Giveaways Inspirations and Influences

Guest Author (& Giveaway): Simone Elkeles on Inspirations and Influences

Simone Elkeles’ Rules of Attraction, the second book in the Fuentes Brothers’ series and follow up to the MUY BUENO Perfect Chemistry (reviewed by Ana HERE), is coming out in the UK and to celebrate it, we are proud to present a guest post by the author on her inspirations and influences behind the series and a giveaway of both books!

Ladies and Gents, Simone Elkeles!

First of all, thanks so much for the invitation to appear on The Book Smugglers! I’m so excited to be reaching out to all my fans in the UK!

Perfect Chemistry was the second novel I wrote, but my fourth book that got published. From the moment I finished it, I knew that it was special. By the end of the book, Alex and Brittany had become more than just characters. It’s hard to describe to others who haven’t written a book. People always tell me that being an author is “a business”…but it’s the most personal business there is. Each word, each scene, each character came from my mind. It’s almost surreal when you finish a book (and I urge everyone reading this to try). It’s a creation you can share with the world, and if it actually changes someone’s life by the words you’ve written…well, that’s the cherry on top of the cake!

Fairfield (the setting for Perfect Chemistry) is based off of a high school next to where I grew up. There is a large Latino community on one side of the tracks (yes, there are literally train tracks separating the two sides) and a very wealthy community with people living in mansions on Lake Michigan on the other side. When I heard that suburban gangs in the area were on the rise, I wanted to explore what it would be like for someone from one side of the town to fall for someone on the other side. I do love exploring love stories that have cultures clashing. Once I started researching suburban gangs (which are very different than city gangs), it was eye-opening. I didn’t know how much honor and loyalty to family and community are tied into gang affiliation, especially in the Latino gang culture. Some of the kids in gangs I interviewed have seen more violence, death, drug trafficking and crime than anyone should see in their lifetime. They live not knowing if they’ll survive another day, and some don’t even care. I’ve met really good kids who are stuck in bad situations. They want to get out and live a clean, gang-free life, but don’t know how or don’t think there’s another way to live. My heart goes out to those kids. That part of it makes me want to write about boys like Alex, Carlos, and Luis Fuentes.

I interviewed suburban gang members as well as police officers and gang detectives who work in the toughest, deadliest parts of Chicago. When I have book discussions at juvenile detention centers, the boys always share tidbits of information with me that I’ve used in my books. I went on a “ride along” with the gang detectives in Chicago and got to talk to some gang members. It was a surreal experience and I actually had to be fitted with a bulletproof vest and was instructed to act like a detective myself (without the guns that my “partners” wore). When I see the lives these kids are living, I am more motivated than ever to write a story that might inspire someone else to get out of that lifestyle. I have fans that are gang members. They’re actually surprised I didn’t grow up in the streets like them, because they say I portray the reality of their lives. They relate to Alex and Carlos on so many levels. I’ve had more than a few fans say that my books have inspired them to clean up their lives and get out of their gangs.

Originally, I just started writing for fun and to see if I could do it. Now, that I’ve heard more than once that my books have changed someone’s life or inspired them try for a better life, I am more motivated than ever to keep writing. I still write for fun, but in the back of my mind I feel like I’m accomplishing a little bit more. I get inspiration from teens who’ve emailed me their personal struggles. Sometimes I cry reading the horrible situations these kids are in, but the one thing they all have in common is a little glimmer of hope. It’s incredible, really. I write fiction, but there are so many out there living the stuff I only write about. The fact that they have hope is truly amazing. I always say never give up on your dreams!

Thanks again for the opportunity to be a part of The Book Smugglers!

Thank you Simone!

Now, for the giveaway.

Giveaway details:

We have three copies of Perfect Chemistry AND Rules of Attraction to giveaway to 3 lucky winners. Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win. The contest is open to everyone and will run till Saturday January 22nd 11:59 P.M. (PST). One entry per person, please. We will randomly pick the winner and post it on our January 23rd stash. Good luck!


