"First of all, I have the BEST teen fans in the world," she said. "Second of all, I remember what it was like to be a teen. Everything is BIG and IMPORTANT. Some of the most important experiences of your life happen as a teen: first kiss, first love, first driving experience, first a lot of things."
Although she didn't read much when she was a teen, she remembers liking Judy Blume's Forever because it was edgy and sexy—a coming of age novel about a girl falling for a boy and losing her virginity.
"I remember being in 6th grade when all the girls at my school were obsessed with it," she told me. "Judy Blume was definitely a pioneer in writing the reality of teen life."
Simone told me that, growing up, she always wanted to be a veterinarian, but she's totally grossed out by blood and needles. "That sort of ruined that career," she quipped.
She used to try to work from home, which she loved since she spent a lot of time in her PJs. It was hard to concentrate, however, because the kids, the dogs, or the laundry always needed her attention. Now, she rents an office so she can cut herself off from the real world and really dive into her book.
"Do you prefer to write longhand, on a typewriter, or on a computer?" I asked.
"If I had to write longhand, I would still be working on my first book Perfect Chemistry! I have terrible handwriting and write really slow. I use my laptop for everything, even communicating with my husband!" She paused, then added, "I’m not proud of that fact."
If her book were turned into a movie, she admitted that in reality she probably would have little or no say as to her plays her characters.
"Alexander F. Rodriguez and Giancarlo Vidrio played Alex and Carlos Fuentes in the Rules of Attraction book trailer. They did an amazing job and my fans really like them!"
Simone told me she's sure outlining is a wonderful technique for many writers, but it doesn't work for her.
"If I plan out the story, then it’s hard for me to bring it to life. I prefer to be surprised by where my characters take me," she said.
"If you could be any character in any book, who would you be?" I wondered.
"That is one of the toughest questions. If it were one of my books, I guess Brittany Ellis from Perfect Chemistry/Rules of Attraction because Alex is the type of guy who would respect me and take care of me and let me be independent while being my forever partner in life. Plus I’d be blonde and have a kick-butt body, something I never really had before."
Simone loves interacting with her fans through email, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and her discussion group. She told me that her fans always surprise her in the best way.
"I have had more than one fan tell me that because of reading Perfect Chemistry, they have decided that they want to get out of their gang and they want more out of life. It is beyond surreal to think that my books have changed someone’s life."
At the beginning of September, Simone released Return to Paradise, which is now a New York Times Bestseller! It’s the sequel to Leaving Paradise. Maggie and Caleb are forced find themselves on the same summer trip. Together, they have to face the truth about the accident before they can look forward to a future, possibly a future together. She is also currently working on Chain Reaction, the third novel in the Perfect Chemistry series. It will be about Luis Fuentes, the youngest Fuentes brother. He’s such a good guy who doesn’t live with the angst that his big brothers have always lived with. Luis is smart, funny, and has big dreams.
"I’m currently rewriting it, so I can’t even give you a hint on what it’s about...sorry!" she said.
If you are interested in checking out the playlists for Rules of Attraction and Perfect Chemistry, check out www.PerfectChemistryTheBook.com.
Simone Elkeles is the NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of over seven teen romance novels. She has won various awards and recognition for her books, including the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for her book Perfect Chemistry and being named Author of the Year by the IL Assoc. of Teachers of English.