Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Writer Routine Wednesday: Eileen Cook

Hey, all!

It's another week of my new blog segment:Writer Routine Wednesday, where every Wednesday from now until the end of August, I will host an author. We'll get to know them better and their books as well as hear them describe their usual writing routine.

Maybe you'll pick up an idea they use for yourself!
Lots of great prizes are scheduled too!

So, please welcome author Eileen Cook today and hear about her writing routine!

Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in six different languages. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. Her latest release, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood was released in Jan 2010.
You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

Thanks for stopping by, Eileen!

Please describe a “typical” writing day for yourself. For example: Do you get up have your coffee, check e-mail, then write to a certain time? Do you have a set word or page goal when you do write?
I roll out of bed and take the dogs outside. In addition to the unconditional love that comes from having dogs there is the added benefit that you rarely oversleep because they want out. Then a quick dash on the treadmill and a shower. I am not a coffee drinker, which is practically a crime here on the West Coast where there is a coffee shop on every corner. I am however, a total tea junkie.
Tea in hand, usually around 8am, I tackle my email first. I secretly hope that every day there will be something fabulous in my email. If there is no email from Oprah begging me to be on her show, then I let myself check out a few blogs before I realize that I am never going to hit my writing target for the day if I don’t get started. I don’t set a daily word count goal, but I do have a weekly goal. This gives me the option to write like a crazy woman one day and then take the next day off if I want. It seems easier to give myself this flexibility, because life changes for me one day from the next.

I start writing by reading over the past few pages that I’ve written. I try to never stop writing at the end of a chapter if I can help it and instead like to leave off in the middle. This lets me jump right into the middle of things. The day then progresses between writing and beating my head against the desk- depending on how things go.

Do you have another job outside of writing? (Being a mommie definitely counts!!) If the answer is yes, describe how you balance the two and how much time you devote to each.
My “day job” is as a counselor. I specialize in working with people who have had catastrophic injuries or illnesses. When I sold my second book I went to part-time. So far this is a good balance for me. I have enough time to write, have at least a couple days a week where I put on grown up clothing and find I’m more productive on the days I do write. I wrote my first two books while working full time. It can be done, but being able to work part time has let me had more balance. I don’t write well late in the evening and I’m not even functional before 6am, so being able to write during the day is a luxery.

Are you a laptop, PC, Alphasmart, or by hand kind of writer?
I am a total Apple junkie. If Steve Jobs made it, I probably own it. I have an Apple laptop that I use for most of my writing. When I get stuck (and there is a point in every manuscript when I’m stuck) the way out is to switch to pen and paper. Something about writing by hand seems to shake things free.

Plotter or panster? If you’re a plotter, how much time do think you put into plotting before writing.
I am a panster by nature, and a plotter by practice. This is due in part because my editor wants to have some idea of what I’m planning to do before she’ll write a contract. (Those publisher people are so fussy) The more I write the more I find it handy to spend at least some time plotting things out before I start. I tend to spend a couple of weeks thinking about the plot, the characters and brainstorming different options. When I’m done I have a plan for the book, but I leave myself open to chucking the plan and going where the book takes me if a new idea comes up.

Some writers make collages or listen to or create music soundtracks for their work-in-progress? Do you do any of those or have you thought about doing one of them?
I’ve tried EVERYTHING. I’m made collages, music play lists, made alters to the muse, interviewed my imaginary characters, and created mind maps. If someone tells me they know a way to make the writing easier or better I’ll give it a shot. I own pretty much every writing guide available.
So far I’ve found different things work at different times. I haven’t found one secret trick that works for me every time other than to keep moving forward. As the saying goes- you can’t fix a blank page. I’m also quite fortunate to have a great editor and agent who are available to bounce ideas around.

What’s your favorite book on writing?
Can I pick more than one? I love On Writing by Stephen King, Save the Cat by Blake Synder and The Anatomy of Story by John Truby.

What’s your favorite fiction book you’ve read so far this year?
Can I pick two? I know, I know, but I read a lot. I loved The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.

What’s your favorite way to reward yourself after you’ve finished writing a book?
I feel like I should say something exciting like swilling champagne on a yacht, but I typically kick back on the sofa with my husband, our two dogs, a bottle of wine, and catch up on what I’ve missed while I had my head down.
The absolute BEST reward comes a year or so later when you finally get to see the book on the shelf. I still feel like busting out my dance moves every time I see the books there.

Congrats on your success, Eileen! And thank you so much for sharing a little of your writing routine and life with us today!

Eileen's recent YA book is Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood and is available on Amazon, B&N, and a book store near you! Here's a little bit about it:

Popularity is the best revenge.
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.
Watch out, Lauren Wood. Things are about to get bitchy.

Doesn't that sound fun?