  • Liz
    January 17, 2011 at 4:46 am

    I loved this interview. I loved Perfect Chemistry and did think/feel that the portrayal of Alex’s life in the gang felt quite genuine. I had no idea that the author did this much research and am a little awestruck.

    I don’t want to be entered into the comp, I just wanted to fan-girl and gush. Really looking forward to reading Rules of Attraction even more now!

  • Katy
    January 17, 2011 at 4:49 am

    I’d love to get the books. =)

  • Gerd D.
    January 17, 2011 at 5:36 am

    I’m always up for adding another love story to my collection. 🙂

  • Cathy Shuford
    January 17, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Count me in! Thanks!

  • Susan Laura
    January 17, 2011 at 6:21 am

    I would love to read these books. And share them with my teenage daughters. Thanks –

  • Chachic
    January 17, 2011 at 6:25 am

    I love the UK covers for these books, I think the pink goes well with the rest of the designs.

    Thanks for doing this guest post. I never would’ve realized how realistic the portrayal of gangs in the books was if Simone didn’t mention it here. It really is sad that so many teens experience that kind of life.

  • April (Good Books & Wine)
    January 17, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Please don’t enter me.

    I just wanted to say how interesting all of the research Simone did for Perfect Chemistry is. I had no idea so much outside stuff went into that book. I know that’s weird and I should expect research and such, but meh, all my knowledge of gangs comes from movies.

  • Anne M Leone
    January 17, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Oh, I would love to win!

  • Megan
    January 17, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Count me as another who would love to win!

  • Sandy G
    January 17, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Interesting interview. If the people you are writting about think you were one of them then you must have done a lot of research.

  • Ashleigh
    January 17, 2011 at 7:48 am

    I’ve seen these books around and heard a lot of praise for the author from friends, but I never thought about getting them before. Now I want them so badly. Count me in too!

  • nix
    January 17, 2011 at 7:54 am

    I have been reading a lot of good reviews of these books! Totally joining this one!:)

  • Lucia
    January 17, 2011 at 7:57 am

    This interview just gives us so much info about what goes on before the actual writing of a book and I loved the way the author talks about it and about the motivations which led to the book. I’d love to win!

  • Cindy C.
    January 17, 2011 at 8:05 am

    I super love this series, its so romantic. Please count me in.

  • Kristen H.
    January 17, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Great interview, I would love to win this series. I haven’t yet read them but keep hearing great things about it.

  • Stephanie
    January 17, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Thank you so much, Ms. Elkeles for sharing this with us, and I’m so happy that your book has given hope. I would love to win this series.

  • JenP
    January 17, 2011 at 8:23 am

    I love these books. Thanks for sharing!

  • Pauline
    January 17, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I’ve always wanted to read these. Thank you! 😀

  • John
    January 17, 2011 at 8:35 am

    I really need to get around to reading these. Hot Latino heroes = yum yum yum. The general hate-to-love plotline is usually a good one for me as well. YA romance is just so fresh and fun with this, and it clearly shows with Simone’s major fanbase. 🙂

  • brit
    January 17, 2011 at 8:42 am

    These books sound interesting. I would love the opportunity to read them.

  • Tina
    January 17, 2011 at 8:54 am

    It was really interesting to read about Simone’s research and writing process. Thanks for the awesome post and the chance to win!

  • Serena
    January 17, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I’ve always always wanted to read these! great giveaway

    anedia @

  • Ailsa
    January 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I still haven’t read Perfect Chemistry, but it’s been on my wishlist for a while. It’s amazing to hear that the stories have inspired people to get out of the situations they are in, and give them hope for the future.

    Thanks for running the competition, Book Smugglers!

