Guest: Simone Elkeles (and a contest)

Sometimes when you write something you know it’s special. You don’t know why or how you did it, but the story you just came up with was magical. I felt that way about Perfect Chemistry. It was the second book I wrote (even though it was the fourth book I sold) and I loved it from the beginning. There was just something about Alex Fuentes and Brittany Ellis’s journey that seeped into my soul and became “The Book of My Heart.”

I’d heard people talking about The Book of Their Heart a lot, and never really understood…until I started writing Perfect Chemistry. Alex had become more than just a character. It was like I knew him, as if he was real. Creepy, I know…but completely true. I felt the same way for Brittany – I felt like she was my friend and I felt her struggles and insecurities. It’s so hard to describe, and yet I knew after I’d finished the book that it was an incredible romance that I had to share with the world.

My agent at the time wasn’t excited about the book, and didn’t want to submit it. I parted with that agent and submitted it to other agents. Luckily agent Kristin Nelson also saw something special in Perfect Chemistry. She signed me and we got an offer for it from Emily Easton at Walker Books, who also loved the story. Pre-sales for Perfect Chemistry weren’t great, and therefore the first printing was only 7,500. (this was my fourth book, and my first printing for my first book was 7,500 so I felt like my big book wouldn’t get the chance to break out) Yes, I cried. I knew Perfect Chemistry was “the one”, so why didn’t buyers recognize it as the next big book?

Luckily when Perfect Chemistry came out, it flew off the shelves. Teens talked about how much they loved it. Bloggers blogged about Perfect Chemistry being the best teen romance they’d ever read. I was getting fan mail from teen girls and boys, as well as adults. It sold out immediately. My publisher had to do another printing right away, and then again a few weeks later they had to do another printing, and another, etc. Perfect Chemistry had a life of its own, and now has hundreds of thousands in sales. It won the RITA in 2010 as the best Young Adult romance, and the sequel Rules of Attraction hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. At first, foreign publishers said that Perfect Chemistry was too “American,” and nobody overseas bought it. But after the explosion in the US, foreign publishers bought it and it even won the best Young Adult romance in Spain for the Spanish version. My books have been translated into more than 10 languages, and fans are crazy for the Fuentes brothers trilogy: Perfect Chemistry, Rules of Attraction, and Chain Reaction.

Perfect Chemistry was the Little Engine that Could. It didn’t get a great start, but that didn’t matter. A good cover, word of mouth, and a romance that makes your heart melt will hopefully win in the end like it did with Perfect Chemistry. It doesn’t always happen. I’ve known of great books by great writers that have been passed over by publishers, and I feel blessed that it didn’t happen to me this time. I’d always wanted to write a series about all three Fuentes brothers, and after the success of Perfect Chemistry my publisher was on board. I loved writing Carlos’s story in Rules of Attraction, and am so excited to be sharing Luis’s story in Chain Reaction. Completing the series is bittersweet, especially because the Fuentes family has become a part of me. What’s next for the Fuentes family? Hopefully a movie or television series…the Perfect Chemistry series train isn’t ready to stop, at least that’s what my heart says!


Simone Elkeles is the award-winning and bestselling author of edgy teen romance novels. She was a teen in the 80’s and still use words like “totally” and “grody” but resists the urge to wear bright purple eye shadow and double wrap-around belts with mini skirts. Sheenjoys writing books for teens, even though she’s not one anymore (but always will be at heart). She lives outside Chicago with her family.  She can be found online at http://www.facebook.com/PerfectChemistryNovels and http://www.simoneelkeles.net/.

Purchase Links
This just in!  Simone is giving away one of her backlist titles to a random commenter.  The contest is open to US residents.  To enter, you need to leave a meaningful comment or question for Simone and be sure to leave your email address so we have a way to contact you if you’re our winner.  The contest will end on Sunday, August 21.