Sporty One to Watch: Interviewing Simone Elkeles, Author of WILD CARDS

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WILD CARDS is scheduled to release on Oct. 1, 2013 from Bloomsbury Walker Books for Young Readers. Fans of Simone Elkeles, one of today's most prominent contemporary YA authors, are excited because Simone Elkeles has a new book coming!

New fans are excited because this book focuses around sports, predominantly football...and WILD CARDS features a female football player, which we haven't seen since Miranda Kenneally's debut novel CATCHING JORDAN. How will Elkeles handle a girl in the sport? I, for one, can't wait to see!

Simone Elkeles was kind enough to take part in an interview about her upcoming new Wild Cards series for Girls in Sports Week!

An interview with 
Simone Elkeles

Simone Elkeles is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of novels for teens. Simone’s books have won many awards including being YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, being named to the YALSA Popular Paperbacks and Teens Top Ten lists, and added to the Illinois “Read for a Lifetime” Reading List. Simone also won the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for her book Perfect Chemistry. Simone is especially proud of the fact that the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named her Author of the Year.

Visit Simone on her website, Twitter, and Facebook!

Were you athletic growing up? What sports did you love/play?

I was very athletic growing up and have to thank my parents for being blessed with great hand-eye coordination. I love tennis, football, and badminton! I’m also awesome on the speedbag at the boxing gym-guys in college used to watch me in awe as I hit the bag faster than any other guy. I played tennis as a teen and in high school I wanted to try out for the football team. Since none of my friends would try out with me, I didn’t do it. But I can still throw a pretty mean spiral and taught my son how to throw a football. I was on the badminton team in high school and would love to play more!

Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming novel WILD CARDS?

I’m SOOOOO excited about it. It’s about Ashtyn Parker, the high school kicker on the football team and Derek Fitzpatrick, a boy who stopped playing football after his mom died. It’s funny and emotional and I loved writing the scenes where Ashtyn and Derek challenge each other. They’re both strong characters who definitely clash and don’t want to be attracted to each other but they are! You can read more about it on my website at
What inspired you to make Ashtyn a female football player in WILD CARDS?

Ashtyn is the girl in me who, in high school, wanted to be on the football team. Unfortunately I was too insecure to be the only girl on the team. I wish I could do it over again because I would have definitely been on that field! I guess I’m reliving that dream by writing Ashtyn!

Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect when we meet Ashtyn this fall?

Ashtyn is a girl who just wants to be loved. She has trouble trusting people, because everyone who she’s loved in the past has left her without a backward glance. I love writing strong heroines. Ashtyn is also best friends with a bunch of guys on her team and “gets” them…which is very much like me! I have a LOT of guy friends and it’s scary how I know exactly what they’re thinking. Ashtyn is athletic without losing her femininity, which I love. You can be cute and sexy and feminine all at once!
What can we expect with future books in the Fullriders series?

It has actually been changed to the Wild Cards series instead (My publisher didn’t love the title Fullriders so they asked me to change it). There will be a LOT of drama with the boys on the football team – because sometimes your best friends let you down and are your rival when you least expect it and sometimes they’re your biggest supporter. Victor’s story is next - I’m super excited to let you know who he’s in love with but I can’t. Soon I will, though! Maybe when you read WILD CARDS you’ll realize who it is! (I am also doing book trailers for WILD CARDS – I cannot WAIT for that to come out!)

Are you planning to feature more athletic female heroines in future novels?

My daughter is an ice hockey player, so I’d love to write about a female hockey player in one of my books! At the end of CHAIN REACTION, the girl is a hockey player. I love sports so much that it’s hard NOT to write them into my stories.
One thing I really enjoy about your books is their diversity and emotional depth. Your characters experience so many things in life, which shape them in various ways. What have been your hardest (and easiest) writing moments so far?

The hardest thing for me to do is kill characters that I love…like Paco in PERFECT CHEMISTRY. I seriously cried when he died! Maggie in LEAVING PARADISE was hard for me to write because she is so unlike me. I love writing diverse characters and showing what it’s like to be in someone else’s skin – it’s very powerful. When Maggie had to stop playing tennis because of her injuries, it was emotional for me. I couldn’t imagine not being able to play a sport that I loved.

What other books would you recommend to readers looking for more athletic female characters?

CATCHING JORDAN by Miranda Kenneally. 
MEXICAN WHITEBOY by Matt De La Peña does not have an athletic female character but it was a great baseball story!

Thank you so much, Simone!
I loved seeing how big of a role sports have played in your life, and think you will be an inspiration for many girls! 
Thanks for teasing us with info on WILD CARDS.
I'm looking forward to your new series!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Simone Elkeles
Release Date: Oct. 1, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Walker Books for Young Readers

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama. 

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?


  1. Great Interview! I CANNOT WAIT FOR WILD CARDS...As a Girl who wanted to be RUDY and play at Notre Dame, I am SOOOO All about the girl footballers!! Can't WAIT!! And BTW, another WONDERFUL Sports Romance with a Girl-Quarterback is DAIRY QUEEN by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

  2. Bonnie, thank you SO MUCH for letting me visit your blog! I had a great time talking about Wild Cards and I really appreciate all of your support! Thank you!!!


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