FIRST: I LOVE HER NAME.
SECOND: HER BOOK SCREAMS FRIENDZONE WITH A TWIST!
THIRD: SHE’S HERE TODAY FOR AN INTERVIEW!
Meet Tiffany Pitcock, author of Just Friends!
What is your full name?
When is your birthday?
How old are you?
I love sunflowers. I used to grow them but I don’t have the space anymore.
Slide by The Goo Goo Dolls.
Favorite TV show?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
Favorite place to read and/or write?
To read: My bed at my mom’s house
To write: Literally anywhere as long as I’m alone.
It’s a tie between This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.
Who are you when you’re writing?
I’m a fevered and impassioned person who wants to be alone and does not want to be bothered.
Who are you when you’re not writing?
I like to think I’m a pretty chill person who is nice to be around.
Which do you prefer more?
When I’m writing. I feel like it gives me a sense of purpose. I love the rush of writing a new scene or plotting something out.
What drives you to write more?
I want to get my ideas on paper. The fact that I can imagine a world and characters and that someone else can read my words and picture my world blows my mind. The fact that someone somewhere can be affected by my writing is what drives me forward.
How often do you experience writer’s block and what do you do to get out of it?
Constantly. I’d say that I suffer from writer’s block more often than I actually write. What I usually do is read an old favorite book; imagine that that author probably had writer’s block some point while writing that book too, and then that can motivate me to finish. If that doesn’t work, I also like to skip ahead to a scene I’m really excited to write. Or maybe I’ll just write fun things like the characters just hanging out and talking or dancing or something stupid. I’ll also write fanfiction just to get my creative side going.
Are you a perfectionist when it comes to your work?
Not at all. My process is “write now, edit later”. If I stop to go over absolutely everything I’ve just written then I’ll never go forward. I just have to push myself to keep writing and worry about it later.
Do you like making outlines when you write, or do you prefer to start from scratch and work your way from there?
My general rule is I have to have an outline of how many chapters I want and at least two key scenes for each chapter. That gives me enough structure to know where the story is going, but enough wiggle room to figure out how to get there. Of course, outlines aren’t permanent. A creative writing professor once told me, “Don’t marry your endings”, and I think he’s right. Stories grow and evolve over time, so I view outlines as guidelines.
If you could do both at the same speed, which would you prefer: Writing on paper or typing your words? Why?
Typing. My handwriting is atrocious. I can barely read it myself.
What is the best writing advice that you could share with us?
Something Meg Cabot says on her website. In her FAQ, Meg Cabot mentions that the difference between writers and people who want to write is that writers actually find time to write. That’s true. You can say “I’m a writer” until you’re blue in the face but if you’re never actually doing any writing, then it’s just not true. You have to find time. Writing is work, and you have to be prepared to do that work.
Of all the things that you’ve ever written (poems, essays, short stories, novels, etc.), which one is the most special to you?
I’m going to say the very first draft of Just Friends. It was the first thing I’d written in five years. Back in high school, I’d written one MG manuscript and one YA, but after that, I couldn’t finish anything. When I reached the halfway point in Just Friends, I just sat there and cried because I never thought I would make it that far. It proved that I could finish another book – that I could still write.
ON HER BOOK
What inspired the idea of your first book with Swoon Reads, Just Friends?
The idea for Just Friends first came about when I was a junior in high school. I had just broken up with my first boyfriend (also my then best friend) and was torn up about it. I drowned my sorrows in teen movies. Then I came up with an idea, a twist on the whole best friend to lover trope. What if they weren’t really friends? What if it was all a lie and that fake friendship was getting in the way of their real love? It just grew from there.
What message would you like your readers to learn from that book?
That you can’t live in fiction, you can’t base everything on what you’ve seen in movies or on TV. Life doesn’t work like that.
What is the greatest challenge that you have encountered in the publishing world and how did you overcome it?
I have a confession to make: I don’t edit. I just don’t. I never have. Even in school, I’d just turn in my first draft, mistakes and all, and call it that. Then I wouldn’t read my teachers’ notes on my papers. I had an issue with reading my own writing. That’s been hard to overcome, but luckily I have a wonderful editor who is super helpful. Now I see the importance of editing my own work. There’s nothing more embarrassing than getting back your manuscript and realizing you made an easily avoidable mistake and that at least ten people saw it.
ON BOOK DISCRIMINATION
How would you define book discrimination?
On the surface, it’s choosing not to read a certain type of book for any reason. Now, of course, sometimes that can just be taste. (Ex: I personally am not a fan of overly serious books. I still enjoy them, but I don’t seek them out. That’s just my personal taste.) I define book discrimination as, for example, people who refuse to read Young Adult because they think that since it’s for teenagers it has to be dumb. Or refusing to read a romance because cute and fluffy books can’t also be important and poignant. It’s discriminating because of a preconceived notion, like a man who refuses to read books about or by women just because he thinks women can’t tell universal stories.
How do you feel about it?
It makes me angry, especially as a Young Adult author. Back when I was a reviewer and book blogger, I dealt with people always putting down my favorite books without even reading them, just because they were marketed for teenagers. In every single writing group, class, or workshop I’ve been to I’ve had someone make a remark that Young Adult books aren’t “real books” or that romance books don’t count as “real literature”. It’s infuriating. They can write off thousands of books just because of their market. I’ve been an advocate of proving that YA can be important, and you can’t discriminate against books without knowing something about them ever since.
What do you think is the cause of book discrimination?
Again, sometimes it’s just personal taste. People are allowed to like and dislike whatever they want. But sometimes I think it’s definitely a pretentious thing like they think that book is beneath them. This is especially prevalent with YA books. I’ve had people scoff at my recommendation of Anna and the French Kiss because they thought both the cover and title were too girly for them. As an English major, the majority of people around me seemed to think that if it wasn’t written by an old dead white guy, then it wasn’t worth their time. I’ve even had professors discount Harry Potter because it was popular and written for children. Had they even read Harry Potter? Of course not.
What would you do against it?
Personally, I just try to show people that books aimed at younger audiences can still have depth. Truly, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Some amazing books have really awful titles and/or covers, but you just have to look past that. If any part of it – title, cover, author, or summary – interests you in any way then give it a try regardless of what you think of other books in that genre.
Fill in the blanks. More people should read ________ by ________ because ________.
More people should read books outside of their demographics and comfort zones and learn not to judge books by their market because they just might find their next favorite book in the teen or Middle Grade section.
Thank you so much for these answers, Tiffany! I really appreciate the insights you shared, especially for the topic of my blog event. 🙂