Tish Cohen is the author of the YA novel Little Black Lies ( I read it a while back and adored it. You can check out my review here.) along with several adult novels. Though, without a further ado, here's my interview with her!
1) First off, I’m going to give you a couple of categories and I would like you to list your favorite.
Food? Burritos, definitely.
Drink? Fruit juice right out of the juicer
Book? This changes all the time but right now I would have to say Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Author? John Irving
Movie? My Life as a Dog
2) Your debut to the YA world was published this past October. So, can you share with us what you road to publication was like for it?
Well I was already published as a writer of adult fiction, so it certainly wasn’t as difficult as when we sold my very first book. Basically, I worked with my agent on the manuscript for six months after completing it and he shopped it around to editors. One editor seemed to really get the book and the character but she had issues with a few areas of plot and rejected it. We did have strong interest from another publisher but I felt strongly about the first one so I offered to revise the book and resubmit to her – if she would agree to have another look. She did and she wound up buying the book.
3) Also, what inspired you to write Little Black Lies?
Anton High is loosely based on New York’s Stuyvesant High School, which is the most sought-after public high school in America and is tougher to get into than Harvard. I’d read an interesting article about Stuy in New York magazine and saved it because the students at this prestigious school sounded so unique. Then one day I picked it up…
4) Whose your favorite character in Little Black Lies?
Hm. Hard to say. It just might be Carling Burnack’s dread-locked chauffeur because he appears to be such a no hoper but he really has soul. He really cares for Carling when few others do.
5) How did the title Little Black Lies come to be?
I think the title came to me very early in the process. Once I knew Sara was going to tell a slew of lies to fit in, and that some of the lies would be quite hurtful, the title just happened.
6) Sara’s dad in Little Black Lies has an obsessive-compulsive disorder which leaves me to wonder why you made him have this problem? Was it something that came from your life or did you just want to explore the disorder?
I thought if Charlie was really going downhill in terms of his problem, if something was causing his cleaning and washing and obsessing to worsen, it would make him more of a threat to Sara’s social life. And I liked that he just couldn’t help it and that Sara just couldn’t help being frustrated by it – it added a nice believable tension.
The biggest thing would be to give people a chance to know you before you decide to hide parts of yourself. Also, as it concerns Sara’s mother, some people you cannot change no matter how hard you wish. And if you have a person like that in your life, you have to lower your expectations about how they will behave toward you. Otherwise you’ll constantly be disappointed. In life, everyone is just doing the best they can with what they have to work with – and it might be better to look at people who disappoint you with a degree of empathy instead of frustration.
8) What’s one of the most interesting comment you have received about your books since you‘ve become a published author?
Well…this is kind of embarrassing! When my first adult book, Town House, came out, the Globe and Mail newspaper said this: “Winsomely told...there's more than quirky charm and endearing oddness in the characters Cohen creates. They're sharp and can bite in the barbed way that the more mordant inhabitants of Alexander McCall Smith's “44 Scotland Street” do; Cohen's Lucie is a North American near-relative of McCall Smith's Bertie, and that's an incredible achievement in itself.” The reason this one stands out for me is that I liked the way the reviewer noticed my characters aren’t just odd. I do want readers to see the characters as offbeat and unpredictable. I liked that he said they are sharp and can bite.
9) If you could have any job in the world besides being an author, what would you choose?
10) What’s up next for you book-wise?
I am writing the first draft of my next novel for teens—something very different from Little Black Lies!
Thanks so much, Tish! I hope everyone gets the chance to check out Little Black Lies along with the rest of your books! :)
Tish's books on Amazon/Barnes and Noble/Indie Bound.