  • Genna Sarnak
    January 17, 2011 at 9:47 am

    These books look great and they are both on my shelf of books “To Be Read”! I’d love to win them! Thanks for the opportunity! 😀

    Genna from Reading, Writing, and the World of Words

  • Ashly F.
    January 17, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Simone Elkeles is one of my all-time favorite authors!!! I adore all of her novels. Her passion is evident in everything she writes.


  • Scribe Kira
    January 17, 2011 at 9:59 am

    thanks for the great post and contest!!!! haven’t read the series, but this a great incentive!!!=)

  • CrystalGB
    January 17, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I would love to read these books. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  • Kara
    January 17, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Even if I don’t receive the free copy, I just wanted to say that here’s yet another set of books I’ll have to add to my TBR pile. Drat you smugglers! I kid. 😛

  • Tina
    January 17, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Would love to win!
    A great guest post..:)

  • Amy
    January 17, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I would love to have these books!

  • Maike
    January 17, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Count me in! Thanks!

  • Nadine Nys
    January 17, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I really would love to win. Thanks for this chance.

  • Iffath
    January 17, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Fantastic post! I didn’t know Simone had to do this much research for the book! I’m even more excited for rules of Atrraction now :))

    Thanks for the giveaway as well 😉

  • Lisa
    January 17, 2011 at 11:00 am

    It’s so interesting to see how much research and interviewing goes on behind the scenes of writing a book! Thanks Simone! I’ll stash away those notes for the future! 😀

  • Quill
    January 17, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I work at a library in the town next to the one these books are set in, and the demographics are the same. I just started working there, and had some latina teens come in looking for those books. We don’t have them, because the budget is so small and no one has been buying teen fiction. They’re first on my list once I get permission to start buying books! There aren’t enough portrayals of American latina/latino teens as main characters.

    I would really love to get those books on the shelves! /end shameless begging.

    As a side note, I worked in a high school further west of the area, and they had something like 23 copies of Perfect Chemistry, and they were frequently all checked out. Not a class set, just all checked out. It was unbelievably popular. I’m sure Rules of Attraction is just as popular now.

  • Teri C
    January 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Oh I have heard great things about these books. I cannot wait! I would lurve them.

  • Kaya H
    January 17, 2011 at 11:19 am

    The reviews I have seen coming on these books have been fantastic. I cannot wait to get my hands on copies. Thank you.

  • Elizabeth
    January 17, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Count me in, thanks!

  • C.G.
    January 17, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Thank you Thank you! I have been wanting to read these forever…

  • Teresa N
    January 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

    “Rules of Attraction” has such a beautiful and romantic cover. Definitely getting added to my TBR pile. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Brenna
    January 17, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I’d love to have this book!!

  • MarieC
    January 17, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Love the covers! Count me in!

  • Hannah
    January 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I always love to hear stories of authors putting so much energy, time and love into researching a story. That’s some real dedication to portraying the lives of real people accurately. Much respect! And having only vaguely heard of these books before it’s cool to find out what they’re actually about! 😛 Definitely something I would be interested in reading about, so thanks for holding the contest!

  • ThisViewOfMine
    January 17, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I’d love to read these two books!

  • Carol Thompson
    January 17, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I am not sure that a book could ever change my life but I am glad that some people say that has happened to them.

    Please enter me in the giveaway.

    Thank you.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  • danielle
    January 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm


    enter me, if you please(:

  • Su
    January 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Wow, what an interesting read! Thank you for this post and for the contest.

  • Maria
    January 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    A giveaway, yay 🙂

  • Katie
    January 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    All the background info she researched before writing is so interesting!
    I would love to win!

  • Tatiana
    January 17, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Sounds like a great read! Another great giveaway.

  • elaing8
    January 17, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I’ve read so many great reviews for her books.please count me in for the giveaway

  • The Book Vixen
    January 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I love getting an inside look to how a book comes to life! Elkeles’ effort and time spent doing the research for this series truly shows in her writing.

  • Jackie
    January 17, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Okay, these look pretty awesome–I’d like to be entered into the drawing for Perfect Chemistry!

