Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Awesome Book Giveaway and Interview: Simone Elkeles, YA Author of PERFECT CHEMISTRY & RULES of ATTRACTION

If you guys keep up with my posts, you know Simone is one of my favorite Young Adult authors. She writes wonderful contemporary, realistic novels. They're full of hot love, romance and teenage angst; perfect if you're at that stage in your life or just remembering when you were. I'm so happy to have the opportunity to ask her a few questions and offer two of her novels to my terrific followers.

There will be two winners: One person will receive her breakout novel, PERFECT CHEMISTRY and the other winner will receive the sequel and newly released, RULES of ATTRACTION. Even though Rules of Attraction is the follow-up to Perfect Chemistry, it is a firm stand-alone novel and the winner will have no trouble understanding it if they've not read Perfect Chemistry first. The winners will also receive bookmarks depicting the books.

Let's move on to the interview and then finish up with the requirements of the giveaway.

1) How did you begin your career as a writer? Did it start as a hobby or did you always want to write full time? What's your educational background? Do you have an MFA?

Unlike most authors I know, I hated reading as a teen and hated English class.  I got B’s and C’s in English class most of the time.  I have a master’s degree in Industrial Relations from Loyola University-Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Psychology. I’ve never taken a creative writing class in my life.  I fell in love with reading as an adult – specifically romance novels.  I was so in love with them, I started writing them.  Once I started writing for “myself” and not a teacher or for a grade, I realized that I loved writing and never wanted to stop.  I pretty much taught myself how to write, because they didn’t teach me how to write a book in my regular English classes.  Writing is the best profession and now I can’t imagine doing anything else!  I know I still have a ton to learn about writing and when I read books I love I think “I wish I could write like that!”  I’m always working on my craft and hope I can get better and better with each book.

2) Why did you select a Latino gang member as the love interest in PERFECT CHEMISTRY? What kind of research did you do in preparation for writing this story? Was it difficult?

I did interview some suburban gang members in Illinois.  I also talked to my friend who is a Chicago police officer who gave me information. Lastly, I looked online or made up stuff on my own.  It was hard to do the research, but definitely interesting. (some stuff I read and heard made my stomach churn, but I didn’t write about those things)

3) Your books that I have read utilize alternating POV. Why did you choose to do this and will you continue to do so?

I never wrote in alternating POV in different chapters until my editor told me he wanted my book Leaving Paradise written that way.  I didn’t know how, and he told me to read the young adult book Flipped.  I read it and loved it and said, “Okay, I can do that!”  It worked for me, and I like writing in alternating POV in different chapters.  Romance novels are pretty much in alternating POV, but they usually change POV within a chapter.  I haven’t mastered that technique yet.

4) Do you think Contemporary YA is losing ground to Paranormal YA? Why do you think so many YA authors are utilizing the supernatural in their stories?  Will you ever write a YA novel with paranormal elements? Why or why not?

I get a ton of email from fans saying, “Thank you for not writing about vampires or zombies or werewolves!”  I think there are some amazing paranormal YA books out today, but there will always be a place for realistic fiction.  I don’t think I’ll ever write paranormal, but I’ve always wanted to write a time travel.  I think that’s the next fun thing to write, but who knows.  I just write what I’m inspired to write at the time.  I write realistic dramedy well, so that’s probably where I’ll stay.

5) You have a lovely website and a Twitter account, but you don't appear to be as visible online as many other YA writers, some of which have only written one book, but get a great deal of publicity. What's your take on this? Are you going to do any in-person touring?

I’d love your suggestions about where I’m “not” where I should be, ha ha.  I have a website at, I’m on Twitter (although I’m still not getting the lure of it yet – do I have to let people know that I fed my dogs and went to the bathroom?), I’m very active on Facebook, and on YouTube.  I felt that blogging took way too much time so I stopped doing that.  I’m a mom and wife and need time to write as well. I speak at schools and conferences (I’ll be at ALA, BEA, the Rochester Teen Book Festival, YALSA symposium conference) and do some book signings (admittedly not a lot of book signings as of late), but I’m not sure I can do more than I already am.  I’d like to do a book tour in the fall, after school starts.

6) I've read your last three books, including the new release RULES OF ATTRACTION. I'm a huge fan and hold your writing and storytelling ability in high esteem. I love LEAVING PARADISE and I'm aware the sequel will be released in November 2010. Have you begun a new work in addition to the LEAVING PARADISE sequel. If so, is there anything you can tell us about it?

Firsts of all, thank you for the sweet comments about my books and writing.  People ask me what inspires me to write and I tell them my fans inspire me.  I have the most passionate fans in the world. Reading their letters and emails make me want to write more books.

I’m writing the third book in the Perfect Chemistry trilogy.  The novel will be about Luis Fuentes, the youngest Fuentes brother.  He’s such a good guy who doesn’t live with the angst that his big brothers have always lived with.  Luis is smart, funny, and has big dreams.  When he falls for the wrong girl, Luis enters a dark world he’s never known to try and save her from herself.  Just when he thinks he’s got life all figured out, Luis learns some disturbing news about his family that destroys his positive outlook on life.  Will that Fuentes bad boy streak come out with a vengeance and lure Luis to live on the edge like his new girlfriend and his own father? 

