Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Question and Answer's with author...Rachel Cohn

Here's a little about Rachel Cohn...

Rachel was born on December 14, 1968 in Silver Spring, Maryland and grew up in the DC area. At the age of seventeen, she went off to Barnard College and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science. She moved out to San Francisco and started working at a law firm. This is when Rachel started writing her stories. Now, she lives in Manhattan where she is on the search for a great cup of cappuccino. Now...time for some Q&A's...

What makes you get up and start writing...even when you don't want to?
The first is the fun one, and that's the simple curiosity of what's going to happen next? I often don't know myself how my own stories will play out - I have to write them to find out. So sometimes the thing that gets me out of bed and to my computer in the morning is that I left my characters in a weird place and I'm eager to find out how they'll unravel the situation. The second thing is totally pragmatic: I write full-time now, and if I don't sit down at the computer, well, the bills don't get paid!
Do you use outlines to write or do you just go at it?
It changes with each book. Earlier in my career I never outlined, then a few books ago I started outlining once I got about halfway through, and now, after book 10 or so, I find I really do need to loosely outline the structure for a whole book out in advance.
If you can be a part of any book (yours or someone else's), which one would it be? And why???
If it's my own, I think I wouldn't mind a night like Norah's in Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. If someone else's, I'd love to step inside the fantasy realm of Gemma Doyle in Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty books - it's so lush, and dangerous, and rich in detail and excitement.
Who are your favorite book characters?
Definitely Gemma Boyle! Also any characters in any of Jaclyn Moriarty's books -they're all so lovable and complicated and quirky. I greatly admire Lakshmi in Patricia McCormick's Sold. I have a huge soft spot for Gail in David Levithan's The Realm of Possibility. I adore Francesca in Melina Marchetta's Saving Francesca and Audrey from Robin Benway's Audrey, Wait! And I have a total girl crush on Jessica Darling from Megan McCafferty's Sloppy First books - she's such a smart and cool everygirl. The list could go on and on.
You co-wrote Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List with David Levithan. If you can co-write with any other author...dead or alive...who would it be?
My author crush at the moment is Jaclyn Moriarty - she's tops on my list because I love her writing so much but also because she lives in Australia, enough of a geographic distance that the chances of me getting on her nerves in person would lessen considerably.
There are a lot of pop culture references in your books. So, what are your favorite TV shows and/or movies?
Favorite TV shows at the moment are Glee, Mad Men, How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock. My favorite TV shows of all time are The Wire, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Freaks and Geeks, Curb Your Enthusiasm and My So-Called Life. My favorite movies I saw this year are Up and The Hurt Locker. My favorite movies of all time are Coal Miner's Daughter, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Out of Sight, Rear Window, Rushmore, Reds, Being There, Raising Victor Vargas...and so many more, that's a short list. I'd live at the movies if I could.
Your characters are loveable and relatable. They are wonderful family members and/or friends. Do you keep certain loved ones in mind when developing characters?
Not really. I try to let my characters be their own people, flaws and all.
Shrimp (from the Cyd Charisse series) seems like such a cool, mellow surfer dude, yet kind of mysterious...Have you ever considered writing a book from his point of view?
I think what I've figured out about Shrimp is that as much as I love him, he is as mysterious to me as an author as he is as a character. I'm definitely intrigued by the idea of writing from his point of view, but I don't think I could get inside his head close enough - I think the closest I can get is through CC's heart.
CC and company would make an amazing TV series (in my opinion). Are there any developments on that front?
No developments on that front. Every now and then I tinker with the idea of trying to develop a TV series about the characters, but I always get sidetracked by other ideas.
And out of curiosity...if you could pick the actors for this series...who would they be???
It's hard to name actors because they age out of the role too quickly (a problem when writing teen characters). In my head, Cyd Charisse looks a lot like Eliza Dushku as the Faith character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Shrimp looks like a young Deryck Whibley from early Sum41. I could see Nancy being played by January Jones from Mad Men but a few years older. Beyond that, I don't really know! Who would you cast?
The Cyd Charisse series take place in New York City and San Francisco and there is a constant search for caffeine. Which city do you prefer to be in to get caffeinated and any recommendations?
Funnily enough, I prefer Los Angeles for my caffeination! There's an awesome barista named Cesar at my favorite place in West Hollywood who makes great brews and always remembers my orders, even when I haven't been to see him in several months (from this particular place, I like iced skim cappuccinos). In San Francisco, I love Peet's and Caffe Puccini. In New York, I usually hit up Le Pain Quadronno on Madison Ave near the Met is amazing (but a bit of a schlep for me). I also love Sant Ambroeus in the West Village.
Finally, Very LeFreak will be released in January 2010. But are you working on any current projects right now?
I have a new book with David Levithan coming out in October 2010 that I am really excited about - I love how the book turned out. Other than that, I'm in the tinkering with ideas stage right now. Any suggestions? ;)
Thank you mucho to Rachel Cohn for answering these questions. You guys should check out her site www.rachelcohn.com and read her books. I cannot wait for the new ones to come out!

***And if you read the CC books...I'm also curious to find out who you would cast***

***Now go and pick up your favorite cup of tea or because it's Rachel Cohn's fave: cappuccino (or whatever you prefer) along with a Rachel Cohn book and HAPPY readings!!!***


  1. Awesome Q&A!! i can't wait 2 read Rachel's new book Very LeFreak!!

  2. Great questions, Jenn-ay!
    Gemma Doyle is one of my favorite book characters too.

    Now I'm off to check out Rachel Cohn's website. :)

  3. Love the interview! You've done a great job!

  4. Great interview! You got some really great answers out of her. I like how her brain works, I need to read something by her.

  5. This is a great interview. I love reading about what makes her want to write and what authors she likes. I really want to read her book after finding out she includes many pop-culture references in her books.

    Thank you!

  6. Gemma Doyle is one of my favorite book characters too. Love the questions! :)

  7. Great interview =) I've been meaning to read some books by Jaclyn Moriarty but they're so hard to find in the Philippines.

  8. I had totally forgotten that she had co-written Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist! that book is very high in my TBR list :) thanks for the great interview!

  9. I've heard good things about Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist. I need to get a copy soon.

  10. Good coffee plus a good book, now that's what I'm talkin' about!!!

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  11. I admire Rachel Cohn very much - she writes such good characters you can totally relate to. She rocks. Great interview, too.

  12. I KNEW her name sounded familiar! I can’t believe I forgot she wrote Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist!! Anyway, I like the way that Rachael writes. I mean, the idea that she gets and works just to find out what happens next, intrigues and amuses me. Maybe that’s the reason why she has such good twists in her books (even though the only one I have read is Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, I have a feeling that all of her books contain good twists).