Simone Elkeles Interview

Sep 5, 2011
I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing Simone Elkeles in honor of her newest book, CHAIN REACTION. If you haven't heard of Simone Elkeles (where have you been?), or her books (seriously, do you live under a rock?), then here is the synopsis of her latest release:
Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn’t stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop looking for the next thrill.

Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge?
And now please welcome, Simone:

What was your favorite part about writing CHAIN REACTION?
My favorite part was writing the love story between Luis and Nikki.  As a writer, the push-pull attraction between the hero and heroine is at the heart of the book and gives me goosebumps.  If I had to pick a second favorite part, there’s a secret that comes out in the middle of the book, and Luis’s loyalty to his family comes into question. I loved writing Alex and Carlos into the story- because the bond that the brothers have is central to the entire series.
I noticed that this book is different because it’s the girl that is the danger. It made me wonder, how has Luis managed to stay good?
Actually, that was an earlier version and I changed it.  I WANTED Nikki to be bad – a gang member who drew Luis into her dark world - but it didn’t work.  I rewrote the book three times because I have so much respect for the Fuentes brothers and the series.  When I wrote Nikki as the bad girl, I didn’t have sympathy for her and that bothered me.  I didn’t root for her and Luis to be together and I had to change it.  Luis has always been a good, smart kid, but he’s still a Fuentes.  He’s got that Fuentes swagger and pride…and he’s also got a side of himself that he’s been hiding to his family.  He’s an adrenaline junkie, and that part of him definitely gets him into trouble in Chain Reaction!
Can you describe Luis Fuentes in three words?
After writing PERFECT CHEMISTRY, did you already know that you wanted to write Carlos and Luis' stories too?
I sold Perfect Chemistry as a one-book contract, but always wanted to write Carlos and Luis’s stories.  I was so thrilled that my publisher, Walker Books, agreed!  I had no clue what the stories would be about, but I knew they’d be romances with the underlying theme of family and brotherhood.
Which of the Fuentes brothers did you enjoy writing about most?
Perfect Chemistry was magical to write, and from the start I knew it was something really special.  I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t sucked into the story as much as I was – and I mean guys as well as girls.  So if I had to pick, I’d say Alex in Perfect Chemistry was the most enjoyable to write.  Now if you would have asked me which was the most fun Fuentes to write, that would have to be Carlos.  He’s such a jerk in the beginning of the book, and as a writer it’s always fun and entertaining to write the politically incorrect jerk.  I laughed a lot while I wrote Rules of Attraction.  Luis was hardest for me, because he was the nice Fuentes. I found out that I have a really hard time writing nice boys – if they’re so great/smart/good in the beginning of the book where do you go from there?  Luis was a challenge for me to write, but that just made me appreciate and love Chain Reaction that much more.
It seems that each of the girls the Fuentes brothers have been with so far were "good girls" and by deciding to be with one of the brothers it changed their whole life, and also put them in danger at times. Out of all the girl counterparts in the books, who do you think took the biggest risk?
Brittany took the risk socially, but it was Nikki from Chain Reaction that took the risk emotionally.  Nikki had been burned really bad in the past by her ex-boyfriend Marco Delgado.  To trust again and love again took a lot of courage and risk on her part.
If your daughter brought home one of the brothers, which one would you least like her to be with? Why?
That’s such a hard question because I love all of the boys so much.  If you’re going to make me pick, I’d say that Carlos is the one I’d least like my daughter to be with because he’s too cocky for his own good, looks for trouble, and has an attitude problem a mile wide.  He’s also got a heart as big as his ego, even if he tries to hide it most of the time.
In both epilogues so far each of the boys had only one child, is that all they had at the time or did both couples only want one?
Actually in the epilogue of Rules of Attraction Carlos had three children – all girls.  Alex had one son, but there are more Alex & Brittany Fuentes offspring to come.  You’ll have to read Chain Reaction to find out!
Are you planning on writing any more books in this series? Maybe about the new Fuentes children?
Right now there are no plans to write another Perfect Chemistry book, but maybe in the future I’ll write more about the Fuentes family.   They are definitely part of my heart and soul, and it’s hard to let them go so I might bring them back one day.

Find Simone Elkeles


  1. I loved Chain Reaction! It was amazing! I was just wondering one thing at the end. Did Brittany and Alex have a boy or a girl?

  2. I still haven't read Chain reaction :'(. Alex and Brittany had a son called Paco Fuentes :)

  3. I loved Chain Reaction! It was amazing!
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