Happy Monday, TMGEP lovers! We hope you all had a safe and wonderful holiday season and are already making progress on those New Year’s Resolutions. Happy 2016!
We’re here to start off the new year with the third in our series of “Author of the Week” Book Giveaways (for more information on our concept behind the giveaways, click here to read our first giveaway post)!
In the spotlight this week is author E.E. Cooper and her book Vanished. Cooper hails from Vancouver, Canada where she lives with her husband and one very spoiled dog. Her book, which was released in early 2015, explores the story of a mysterious disappearance and encourages readers to keep their friends close and realize that nothing is as it seems. (This book is recommended for Young Adults, 12+).
Check out our interview with E.E. Cooper and then enter to win our giveaway–instructions are at the end of this post!
TMGEP: First, tell us a little bit about yourself.
E.E. Cooper: This is where I want to have an exciting answer about how I do extreme bungee jumping, or like to throw myself out of planes, but the truth is I’m fairly boring. The most exciting thing about me is my imaginary life. I live in Vancouver Canada (truly awesome city) where I work as a counselor when not writing. I spend more time than you might think is possible, reading, having one sided conversations with my dog and coming up with elaborate dinner ideas and then settling for ordering Thai food instead.
TMGEP: When did you begin writing?
E.E.: I have been writing as long as I can remember. I still have piles of stories and a million half started books dating back to elementary school. There’s also a stack of notebooks of REALLY bad poetry that I wrote during high school. To say I was a touch dramatic would not have been an understatement. It wasn’t until I was in university that I began to get more serious about writing. I took time to learn about the craft of writing and finished more and more projects.
TMGEP: How did you come up with the story line for your book, Vanished?
E.E.: There were two main inspirations for Vanished. The first is that I’m fascinated by friendships- when they are good they can be the most amazing thing in your life, but it’s also possible that they can be quite toxic and unhealthy. I wanted to write about one friendship that had been great at one point, but had turned bad. The second motivator was the desire to create a character who begins to second guess everything she thought she knew. I think many of us are vulnerable to feeling that we’re somehow at fault when things around us go wrong.
E.E.: Here is the summary of the book: Gone Girl meets Pretty Little Liars in the first book of this fast-paced psychological thriller series full of delicious twists and turns. Friendship. Obsession. Deception. Love. Kalah knows better than to fall for Beth Taylor . . . but that doesn’t stop her from falling hard and falling fast, heart first into a sea of complications. Then Beth vanishes. She skips town on her eighteenth birthday, leaving behind a flurry of rumors and a string of broken hearts. Not even Beth’s best friend, Britney, knows where she went. Beth didn’t even tell Kalah good-bye. One of the rumors links Beth to Britney’s boyfriend, and Kalah doesn’t want to believe the betrayal. But Brit clearly believes it—and before Kalah can sort out the truth, Britney. When Beth finally reaches out to Kalah in the wake of Brit’s suicide, Kalah wants to trust what Beth tells her. But she’s swiftly realizing that nothing here is as it seems. Kalah’s caught in the middle of a deadly psychological game, and only she can untangle the deceptions and lies to reveal the unthinkable truth.
TMGEP: HarperCollins Publishers released a collection of books whose characters struggle with bullying issues called “Stop Bullying. Start Reading” is listed as one of the books in this collection. Why was it chosen?
E.E.: I believe there are many forms of bullying. There is the person who may be your “enemy” who goes out of their way to make fun of you or to encourage others to be cruel. This is the form of bullying that we often think of first- someone who is being mean to another person. However, there’s another type of bullying- when someone you know well, someone you consider a friend, manipulates you, treats you badly and may even make you feel that somehow the treatment is your own fault. This is what I wanted to explore in the book. I suspect Harper Collins selected Vanished because it explores this other side of being bullied, when it comes from a friend.
TMGEP: How are you tackling the issue of bullying in your book?
E.E.: At first glance a reader may not think Vanished is about bullying, but as they explore the friendship they will see that one of the characters uses charm to twist the relationships around her. She gets people to do what she wants and undermines their confidence in themselves. Friendships should be about making you feel better about yourself, to encourage you to be the best you can be- when they aren’t- that friend is a bully.
TMGEP: How can your character’s struggle with a bully help one of your readers who may be dealing with bullying issues?
E.E.: I hope the book gives readers the awareness that a bully isn’t always someone who’s an enemy- it can be someone that you thought was a friend. Every person has the right to have the people in their life treat them with respect and dignity.
TMGEP: What advice do you think your protagonist would give to someone being bullied?
E.E.: Kalah would want people to trust themselves and not to be afraid to reach out to the people in their lives who might be able to help. Kalah is afraid to ask for help because she feels she should solve the problem herself- what she discovers is that asking for support is one way to solve the problem.
TMGEP: Where can readers find your book Vanished?
TMGEP: Where can anxious readers find you?
I have a website, www.eecooper.com.
And I spend entirely too much time on Twitter so I’d love to connect there! If you ever wondered what random things ran around in my head on an average day this is the place to find out — @eecooperbooks.
TMGEP: Is there anything else you would like to share?
E.E.: While I was fortunate that I was never bullied in school, there were times that I stood back and did nothing when others were. I didn’t laugh or encourage the bully, but I didn’t do anything to stop it either. I think I was secretly glad no one was focused on me and I figured there was nothing I could do. This is now one of my biggest regrets. The most important thing any of us can do is to stand up when we see something wrong. It gives others strength to stand up as well and sends the message that being cruel to someone else is never okay.
This week we will be doing one raffle of an autographed copy of EE Cooper’s book VANISHED.
We’re excited to give this amazing prize to one lucky fan!
GIVEAWAY ENTRY INSTRUCTIONS:
To enter TMGEP’s Author of the Week Giveaway, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your NAME and PHONE NUMBER (don’t worry, we won’t call you unless we can’t get ahold of you via email to claim your prize!) by Thursday, January 14th at 11:59PM PST. A winner will be selected at random, contacted and announced on Friday, January 15th.
And now for the less exciting stuff…
This is a sweepstakes involving The Mean Girl Extinction Project and an outside party henceforth referred to as “Author of the Week”. Both parties are aware of the sweepstakes and the donated prize. The value of the prize will not exceed $50 (US).
Sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the United States ages 18 and older. Sweepstakes begins at the time of blog post and ends the following Thursday at 11:59PM PST. No purchase necessary. All entries must be received via email. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Winner agrees to have their name and likeness used for media and publicity purposes. If potential prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded, in TMGEP’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded.
Sweepstakes is hosted by The Mean Girl Extinction Project, California 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
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