Well, well, well…
I have a bit of a mystery for you, this fine evening. A new book — a MARVELLOUS book — by someone… someone who goes by the name of E.E. Cooper.
More on that, later.
First — here is the cover.
And I LOVE the tag line:
“Keep your friends close…”
Consider yourself very lucky, because just today I managed to snag an interview with E. E. Cooper that I plan to share with you right now. And after? There MAY just be a give-away.
Shall we begin?
kc: Let’s start with Kalah, the star of VANISHED. How did you get inside her head to tell this story?
EEC: Kalah and I are very different people. She’s half Indian, half French, she has an anxiety disorder and she thinks she might be in love with one of her best friends. This required me to do a lot of research and talking to others because I didn’t have a ton of personal experience. It was important to me to get the details right and not make her any kind of stereotype. I was lucky enough to get a lot of input from people and I came to adore her even more for her complexity. It was also interesting as her character developed to realize even though she and I were so different- there was also a lot we had in common.
kc: VANISHED is a very twisty mystery. Can you talk about the plotting of it a bit? Did you know where you were going with this story when you began, or did it unfold more gradually?
EEC: There were a few moments where I was pretty sure this story was going to drive me insane. Those who know me may argue that it didn’t have far to drive. I knew aspects of the story when I started and I spent a fair bit of time outlining it. I thought I had it all figured out. (feel free to laugh here) Then I started writing. This book went through several revisions and I was lucky enough to work with a great editor who kept pushing me to make it more complex and not go for an easy answer. My office started to look like a scene from A Beautiful Mind. There were index cards taped to the wall, various things highlighted, Post-it notes sprinkled around and I would pace back and forth waiting for “a-ha” moments.
kc: I think you found them, too! What’s the toughest part of writing a mystery for the YA audience? What did you like best about the process?
EEC: I am not sure if writing a mystery for the YA audience is different than an adult audience- both want a story that is layered, not easy to figure out and satisfying when they’re finished. I love writing for the YA audience- they’re demanding. They read a lot so they know what they like and what they don’t.
kc: I know that for a fact. YA readers are the BEST. So, in doing my research I’ve found you’ve had some really awesome reviews for this story. One I read said: “Come for the girls kissing, stay for the mystery”. Care to share a favourite?
EEC: Thank you so much! Reviews are nerve wracking. I tell myself that I don’t care- but that’s a fat lie. The one that made me run around the house in circles (with my dog running after me wondering what the heck was going on) was the one by School Library Journal.
They said: This novel tackles themes of friendship, deception, obsession, and love….With early hints of John Green’s PAPER TOWNS that slowly morph into Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL.” Any comparison to John Green and Gillian Flynn was enough to make me lose my mind.
kc: And rightly so — how wonderful is that? So, what are YOU reading right now? Do you have a favourite genre to read — or write — in?
EEC: I suspect it’s not a shock to discover that I am a huge reader. I love a bit of everything- but psychological thrillers are a favorite. I find people fascinating and how the respond when situations turn dark is always something that will keep me reading just one more chapter. I recently finished COMPLICIT by Stephanie Kuehn which has a great twist. In a totally different vein I plan to crack open MAKING PRETTY by Corey Ann Haydu which just came out. I love her books so am excited for this one.
kc: You’re a bit of a mystery yourself, E.E. Cooper, as anyone who has scoped out your website can attest. What can you tell us about who you are?
EEC: Is it weird that I am thrilled that someone thinks I’m a mystery? My real life is actually very average so I like the idea of people assuming that I have a secret life where I’m married to spy, possibly spent some time in jail for an undisclosed crime, and have a pet shark. The truth is I live in Vancouver with my husband and our very naughty dog where my high risk activities include things like reading on the patio, walking the dog and spending entirely too much money or random craft projects that never turn out the way I expected.
kc: Ah. Well, your very reticence deepens the mystery, to my mind. However, I do have a possible solution, which I will save to the VERY end of this post…
Meanwhile, can you tell me if VANISHED is going to carry on as a series? If so, can you give us a hint of what’s to come next?
EEC: As I type this I am brainstorming (could be ignoring) edits on the second book in the series that I just received from my editor. I’m really excited with the direction the series is taken- what I can tell you is that Kalah isn’t going to sit back and accept what happened in book one- but the situation is going to get worse before it gets better.
kc: Well, that seems a perfect note to end on. Thank you, E.E. Cooper, for sharing your new story with us today!
And now, back to you, dear reader. Interested in getting your hands on VANISHED? Here’s how you can win a copy! Put a link for this blog post up on Facebook or Twitter and on Thursday night? I’ll go through the links, put names in the hat of the linkees, and pick one! And while you’re on twitter, why not follow @EECooperBooks?
Now, I made a promise earlier on in this post. If you live in the Vancouver area, you can solve two problems in one this very Sunday [May 17, 2015], as E.E. Cooper will be appearing LIVE in North Vancouver, at the Chapters-Indigo on Marine Drive, from 2-3 pm. You can pick up a copy of the book, have it signed by its mysterious and oh-lo-lovely author and solve the mystery of E.E. Cooper once and for all for yourself!
I know we’ll be hearing more from both E.E. Cooper and Kalah in the future!