Monday, October 21, 2013

[Reblogged] Interviewing Simone Elkeles by Jeff Rivera

When I saw Jeff tweeted on his official twitter account @mrjeffrivera a month ago about his interview with Ms. Simone Elkeles, I really excited to read the article. And, yes, I do love Simone so much. I already asked Jeff permission to reblog this article, while I am waiting WILDCARDS to be released here in Indonesia. Check this out:

Simone Elkeles | Who Says Latino Books Don't Sell?

For as long as I've been an author, I've heard from the book publishing industry that Latino books don't sell. Oh, really? Simone Elkeles begs to differ. Her Perfect Chemistry trilogy is a runaway New York Times bestselling series and all the rage for Hispanic teens all over the country.

I had the opportunity to ask Elkeles about her success and what has led to it.

Simone, you simply rock! I'm so inspired how you've connected with Latino and mainstream readers and bridged the gap. 
Thank you SO MUCH for interviewing me, Jeff!

Tell us how the Perfect Chemistry trilogy came about?
My friend Eduardo came over to my house and said he felt like people looked down on him because he’s Mexican. It bothered me that he felt people judged him because of the color of his skin and his Mexican heritage. I wanted to write a book where Mexican teens had pride in their Mexican heritage and embraced it – almost wore it like a badge of honor. Fairfield (the setting for Perfect Chemistry) is loosely based off of a high school next to where I grew up. There is a large Latino community on one side of the tracks (yes, there are literally train tracks separating the two sides) and a very wealthy community with people living in mansions on Lake Michigan on the other side. When I heard that suburban gangs in the area were on the rise, I also wanted to explore what it would be like for someone from one side of the town to fall for someone on the other side. I do love exploring love stories that have cultures clashing. Once I started researching suburban gangs (which are very different than city gangs), it was eye-opening. I didn’t know how much honor and loyalty to family and community are tied into gang affiliation, especially in the Latino gang culture. Some of the kids in gangs I interviewed have seen more violence, death, drug trafficking and crime than anyone should see in their lifetime. They live not knowing if they’ll survive another day, and some don’t even care. I’ve met really good kids who are stuck in bad situations. They want to get out and live a clean, gang-free life, but don’t know how or don’t think there’s another way to live. My heart goes out to those kids. That part of it makes me want to write about boys like Alex, Carlos, and Luis Fuentes.

How well has the series done exactly in terms of sales?
The entire series hit the NY Times Bestseller List in the series category and Rules of Attraction and Chain Reaction also hit the NY Times and USA Today individual Bestseller Lists. Perfect Chemistry continues to sell the best of all three, even though it’s been almost 5 years since it was released. It is also in fifteen different languages around the world, which is amazing!
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What's the next book in the series about?
Wild Cards (October 1, 2013), is the first book in a new series for me. Wild Cards is about a boy who used to be a big American football prodigy before his mom died. He stopped playing because of the memories he has of his mom watching him play. It hurts him too much. He stops taking life seriously and has become a prankster and a bad boy. He gets kicked out of boarding school and has to move into his young stepmother’s childhood home. Once there, he meets Ashtyn Parker, the girl kicker on the football team. She can’t stand Derek and the way he doesn’t take life seriously. When her boyfriend quits the football team, the only one to save the team is Derek, a boy who wants nothing to do with football or Ashtyn. It’s a very hot and steamy novel and I loved writing Derek and Ashtyn’s story!

For the complete article, go to

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