Thanks so much Simone for taking the time to answer some questions and filling your readers in on some snippets of your life and what they can look forward to from you in the future. I know I can't wait!

If you would like the opportunity to be one of the two winners, become a follower if you're not already, leave a comment and your email or some way to reach you. This is important because, sometimes, people enter the giveaway and don't leave any email or contact info. Please don't forget. If you're a winner, I want you to get your book!

Open to residents of the US only. Sorry guys. Publisher only willing to mail to addresses in the US this time.

Thanks to Kate Lied of Bloomsbury Children's Books/Walker Books for Young Readers for making the books available and facilitating this giveaway.

Giveaway ends May 1, 2010



  1. Loved the interview. That is interesting that Simone did not like to read as a teen.

    pirate_pony2 at yahoo dot com

  2. I know, right? There's a writer I know and her first book will be coming out in the Fall. She had trouble with reading and writing when she was in school. You can never give up on what you believe is in you!

  3. I hated to read in Highschool now all I do is read and write :)

  4. I am hooked and would now love to try this young ladies work, went to her very neatly put together animated website and fell in love with how everything was organized and did a little more snooping about her books. You are right June, Simone Elkeles sounds very personable and would very much like to have a chance at either book so count me in the draw...

    jackie b central texas


  5. I would LOVE to read these books! I haven't yet because I have so many now. I've heard great things about Simone.

    krae991 at yahoo dot com

  6. Oh how I love this post! Thank You for interviewing such a wonderful author. Please count me in for Perfect Attraction.

    cindyc725 at gmail dot com

  7. enter me please!

  8. I'd love to win. Thank you!!!!
    haleymathiot @

  9. Thank you, arrived via tweet,

    Bill ;-)

    billsmith2003 (at) gmail (dot) com

    Hope you'll check out my book giveaway:

  10. No need to enter me, but I'll be Tweeting this interview. I learned a lot! Is Simone on Goodreads? It's fun to get glimpses of what authors are reading; their likes and dislikes. But I completely understand why she stopped blogging. It's suprisingly time-consuming.

    Do not write paranormal please! I'm so tired of all the paranormal stuff being written. I never want to hear about vampires or zombies or werewolves. not this much. BUT I think you would be one of the few authors who could make me pick up a paranormal book (especially since I bet you would write something besides the nrom, start a new trend).

    A time traveling book would be so cool to read about. There's not much of that in YA.

    In my review of Rules of Attraction, I said that I wanted something different in Luis' story. A girl who was disabled, or fat or not a virgin. And you're doing that! Luis is such a sweetie and I think he's my 2nd favorite (I love Alex more. haha) so I'm looking forward to reading the twist you put on his story. Facing the dark side.

    Thanks for this interview June!

  11. Fantastic interview! I loved Perfect Chemistry and I look forward to reading all of Simone's other books.

    Thank you for sharing the interview and hosting the giveaway.

    My e-mail: c_thurairatnam (at) hotmail (dot) com

  12. I would love to read these books!
    email bangersis(at)msn(dot)com

  13. Simone Elkeles is fabulous. I love love LOVED Perfect Chemistry and I am so happy to see what she said about writing realistic fiction over paranormal.

    stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

  14. Awesome interview!! I liked the insight on multiple POV's b/c I read a lot of romance, and I like knowing what both characters are thinking!! Thanks for the contest!

    inthehammockblog (at) gmail (dot) com

  15. I'm a new follower and I would love to be entered. I went to a great session at the American library association conference where Simone Elkeles spoke. I enjoyed looking around your blog and I will stop by on the 30th, too. It's part of the Take the Journey reading challenge for bonus points, too!

  16. I would love to win one of these books! They look awesome!!

    I follow on gfc

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  17. Perfect Chemistry was one of my favorite books for 2009! I loved it and couldn't stop talking about it. I would love to read Rules of Attraction!

  18. I would love to read these. She is a new to me author.

    teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

  19. I have really been wanting to read this series, i have heard so many good things about it!


  20. Great interview! I've been itching to get my hands on these books!


  21. Oh, great interview! I have been wanting to read Perfect Chemistry for quite some time, I got it recently for my birthday and I'd love to win Rules of Attraction! I'm so excited to hear more about Simone and her writing and the 3rd book!! I'm on Twitter (@shaunakemp) too so I'll look her up. :) Very cool. I'd also be interested to know if she is at Goodreads (@\shaunakemp), because I LOVE Goodreads, it's a great way to keep track of books and network. Thanks for the post/interview & great blog by the way, I'm happy to have found you & heard about this through book blogs!

    Take care & happy reading & writing!

  22. Oh boy...nothing beats a good YA book about teens and angst and dysfunction...count me in!!!

  23. Thank you for sharing this great interview! I'm looking forward to reading both of Simone Elkeles' books! :)

    Violet @ The Eager Readers

  24. Already following Writing is a Blessing with Google Friend Connect [Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug}] -- I enjoyed reading the interview and would love to read this :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

  25. Please enter me in this giveaway!

    I follow.

    familyhistree at yahoo dot com

    Sarah E


I enjoy reading what you have to say. Seriously!