  • Breanne M.
    January 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Great post and great contest!

  • Lillian
    January 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I think it’s awesome how much time and effort she put into research for this book. It really makes me want to read it!

  • Sarah
    January 17, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks for the contest guys 🙂

  • Indigo
    January 17, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Wicked awesome books! I’ve been wanting to read these two books for a while now. Thanks for the opportunity and the giveaway! (Hugs)Indigo

  • Amanda L
    January 17, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    These have been on my to read list for a while now – they sound right up my alley, plus the covers are fabulous!

  • Phil Hansen
    January 17, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Those look hot!

  • Evey
    January 17, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    And look, the covers (at least PC; RoA is a little harder to see) haven’t been whitewashed!

  • Victoria Zumbrum
    January 17, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read both books.

  • Lynossa
    January 17, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Wow, thanks for the opportunity! It was great to see Simone here.

  • Joder
    January 17, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I’ve been wanting to read this series after seeing so many wonderful reviews so I’m crossing my fingers that I win. I love gritty stories full of emotion and am impressed with how deep the author went in to creating these characters. I love a realistic story that puts you through the wringer.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  • Angie D
    January 17, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    I would love to be entered! These books are supposed to be great and I can’t wait to read them.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Bethie
    January 17, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to win.

  • Jen
    January 17, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Ohh that’s so cool 😀
    Thanks for this awesome contest!

  • JenM
    January 17, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I’m in. I’ve always wanted to read these books.

  • Folashade Kehinde
    January 17, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Thanks for the Giveaway! I hoped you like it. 😀

  • Folashade Kehinde
    January 17, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    i love this book.

  • Llehn
    January 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I’d love to play please 😀

  • Tiffany M.
    January 17, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    These books are amazing!!! I can’t wait for the third. 🙂

  • Anonymous
    January 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Great interview! I love hearing the story behind the story!

  • Kiki Hamilton
    January 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    oops! sorry – I was the anonymous above!

  • Stephanie K.
    January 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    I’d love to read these books, the covers are gorgeous. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • winnie
    January 17, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Awesome interview and thanks for the giveaway! I’ve been meaning to read Perfect Chemistry… hope I win 🙂


  • SGS
    January 18, 2011 at 12:09 am

    Me please!

  • Mariska
    January 18, 2011 at 12:14 am

    I’ve been wanting to read this book . Enter me in please !!

  • Jenni
    January 18, 2011 at 12:23 am

    I would LOVE to win these books!! I’ve been dying to get my hands on them.

  • Aurelia
    January 18, 2011 at 12:56 am

    I love the way Simone Elkeles writes her books because it feels real and the characters are alays great 🙂

  • Stella (Ex Libris)
    January 18, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Ever since I started blogging the name of Simone Elkeles always came up with praises, gushing and fangirl squeeks. I have to blushingly admit that so far I haven’t gotten around to read any of her books yet, but have already put them on my wishlist, so I would love to finally discover her writing!

    Thank you!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Claudia
    January 18, 2011 at 2:25 am

    I would love a copy!

  • vickyvak
    January 18, 2011 at 2:39 am

    Interesting interview! I would love to win these books! I have been dying to read them!


  • Aishah Ali
    January 18, 2011 at 2:54 am

    loved this series and i love this author.

  • Jade
    January 18, 2011 at 3:09 am

    Oh, man, I just love Love LOVE Simone’s Perfect Chemistry series! I’m actually re-reading it all over again, when I get the chance to, since the library only has one copy of each 🙁 but it’s good enough for me 😀
    The main female protagonists, Brittany and Kiara, in both books are great, but there’s something about the Fuentes brothers. They’re awesome, and at their best around the girls. The books are witty, definitely, and I’m so hyped up because I really can’t wait for Chain Reaction! 🙂
    Thank you for a chance in this giveaway!


  • Lobo
    January 18, 2011 at 5:12 am

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about Simone Elekes so I’d love to try these books.

