Tish is the bestselling author of Inside Out Girl and Town House, as well Little Black Lies for teens and the Zoe Lama series for middle graders. She has incredible wit and humor and all her novels are laced with exquisite characters who resolve real life issues. Be sure to check out her latest book, The Truth About Delilah Blue.
What is your favorite aspect of writing? Why?
My favorite aspect of writing is the actual writing. That might sound a bit simplistic, but there are so many other aspects to the job that a writer starts to prize the hours spent writing the actual book. Right now I am outlining a new book—which means I have to dream up the storyline without the benefit of knowing the characters. I’m not a fan of outlining, but I love to have a finished outline in hand. So until they sell them ready made on eBay, I’m stuck writing them myself.
When you begin a book, do you know the ending? Or do you like to figure out the plot as you go?
I don’t know the ending when I start my chapter outline, which, for me, is really the beginning of the book. But by the time I start to write, I have a pretty good idea of how the story will end. Right now I am re-doing the chapter outline for a book that is already written but in need of major renovations. I’m answering your questions to forget the terrifying fact that I have no idea how I’m going to end the book. I am running out of questions—can you send more?
I should add that even though I do write chapter outlines for my books, I rarely follow them closely. They wind up being more of a suggestion, as so many things change once I begin to write and see what works and what doesn’t.
Do you write best in the AM or PM? How many hours do you usually write?
I write best first thing in the morning, before I’ve dressed or brushed my hair or uttered a sound. Just open my eyes, make my way to the laptop and let the words out. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of freedom very often. Late at night can also be a great time to write. But one thing I’ve learned is that, for me, there is no perfect time or place to write. I’ve written in total seclusion at my cottage up north, I’ve written in a roomful of teenage boys watching (ugh) Jersey Shore, and I’ve written with a dear friend on the streets of New York beside a building that was being demolished. It all depends what the writing demands. I just show up.