Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter Extravaganza: Eileen Cook

Eileen Cook is the author of The Education of Hailey Kendrick.

SUMMARY: Hailey Kendrick always does exactly what's expected of her. She has the right friends, dates the perfect boy, gets good grades, and follows all the rules. But one night, Hailey risks everything by breaking a very big rule in a very public way...and with a very unexpected partner in crime. Hailey gets caught, but her accomplice does not, and Hailey takes the fall for both of them. Suddenly, Hailey's perfect life--and her reputation--are blowing up in her face. Her friends are all avoiding her. Her teachers don't trust her. Her boyfriend won't even speak to her for long enough to tell her that she's been dumped. They say honesty is the best policy--but some secrets are worth keeping, no matter the cost. Or are they? (Publishes on January 4, 2011.)


Describe your book in two sentences?

Hailey Kendrick runs her perfect life exactly by the book, she never met a rule she didn't like to follow. When she finally breaks a rule in a big, and very public way, she has to decide how far she'll go to keep certain details under wraps. They say honesty is the best policy- but some secrets are worth keeping.

Okay that was three sentences. This is why I write books instead of poetry- I write too much.

If you could pair Hailey with any character from another book (romantically), who would it be and why?

Johnny Depp. Wait! That is my fantasy of who I would get paired with. I think Hailey belongs with a very particular someone, but I can't tell you who it is until you read the book. I'm not sure if I could pick anyone better for her.

Did you have any input in the cover design? How did you react when you saw it?

I have the best publisher in the whole wide world. I love my editor. I would tattoo her name on me if that wasn't weird and sort of stalker-like. When I turn in the book my editor always asks if I have any specific ideas of things I would like to see for a cover. Then the cover designer, Cara, reads the book. This is a big deal. Not all designers read the book. It's fairly common for designers to simply to ask for a sheet that lists what the main characters look like and a short one paragraph summary. I really appreciate that she takes the time to read the whole book and get a feel for the story. Then Cara and my editor send me some drafts and let me weigh in with my thoughts.

Opening the picture with the cover for the first time is always a bit like Christmas. I thought this cover was perfect for the story.

What are the best and worst Christmas presents you ever received?

The best present I got was last year. My husband became very sick right before Christmas. We ended up rushing to the emergency room and he had surgery. It was all very scary. He was released in time for Christmas Eve. Talk about a good reminder that the most important gift is having the right people in your life. For the record, I also remember my parents getting me the most awesome ever boom box (this was when we thought it was cool to have a music player that was the size of a large shoebox. Very pre-iPod) in high school. I still have it and if cassette tapes ever make a come back, I'll be able to play them.

The worst gift I can remember was from my great Aunt Agnes. My Aunt Aggie was a bit nutty, although in my family we call it eccentric because that sounds better. She gave me a spoon. Just one. All wrapped up. I have no idea why anyone would think someone in high school would want a single spoon. I wondered if the next year she would give me the fork and eventually I could collect a whole set, but nope just the one spoon. I think I still have it too come to think of it.

Have any holiday traditions you do with your family?

I live on the West Coast a zillion or so miles away from my extended family, so most holidays it is my husband and I with the dogs. On Christmas Eve we tend to do an Open House and invite all of our friends that live also far away from family. There are snacks, cocktails and cheesy Christmas movies on the TV. Then I force my husband to stay up until midnight so we can open presents because-HELLO? there are presents and I can't wait anymore to see what is inside. On Christmas Day we go to a brunch at a fancy restaurant in town because then there are no dishes to do. We come home and lie around digesting.

One of my favorite things to do after Christmas is to sit down and look at all my New Year Resolutions from last year and see how I did. Then I write down what I want to accomplish in the coming year. It gives me a chance to think about all the things, good and bad, that happened over the year.

What are you favorite things to eat and drink during winter?

My favorite thing to drink is hot chocolate. I've become a TOTAL hot chocolate snob, no cheap Swiss Miss with fake marshmallows mixed with water. No sir. I like the high end chocolate shavings mixed with hot steamed milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Mmmmm!

Picking a favorite thing to eat is more difficult. There are always Christmas cookies this time of year. My husband makes a molten winter spiced chocolate lava cake that is to die for. I also love a big Christmas turkey with stuffing. I think stuffing is one of the best foods ever created. Who knew soggy bread would be so good. This entire question is making me hungry.

If you were stuck outside during a blizzard, who would you want with you and why?

If I were stuck outside in a blizzard I would want to have my friend Jamie with me. She has an inner-GPS navigation system so she would be able to figure out the quickest way home. In college we traveled all over Europe and she was always able to sort out which way we should go. I would still be wandering the back streets of Paris if I had been by myself. On the upside after all these years I might finally be able to speak French. Plus, Jamie has a great sense of humor so even if we were dying of hypothermia we'd be laughing about it. You can't over value having a good friend.

What do your two adorable dogs think of winter/snow?

Views of winter are split in this house. It doesn't snow very often in Vancouver. We have weather like Seattle, lots and lots of rain. When it does snow Bailey (our Westie) sees this as a good excuse to lay in front of the fireplace and engage in her favorite hobby, napping. Cairo (our mutt) views falling snow as a possible threat that needs to be taught A VALUABLE LESSON. He rushes outside and barks at the snow as it falls from the sky. Then he flops around making dog snow angels and ensuring that he will drag the maximum amount of snow back into the house.

Eileen, thank you so much for answering my questions! (:


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*Remember, you can get an entry into the comment contest by leaving a valid comment about this interview! Full rules, entering, and details by clicking that link.


  1. Ah, poor Aunt Agnes! That's actually really funny. I wonder what she was thinking you'd think of that single spoon...Ha!

    And, good to hear that your husband is better. That is such a scary Christmas memory!

    Thanks for the interview!

  2. Awww, your dogs are so cute. I would love to see that, your dog barking at the snow asi if it was a threat. That made me smile. Thanks for the interview.

  3. love the cover of the book. i didn't know cover designers don't read the books they are designing usually. love hot chocolate in a cold night too--especially the real, non-swiss miss type :)

  4. A spoon. Just one? LOL. Thanks for the great interview! I haven't heard about this book, sounds interesting.

  5. Mary D

    Oh, Bless Aunt Agnes' heart! Just ONE spoon, huh? Wonder if that knife & fork will show up later? ;D

    PS - No way, I got first dibs on J. Depp! lol

  6. Great guest post! I don't have any idea what I'd do with a single spoon either. Craziness!

  7. awesome post. that picture of her and her dogs are uberly cute :)
    love how she answered the questions


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