come more in handy.
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: This is a hard question. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished with my writing, but I think my greatest achievement might be my marriage. Not only are we still married after 15 years, but we actually still like each other. I’ve known my husband since I was 19! It is easier to grow apart than it is to grow together. We work hard to make sure things stay on track and I’m lucky to have him as a best friend.
Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: I’m a worrier. If worrying was an Olympic sport I would take the gold. I can worry about things that haven’t even happened yet and may not even be physically possible. All this worry and anxiety can eat up valuable time and emotional energy. I have made some progress; I used to worry a lot about what other people thought. Now I’ve come to realize that I don’t actually care what many people think of me and in fact, many of those people aren’t even thinking about me to start with.
Q: What’s your best quality?
A: My sense of humor. I’m able to find the humor in almost every situation. If you can laugh, even when things seem their darkest, then they are just that bit easier to manage.
Q: What do you regret most?
A: I’ve made my share of mistakes, maybe more than my fair share, but I don’t think I would take any of them back. Some of my most spectacular screw ups have led me down different roads that all added up to where I am now. It’s the age old problem with time travel. If I went back and changed one thing, how would that change ripple out and what else would be changed?
Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: I think being a dog in a well loved home would be pretty good. Lots of time to nap in the sunshine, no job, regular walks, not a lot to worry about, belly rubs and the occasional chew toy. I look at my dogs and think they a good life. The downside would be the food is boring dry kibble.
Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: When I’m really laughing, not a chuckle, but a full on laugh, I make this loud snorting sound. I used to hate it and be embarrassed by it. Now I figure, it’s part of my charm.
Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: As someone who is nearly terminally uncoordinated, I admire anyone who has athletic talent. I have been known to fall over while running even thought there is apparently nothing to trip me, it’s like my feet just forget what they’re supposed to be doing.
If I could meet any athlete, I think it would be interesting to talk to Jesse Owens. He was the African American Olympic athlete who won the gold medal at the 1936 Berlin games. His winning was a slap in the face of Hitler who believed in the supremacy of “superior races.” I would love to know how he was able to focus with that kind of pressure going on.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: People who don’t listen.
Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Reading! I love books. We’ve recently moved and I almost couldn’t believe how many books we had in the house. I usually have them spread out in different rooms so I don’t notice how many there are until they are all in one place. My parents are both huge readers and growing up there were weekly trips to the library, a tradition I’ve kept up on my own. I can look through my bookshelves and remember what books I was reading or authors I had discovered at different times in my life. Books have the amazing ability to help you make sense of something happening in your life or to take you away from real life all together.
I actually get anxious if I’m trapped someplace without a book. I have one with me at all times. This is why I carry a big purse.
Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Being a writer! As someone who loves books, I feel so very lucky to have a chance to tell my own stories. Plus- what other job lets you make stuff up all day while wearing your jammies?
Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Honesty, Kindness, Sense of humor
Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Warm bread, fresh from the oven.
Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: I can’t pick five- too much depends on my mood, but I love Christmas music, Broadway show tunes, 80’s rock (yes, I know it’s cheesy), Jazz (Norah Jones and Diana Krall are two favs) and anything that you can dance to.
Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: Picking five books is even harder than picking five songs! Impossible! There are just too many good books. One of my favorites as a kid was The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and as an adult a favorite is A Prayer for Owen Meany.