Q and A with Author Tish Cohen

Please Welcome Tish Cohen to Serendipitous Readings.  I became a fan of her work when I read Inside, Out Girl about 2 years ago, so, I was really excited when she agreed to answer a few questions.

1.  In Inside, Out Girl, you discuss a young girl who has a learning disability and bullying, in Town House agoraphobia, and in your latest The Truth About Delilah Blue you tackle parental abduction and Alzheimer’s.   Was there something that struck you about these issues that you wanted to know more about them, then decided to write a novel based or around the topic?

I was fascinated with the issue most of us face as adult children: aging parents. There comes a point where the parent/child roles reverse themselves and the child must take care of a vulnerable mother or father. It is easy to imagine how an adult child will cope with this given a typical upbringing. But I started to wonder what would happen if the parent had grossly wronged their son or daughter in childhood. How would that child eventually cope with taking care of that parent when his or her health is failing? Victor is that parent, and Alzheimer’s is what is rendering him vulnerable and frightened. The Truth About Delilah Blue is largely about Delilah’s confusedness given the above scenario.

2.   Parental abduction seems to be a growing trend nowadays with parents becoming more and more disenfranchised with the legal system and the amount of time it takes to settle a custody battle.  Do you think this has an effect on how or why parents take matters into their own hands?

I do think a desperate parent is more likely to act if he feels the law is not on his side. Often the parent knows he will not have the custody arrangement he desires and decides to do something extreme. I don’t think it is a result of the legal system, which is largely fair and just. It’s more a result of one person’s perception that the system is working against him or her.

3.  Delilah is considered an outsider.  Do you think that her father’s abduction cemented that facet of her into her personality?.  Do you think a child who has been abducted by one of their parents feel or become the same or with more severe traits?

Any abducted child is bound to feel isolated. Typically, they are moved to a place where they know no one and might be sequestered from all family and family connections. These kids are torn not only from siblings and the left behind parent, but also their school and friends and hobbies. Often their names are changed, or their appearance altered. They may be taken to another country. And more often than not, the child is kept away from potential friends. It is a terrible life for a child, definitely not conducive to fitting in.

4.   Is there a Historical Figure you most identify with? Why ?

I do identify somewhat with Virginia Woolf and the way she lived too much inside her head. I don’t, however, have any plans to follow her into the river.

5. Which words or phrases do you use/overuse?

Stared, shrugged, and smiled.  My characters are, henceforth, forbidden to do any of these things!

6.Besides your talent for writing, which other talent(s) would you like to have and why?

I would love to be a ballet dancer. But given the choice, I’d rather be a writer.

7. Who are your favorite writers? Why?

I am obsessed with Elizabeth Strout, Michael Cunningham, and Anne Tyler for their prose and their incredibly real characters.

8.  If you were to die, what would you like to come back as and why?

A less lazy, less neurotic version of myself.

9.   What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Perfect happiness = sitting around with people I care about after writing, working out, and getting incredibly good news from Hollywood!

10.  Which person alive or dead do you most admire and why?

I admire Alice Munro for her gorgeous stories.

A huge thanks to Tish, her publicist, and the beautiful people over at HarperCollins Canada  you know who you are !

My Review of The Truth About Delilah Blue

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