CONTEST: Eileen has generously offered to give away a signed copy of her book GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD to some lucky commenter!

Please leave a comment below to be entered to win. The giveaway contest will run from now until Thursday 11:59PM (EST). I will announce the lucky winner this Friday!

Good luck and get into your writing routine!


Tabitha Bird said...

Awesome. Sounds like a great book. Please enter me in the draw.

Heather Sunseri said...

Love the interview, Jennifer. Nice to meet you, Eileen. I enjoy hearing other writers' routines. Always looking for ways to tweak mine.

Rula Sinara said...

Great interview Jennifer and Eileen! I love the book cover. It's very attention grabbing, and as bad as revenge is, I have to admit I chuckled at Barbie :).

I also use pen and paper when I'm stuck. Funny how a change of media can help. Thanks for sharing your writer routine.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Wow, Eileen...seems we have a lot in common. I stopped drinking coffee while out West (Seattle of all places). I'm a tea fan. Also, my mom always tries to talk me into becoming a counselor b/c I enjoy listening to people and understanding them.

And I just posed a question on FB about whether our family should take on two dogs.

P.S. I also got into The Hunger Games. Can't wait til my neighbor lends me Catching Fire.
~ Wendy

Piedmont Writer said...

Great interview Jennifer, thanks for sharing all your secrets Eileen.

Your book sounds absolutely wicked and I can't wait to read it. It's on my list now.

And walking the dogs is the best prescription to getting the muse fired up for the day I think.

Justine Dell said...

Finally another tea drinker like me!!! Coffee if blah! Sweetened, or unsweetened? I'm a sweetened girl myself.

Great interview!


Terri Tiffany said...

She sounds fun! I love reading the answeres to the questions and that she could go parttime after her second book--that is awesome!

Susan Fields said...

That book does sound good!

A friend suggested a while ago that I set weekly goals rather than daily goals, since you never know what the day will bring. I think this is an excellent idea!

The Hunger Games is my favorite book this year, too. :)

Thanks for an awesome interview!

Linda Kage said...

It's nice to meet you, Eileen. Love the cover of your book!

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

Thanks so much for the great interview. I love reading about other writers routines. Makes me feel less strange perhaps ;) Yay for the Hunger Games!
Jen, sorry it's taken me so long to comment I'm getting used to my follower influx as well as having company but I know you've been commenting and I will get better about it soon promise promise. I appreciate it everytime you stop by and wanted to let you know it hasn't gone unnoticed I've just been super busy!
Have a great one!

Jen said...

Jennifer this was another spectacular interview!!! I loved it and the book cover made me laugh out loud! It looks so good, I must have it!!! I'd love to win!!!

I love the daily routine, and being a conselor, even part-time has to give you great rewards. What a fabulous life :)

Happy Wednesday to you both!

Eileen said...

Thanks everyone! I did do something very right because the cover gods smiled upon me with this book. The designer, Cara, nailed it.

Who knew there were so many of us tea drinkers out there?

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I enjoyed this interview Jennifer. Eileen, I love that you stop writing in the middle of a scene or chapter instead of at the end. That's a great idea to be able to pick up quick and hopefully less painfully the next day.

And the book sounds interesting--what a great attention grabbing cover :)

Amy R. said...

I adore Eileen! She's such an inspiration. This was a great interview!

Marcy said...

I love hearing about authors' writing processes. Thanks for sharing!

Wow, Eileen, what a great premise for a story. I'd love to read it!

Tiana Smith said...

I always love hearing about authors who have made it and their processes :) Thanks for including it here, and the trailer is awesome! LOL. It looks like it'd be a fun read.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great cover! :)

I like that Eileen says that different methods work at different times and for different stories - nice to hear!

Tamika: said...

Love the blurb, cover, the video! I would love to be entered.

It's always amazing to get a peek into another writer's life. Thanks ladies.

patti said...

thanks for introducing a couple of new writing books via Eileen.

Thought I knew 'em all, but Save the Cat?

Have to try THAT one, don't we??


susanwilson44 said...

Love Blake Snyder and Stephen King. Your book sounds fab, will definitely put it on the "to buy" list.

melissa said...

I have an award for you at my blog.

Talli Roland said...

Great interview! I love Stephen King's book 'On Writing', too.

Thanks ladies!

Kate said...

Great interview, great book trailer, and now another book i need to add to my to-read list:)

Diane said...

That book trailer was great! Simple but pulled me along.... :O)

Stephanie said...

The trailer was so cute!

Karen Lange said...

Good interview! Thanks to both of you for sharing this.
Karen :)

R.M.Gilbert said...

Jennifer, so glad to read you'll be hosting other authors through August. It's been great. I'm a little late making blog visits today since my son is attending basketball camp all week, but I'm thrilled to have the chance to stop in now.

