Beyond The Bio: Eileen Cook

Ready for another awesome interview? We are! And we’ve got something extra special lined up for you today. Let’s get to it!

Our first guest this week is #BeyondTheBio alum Eileen Cook, whose pulse-pounding new thriller You Owe Me A Murder comes out this Tuesday. Eileen loves adventure, suspense, and fancy shoes.

And our teen interviewer today is Myriam. Myriam’s a high school freshman who loves manga and was born on St. Patrick’s Day. Her favorite series of all time is Tokyo Ghoul.

Alright, let's get to the interview! And don't forget to stick around to the end to find out how you can be the host of a future #BeyondTheBio interview.

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Myriam: Hey there, Eileen. Your book took me out of my reading comfort zone, in an extremely good way. What was your inspiration in writing You Owe Me A Murder?

Eileen: I’m so glad you took a chance on this book and that you liked it! The inspiration for this book came from a bunch of ideas colliding. I’ve always been interested in toxic friendships. I have some of the most amazing friends in my life, but this wasn’t always the case, so understanding how, and why, we let ourselves get into relationships that are so bad for us is interesting to me.

Another obsession is thinking about self-identity, who are we? Do we believe in ourselves? Is that identity influenced by the people around us- and what are we REALLY capable of if we’ve been pushed?

Once I spent entirely too long thinking about those issues, I layered in a passion for Alfred Hitchcock films and the writing of Patricia Highsmith- in this case, the classic movie Strangers on a Train. And then the icing on the inspiration for this book was a love for travel and the idea that when we are out of our normal world it changes us and how we see things. I mixed all of that together, added hours of wandering around talking to myself and sweating over a keyboard, and I ended up with this book.

Myriam: I get the feeling that Kim likes to listen to music. What kind of music would be on Kim's playlist?

Eileen: I think Kim would love music too! I imagine she would have really eclectic taste, liking everything from hip-hop to country to classic. For this trip I think a few of the songs on her playlist would include:

"London Calling" - The Clash

"Mr. Brightside" - The Killers

"Use Somebody" - Kings of Leon

"Best Thing I Never Had" - Beyonce

"Fighter" - Christina Aguilera

"Goodbye Alice in Wonderland" - Jewel

"London Bye Ta Ta" - David Bowie

(Psst… We here at PickMyYA made a Spotify playlist of Kim’s favorite songs. Wanna listen? Click here.)

Myriam: I love the idea of traveling to foreign countries. Was there a specific reason why you chose England?

Eileen: There were a couple reasons that I went with England, and London in particular, for the setting. The first is that it’s one of my favorite cities in the world. I swear I could visit over, and over, and over, and never get bored with it. There’s so much history and amazing places to see. Even when you think you’ve seen everything, you’ll want to go back and see some of those places again! Because I love it, I’ve been there a lot, so while I am far from an expert (and I’m sure I got plenty of things wrong!) I knew I could set a book there and hopefully give a feel of what it’s really like.

Secondly, when I was in college, I did a semester abroad in London. It was the first time I’d ever taken a trip like that- there was something about being so far away from everyone I knew and my regular routine that was both amazing and scary. I’d grown up in a small town and there were so many things that I just assumed were the same for everyone. Travel made me realize that the world was a much bigger place. I liked the idea of giving a character that same experience.

Myriam: I'd like to read more books like yours. Any recommendations for other suspenseful YA books?

Eileen: Well of course I have to recommend my own, With Malice or One Lie Too Many (which used to be called The Hanging Girl.) But there are TONS of great books out there- I’d suggest Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten, Ten by Gretchen McNeil, Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn, and Karen McManusOne of Us is Lying.

Myriam: Nicki is obviously the girl's alias. What's her given name?

Eileen: Mwa-ha-ha (that’s my evil laugh) I’ll never tell. Or I might, but not in this book. And yes, I do mean that as a bit of a tease.

Myriam: So does that mean you're considering a sequel, maybe focusing on Nicki?

Eileen: I would absolutely LOVE to write more from Nicki’s point of view. She’s deliciously evil, which makes her very fun to write. I have a sense that the ending may not be as clear as it might seem, and that Nicki could very easily have some more adventures. I’d love to explore how she became this way and what happened to her in the past that made her into the person she is in this book.

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That’s it for today’s interview with Eileen. If you're a book-loving teen like Myriam, we'd love to have you host an upcoming #BeyondTheBio interview. It's an easy and fun chance to interview your favorite YA authors, and we'll guide you through every step of the process. Click here to learn more!

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