Topic of the Week: November 23-27, 2009

BooksAreGreatGifts

Join the campaign to promote book sales this holiday season. Go to http://bit.ly/W8DsW and drape your Twitter avatar with a BOOKS ARE GREAT GIFTS twibbon.

We’ve all read books where characters seem cut from cardboard, their settings interchangeable and their plots over used. Publishers crank out books like these by the dozens and while they are read and appreciated by many, these titles and their authors rarely rise to the top. This week in LitChat we’ll discuss books that break those stereotypes with memorable characters set in distinctive places; books that would be swept away by the tides of banality except for their fresh voices.

LitChat-TishCohen

Tish Cohen (with Ryder)

Joining us on Friday, November 27, is bestselling author of tween, teen, and adult fiction, Tish Cohen. Tish’s first novel, Town House, was optioned for film before the novel was sold. She followed that success with a series for tweens featuring the spunky know-it-all Zoe Costello, aka, the Zoe Lama. In her recently released YA novel, Little Black Lies, Tish explores the rich girl/poor girl world of private schools and how far a person will go to fit in.

Tish writes with a magnifying eye for detail, yet her heart for people bleeds through her words. Her second adult novel, Inside-Out Girl, had already been finished and sold to Harper-Collins when she met a young girl with the neurological disorder suffered by one of her characters in the novel. After learning about the challenges this young girl faces daily, Tish pulled back the manuscript for a massive rewrite that addressed the bullying encountered by children who don’t fit the mold.

LitChat-LittleBlackLiesTish has been a media buyer at an ad agency, a decorative painter, an art gallery manager, an illustrator, a proofreader, an editor. It was while an editor that she fell in love with “playing with words.” While perusing Oprah’s website on a day she was feeling particularly mopey about the zigzagged direction her career had taken, she happened upon this Anais Nin quote: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” She walked into her office and began writing her first adult manuscript.

All of her zig-zagged experiences are synthesized in the characters Tish creates, the world in which she places them and the zany situations they get into.

Follow Tish on Twitter: @TishCohen.