Guess what, ladies and gentlemen! I've got a special treat for you. Simone Elkeles has agreed to do an interview for me and for you! She is the author of such wonderful books as Perfect Chemistry, its sequel Rules of Attraction, Leaving Paradise and much more. Be sure to check them out!
A little bit about her, from her website.
She loves animals (she has two dogs – a labradoodle and a German Shepherd), kids (she also has two of those) and her family. In her spare time she’s the Hockey Mom for her kids hockey teams and is an active Girl Scout leader specially trained in outdoor education. She also spends time mentoring other teen and adult authors. (she also loves sushi, which you can probably tell by reading her books).
1) What/Who inspired you to become a writer?
I hated reading as a teen, but fell in love with reading as an adult. I just sat down one day and had an inspiration to write my own story, and I did it. I found the love of writing because it wasn't for a grade or to please a teacher, it was to entertain myself. Once I started writing, I couldn't stop.
2) When do you write? Do you find there is a specific time you write?
I am a mom, so I write when my kids are in school or after they're in bed. If I'm on deadline, then I write whenever my eyes are open and I'm awake. Deadlines sometimes are not fun. Sometimes I'll go to sleep for a few hours and set my alarm for 3am just because the house is quiet and there's nothing else to do but write.
3) What was the hardest part of writing your first (published) book?
I think starting a book is hard, especially because you know there is just soooo much ahead of you to go. But my first published book was a comedy and fun to write, so it wasn't hard.
4) Was there a time when you didn't want to be a writer?
Yes, from birth until I was 30 - before I fell in love with books.
5) What is your favorite part of writing/publishing? What aspect do you find yourself unable to wait for?
I love creating characters and stories. Because I don't write an outline, I am surprised at the ideas that come to my head as I'm writing...so the process of writing is exciting because I never know what's going to happen next. That said, because I don't plot beforehand I make mistakes. Anyone can find them in my books if you look hard enough (and even if you don't look hard enough, ha ha). I hate finding mistakes, but it happens. I can't wait to see my books in their final form...holding my own book in my hand is the most surreal and incredible feeling.
6) There seems to be a lot of controversy in the writing world about fanfiction. How do you feel about fanfiction based off your books?
I have been so busy on deadline lately that I haven't had time to read any fanfiction. I read one or two stories, and I think they're cute. I don't know about any controversy in the writing world about fanfiction, so you're more informed than I am. What I do hate with a passion is when readers search for "free downloads" of my books or any other author's books. It's absolutely illegal and really makes me angry. That must stop, because it's not fair to authors. Most authors are not millionaires and copying their work without permission is a really big problem.
7) Can you describe what it was like when you recieved The Call from your agent?
I cried. And I was shocked, because you never think your work is good enough and you're always second-guessing yourself. Writing is a business, but it's a very personal business because your books are your babies. I know people say you shouldn't take it so personally, but you do. When you put your baby out there in the world, the last thing you want to hear is, "That baby is the ugliest creature I've ever seen in my life!" My current agent, Kristin Nelson, is amazing. She is never afraid to tell me how it is, but she's very supportive of my work and definitely gives constructive criticism on how I can improve my work.
8) You've written a number of books. Do you do any specific marketing yourself or do you leave it to your publisher?
I do a lot of marketing myself, and even on my own hired Goldberg, McDuffie Communications for publicity for Perfect Chemistry. I've done rap video book trailers and even a book trailer for Rules of Attraction that was shot like a real movie trailer. I hired a film company in Los Angeles and had my friend Pete Jones direct it. I was super excited when Alexander F. Rodriguez signed on to be "Alex Fuentes" (He's from Katy Perry's Hot N Cold music video) and Giancarlo Vidrio signed on as "Carlos Fuentes." The response to the casting of my heroes has been overwhelmingly positive, and my fans are begging me for a movie of the books. I am a marketing machine, which probably stems from my business background. I can't help it - marketing is in my blood.
9) What appeals to you most about writing for teens?
I love the raw emotions of teens and how they're brutally honest - sometimes without a filter. Writing teen characters is the best, and so much fun I don't think I could stop even if I wanted to. I also get the biggest high out of reading my fan mail. I get the BEST fan mail. My fans are so passionate about my books and I love that. They inspire me to write more books.
There you go, ladies and gentlemen. Remember, Rules of Attraction, Perfect Chemistry's sequel, goes on sale April 13! I think everyone will agree with me when I say thanks so much for coming down, Ms Elkeles!