Eileen, fist off, congratulations on your successes. I'm not much of a coffee drinker...ever actually. I'll drink tea or chocolate milk. --Yes, I know very grown up of me. :)

I like that you transitioned to a 'sort-of plotter' I think that'll be the road I take as well.

Your book looks fabulous. And seeing as I belong to a YA crit group, I'll spread the cheer and send them this way.

So great to read about your process, thanks for sharing.

rebekahlpurdy said...

Awesome interview! Woohoo!

Eileen, your book sounds fab and I love the cover!

Um...yeah, my dogs don't ever let me sleep in either. LOL. As soon as they hear my alarm they start barking because they know it's time to go out.

BecK said...

Great interview.

Also, the book sounds great. Go Helen. I like the fact she's going to steal Lauren's boyfriend away from her.

MaryC said...

Another great interview, Jennifer. Eileen, the book sounds like so much fun and I loved the video - especially the cat at the end. LOL

Thanks for sharing your routine. I only have one dog and he's a bit of a slugabed, but you're right, they do keep you from sleeping in too long. Not that I'm always grateful.
~ Mary

Lydia Kang said...

I'm a tea drinker too!
Your books sounds like some fun reading. Thanks for the interview and letting us meet you!

Carolyn V. said...

Great interview! I love that she loves to read. =) Plus the trailer rocks!

Jennifer Fischetto said...

I adore the premise of this book. It sounds like something I'd love. Good luck with the book, Eileen.
Thanks for the opportunity and awesome interview, Jennifer. :)

Talei said...

Great interview Jennifer and Eileen! I enjoyed reading it and also the book cover is hilarious! Love it and the trailer! FAB. ;)

Susan R. Mills said...

I love it... the rest of the day alternates between writing and beating my head against the desk. Sounds just like me. Only I'm a huge coffee drinker. Best of luck with the book, and Jennifer, thanks for hosting this great interview.

Bossy Betty said...

Thanks for the interview! Always so interesting to hear how different writers work!

Amy Holder said...

Great interview! I love Eileen & her writing! Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood has definitely been one of my favorite books this year. It's so fun to be able to read the inside scoop about her writing routine.

PS: I already own the book, so you don't have to count this as a contest entry. :)

Vicki Rocho said...

LOVE the cover! This one looks fun! Blogger needs to have a little button that says "Add this to my wishlist" it would make it sooo much easier on me!

Ca88andra said...

I'm very glad I just stumbled into this blog. Consider yourself followed!

Keri Mikulski said...

Great interview!! :) Huge fan of Eileen's. :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Love the title! And I'm a little scared by the premise. *grin* Very interesting, please enter me! And thanks for the interview. It's always fun to read about other writers' processes.

Julie Musil said...

A big thank you to Eileen for offering one of her books. "Revenge" sounds like such a fun read!

Jennifer, I just received "Pucker Up" in the mail from Rhonda Stapleton. Thanks again for doing this fun series with published authors.

Samantha Bennett said...

Great interview! I like the idea of weekly goal counts instead of daily. Gives you some breathing room. :)

Elana Johnson said...

I'm so glad to read that Eileen is a pantser, but that plotting can be done too. I need to work on this.

And I LOVED Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood! Great book. :)

Aubrie said...

Great interview with very helpful answers!

I like the idea of a weekly goal. I'm going to have to try that!

Em-Musing said...

Loved this interview. And her book sounds like fun

Debora said...

I love the cover of your book! Thanks for the run-down of your day, my cat gets me up every morning, so I know what it's like not to get to sleep in...LOL

Kara said...

I love getting to know all these writers! Enjoyed the interview:)

Eileen said...

Thanks everyone! It's nice to see some familiar faces. If anyone has any questions I'm happy to give them a shot.

Thanks for having me Jennifer!

T. Anne said...

Eileen. You had me at one glance of your book cover. I beg of you to choose me. I will happily review your book on my blog!!

Dawn Simon said...

I enjoyed the interview! I agree: it's easier for me to jump back in if I didn't stop the day before at the end of a chapter. Eileen, your cover is awesome and the book sounds really fun!

I'm not too late to enter this week. Woo-hoo!

Jennifer Shirk said...

T. Anne: If you're going to do any begging, you must do it to me. I randomly pick the names. :)
Mu-wa-ha-ha-ha! (evil laugh)

Donna Hole said...

A great routine; except for the dogs. I'm a cat person myself.

Very interesting post; and Eileen, you're very intriguing. Thanks for sharing your schedule.


CMOM Productions said...

This looks like such a fun read! :)

Anonymous said...

ayinvfamyvytwalghhma, Yahoo scanner, AeJCxRw.