Today I have with me Eileen Cook, author of With Malice.
The lovely people at Bloomsbury sent me a review copy early last month and IT WAS EVERYTHING. Filled with the "WHO DID IT" and also articles and interviews to support the MC's mized memory, this book is a BEAUTIFUL display of how the media plays judge, jury and executioner in cases like this.
Don't forget to read through her lovely interview before getting to the International Giveaway Eileen has been so kind to host!
We'd love to get to know more about you:
1. Your favourite place in the world ( fiction or otherwise)
This is the most boring answer in the world- home. I love to travel (I just got back from London and Paris) and I enjoy an adventure to see new places and meet people, but my most favourite place is home. I love being surrounded by things I love. The house is done in my favourite colours (greys and blues), there are lots of comfy chairs for reading, stacks of books in almost every corner, and my two dogs running around messing up the place.
2. Five books you'd recommend to a new young adult fan:
Oooh hard question. Part of the challenge is that I like to match books to people. Some people like more thrillers, others prefer fantasy and of course it depends on hobbies and interests too. If I pick five books that have been really influential to the genre of YA and show it’s range, I would go with:
1) The Harry Potter books. These bridge middle grade and YA, but if you haven’t read them you are REALLY missing out.
2) The Hunger Games
3) Code Name Verity
4) The Fault in Our Stars
And of course anything of mine.
3. Your best memory of your school days:
I wasn’t a big fan of high school. I worried WAY too much about everything. Did people like me? Had I made an idiot out of myself? Was I wearing a cool funky outfit or was it just weird? In my school popularity depended a lot on athletic skill. Just my luck that I am about the most uncoordinated person on the planet. However, one way that I was lucky is that I had (and still have) an amazing best friend, Laura. She could always makes me laugh and we had a lot of fun together. It took me years to understand that it doesn’t matter if everyone likes you- what’s important is having people you like in your life.
And now, moving onto your masterpiece:
4. Tell us about what inspired you to write With Malice
There were a few things that came together to form the idea of this book. I’m fascinated with long-term friendships and how they survive and evolve, or don’t. I knew I wanted to write about two friends who had been in a relationship for so long that at times it was hard to tell where the good parts and the bad intersected. I’d also worked for over twenty years in the field of vocational rehabilitation assisting with people with injuries and illnesses as an expert for the BC Supreme Court. I had done a lot of work with individuals with brain injury and taking the opportunity to explore identity and relationships when you can’t trust your own memory was exciting.
Once I wrote a full draft of the manuscript I knew it was missing something and two other pieces of inspiration fell into place. The first was that I was planning a trip to Italy and it occurred to me to set the book there. I felt it would give Jill an extra push to explore her friendship if they were out of their current element. As I prepared for the trip I started to read more about the Amanda Knox trial and that motivated me to add the pressure coming from the media- where everyone else is deciding your guilt or innocence based on very little information.
The final bit of inspiration came from the first season of the Serial podcast by NPR. (If you haven’t listened- download it- you’ll thank me.) It’s a true crime story about a murder trial that happened in the 1990s. With each person that told their story I would shift my feelings. “He’s totally innocent! He’s guilty! Wait-he’s innocent!” I wanted to see if I could recreate that feeling for readers by providing them with new perspectives that might change how they felt about the storyline.
5. The book was filled with articles, blog posts and police interviews. Did you feel that this gave the crime a more holistic approach rather than just the protagonist's viewpoint?
There is a line in the book about how truth is how you tell it. We all want to believe that there are black and white, right and wrong answers to things, but often things are a bit more fuzzy. Any experience we have is filtered through our past history and our belief systems. Jill has no memory of what happened at the time of the accident so she is attempting to fill in that information, but people have different perspectives. As a result, she (and also the reader) have to decide who they will believe.
I liked the idea of having different snippets of information in different forms so that readers could put the puzzle together in different ways. The reader gets to decide which information they give more weight to and what bits of information they might ignore.
6. You writing playlist?
I am one of those rare writers who almost never writes to music. Mostly because if there is music on I tend to start singing along or get distracted. My playlist is my two dogs barking at some squirrel!
Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in eight different languages. Her books have been optioned for film and TV. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. Her newest book, WITH MALICE, will be out in June 2016. She’s an instructor/mentor with the Simon Fraser University Writer’s Studio Program.
You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny atwww.eileencook.com. Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two very naughty dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.
Author: Eileen Cook
Publication Date: June 9th 2016
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Part of a Series?: No, Standalone!
I Got A Copy Through: Bloomsbury India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Amazon US || Amazon UK || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || The Book Depository
Blurb Description: Wish you weren't here…
When Jill wakes up in a hospital bed with her leg in a cast, the last six weeks of her life are a complete blank. All she has been told is that she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy and had to be jetted home to receive intensive care. Care that involves a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…. wasn't just an accident.
With no memory of what happened or what she did, can Jill prove her innocence? And can she really be sure that she isn't the one to blame?