Sunday, February 21, 2010

Author Interview: Jennifer Echols

As part of my book club forum correlation, I have Jennifer Echols here today for an interview- Going Too Far is featured on the forum this week.

AGA: The title, Going Too Far, can be interpreted as having many different implications towards the book and is of course quite fitting with the overall events. How did you settle upon this one, despite the preemptive biases it might have given readers?

JE: Originally I called the book Boy in Blue, but my editor thought the “boy” in the title made the book sound too young. My critique partners and I came up with perhaps 40 alternative titles. My editor turned down all of them. Then my editor called it Running to Stand Still for a while (after a U2 song), but I didn’t like it.

A bridge figures prominently in the book, and I kept thinking of the title A Bridge Too Far. But I couldn’t call the book that, because people might associate the book with a 1970s World War II movie--wrong! I shortened it to Too Far. My critique partner Victoria Dahl suggested Going Too Far instead, and that’s what my editor picked.

AGA: What inspired you to write Going Too Far, particularly with the male being a young cop and toeing the line that comes with it?

JE: My first idea was that two teenagers would do a ride-along with a cop, and they would fall for each other. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the interaction with the cop was the most interesting part of this story. He couldn’t be 21 with a high school girl, though. I did some research and found that a few law enforcement agencies hire 19-year-olds as cops. WOW, that’s really young to be a cop, and if you were working in your own hometown, wouldn’t you be uncomfortable around your friends from school? Bingo!

AGA: You write both romantic comedies and romantic dramas- do you prefer one category to the other?

JE: I like having two different genres to bounce between. That way, I feel like my writing is always fresh and I’m not writing the same story over and over.

AGA: Are any of your book characters based off real life people or do you primarily pull together facets in your mind to create them?

JE: I’ve never based a character on a real person. The character I’ve written who’s most like a real person is Lori in The Boys Next Door. She’s a lot like me--but not exactly! I don’t think there’s any way the accurate portrayal of a real person could make it into fiction, because you have to change parts of their personality to fit the story.

AGA: Have you ever done a ride along with a cop (or even fire truck/ambulance) or were those scenes pulled from what you've seen on television, read in books, etc?

JE: I would love to do a ride-along, but it wasn’t possible when I was writing Going Too Far. My son was very small, and I couldn’t go do research without him because my husband was working the night shift--which is where all the night shift business comes from in that book.

AGA: I've read in other interviews about your appreciation (or maybe envy?) of Rosemary-Clement Moore. Are there any other authors that spur you into writing, driving you to want to mirror what you felt they've done and better yourself, or is she the primary one for you?

JE: I don’t think I have used the e-word. The green monster is a negative emotion. Publishing is an extremely difficult business. It’s so important to stay positive. Envy has no place here.

When I have blogged about other authors’ books, I have not done it out of envy. I am a reader first and a writer second. I have enjoyed Rosemary’s books and I want to read more of them. I know that the more I talk about her wonderful book Prom Dates from Hell, the more people will see that positive comment and buy it, and the more likely she is to get another contract to write more books like it.

AGA: Do you read a lot of the same genres that you are writing or do you tend to avoid them?

JE: I tend to avoid them while I’m writing them, but I’ll go back to them when I’m taking a little break, like now! Santa brought me a huge pile of books for Christmas, and almost all of them are YA romantic dramas like Going Too Far.

AGA: Apart from making soundtracks, is there anything else specific for you to write or are you able to stop and start on a whim?

JE: I need coffee, I need quiet (or my iPod to cover up the noise if quiet isn’t possible), and I need to be in a place where I can’t see piles of laundry or anything having to do with household chores.

AGA: Do you see yourself branching out to anything beyond romance based novels or is that where you feel you will likely stay?

JE: I will probably stay here, because romance is what interests me. Even in high school I was writing romantic stories, so I’ve been very consistent!

AGA: What projects do you have lined up next apart from the next romantic drama slated to hit shelves this year (which I am very excited for, especially after reading Going Too Far)?

JE: My next romantic drama, Forget You, will be published by MTV Books on July 20. Two weeks later, on August 3, Simon Pulse will publish the sequel to my romantic comedy The Boys Next Door. It’s called Endless Summer, and it’s getting a new cover any day now, so check my blog for the announcement!

Thanks so much for hosting me! I really appreciate it.

You're welcome and thank you for being here! If you have any of your own questions for Jennifer, head on over to my forum and ask them- she will be stopping by this week to both answer questions and maybe hop onto the discussions.

All Unquiet Things and The Pace are also featured this week- head on over and get involved!


  1. Thanks so much for the interview! I just finished Going Too Far this past week and really enjoyed it. I'm really looking for the new book coming out!!

  2. Sunnysmilqt, I'm glad you enjoyed it. And Eleni, I hope you like it. :)

  3. <3 This author! I LOVED gone to far and I can't wait until Forget U comes out!!