  • Jenn C.
    January 18, 2011 at 5:31 am

    These two books look amazing. I would love a chance to win them, especially as my library no longer carries Perfect Chemistry.

  • Niveau
    January 18, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Pink! The pink is awesome! I never think about the research behind books, so it’s really cool to read about it. Simone is much braver than I am, that’s all I can say.

  • Margay
    January 18, 2011 at 6:39 am

    I really enjoyed Perfect Chemistry myself and have been looking forward to Rules of Attraction.

  • Priya
    January 18, 2011 at 6:50 am

    I love Simone’s books so much!! I would love to win, please enter me. =]


  • Folashade Kehinde
    January 18, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Thanks for the Book. 😀

  • Ellie
    January 18, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Ohh, please count me in!!! 😀 I soooo wanna read this books!!!!


  • Johanna Jochum
    January 18, 2011 at 10:30 am

    These books look very good! Please enter me! thanks! 🙂

  • Rachael L
    January 18, 2011 at 10:50 am

    This is a great series of books. Thank you for the contest!

  • Rebecca
    January 18, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I have not read these books, but the students at the school where I am the librarian have been putting them in the suggestion box. These kids love series so it would be great to be able to provide these books for check out. So, please enter me and by proxy my 600 students to win!

  • Kaethe
    January 18, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I had Perfect Chemistry on my radar, but now it’s got to move to the top of the stack!

  • Tara K. McCann
    January 18, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I am a teen librarian and even though I buy multiple copies of these books and GIVE AWAY my own copies, I can’t get my hands on one long enough to read one!
    –Tara K. McCann

  • Maureen
    January 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Please enter me.

  • Debora B
    January 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    *squeal* I’ve been DYING – for a long time now – to read Perfect Chemistry! And I loooove the cover from Rules of Attraction!!! *-* Rain, cars and kisses, what’s not to love? lol

    Definitely count me in!!! =)

    Great giveaway, thaaaanks so much!

  • Courtney
    January 18, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Sounds like a good one!

  • Jufuzle19
    January 18, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    eep! I looove these books! pick me! pretty please!

  • Ali
    January 19, 2011 at 5:14 am

    Yes please!

  • Donna
    January 19, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I would love a copy of these books!

  • Paige
    January 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Those are both phenomenal covers!

  • Tania
    January 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I love to read these books! I read the interview and I was like “I need to read these books!” I would love to win the giveaway and this is my most favorite website because they give amazing reviews.

  • jennifer
    January 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    OMG! i always wanted to read this but it isnt available in my bookstore :(… i heard so much good reviews on this books

    January 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm


  • Melanie L
    January 19, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Please count me in! I would love to read these books.

  • PiscesMuse
    January 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I would love to win these books.

    thanks for hosting the contest.

  • Lisa
    January 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Whoo hooo! Count me in! Thanks!

  • CC
    January 20, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Im on a budget and my library don’t have these two, and of course I have them on my tbr list. So, here is me begging…pick me, please! Oh, and thank you for an awsome blog!

  • Sylvia
    January 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    I’ve read Perfect Chemistry and boy was it wonderful! I can’t wait to read Rules of Attraction! Thanks for this contest!

  • Mrs. DeRaps
    January 20, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    First of all, holy awesome covers! All of Elkeles’s books are brilliantly beautiful! I would love to read this series!

    mrsderaps @ hotmail . com

  • Jessy
    January 21, 2011 at 6:52 am

    I am in desperate need of new books and would love to try a new author.

  • SaraC
    January 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I’ve had Perfect Chemistry on my TBR list for a while now! It sounds great!

  • alcee clayborne
    January 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I have been wanting to read this series so thanks for the great giveaway.

  • Addie
    January 22, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Count me In! 😀 :mrgreen:

  • Eva SB
    January 22, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Great interview – it is amazing to hear about your experiences and how you have affected people lives.

  • Angela
    January 22, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Loved Perfect Chemistry!

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