An Interview with Janet Tashjian
Are you like any of the characters in your books?
While I'm working on a book, I never think the characters have anything
to do with me. Then when I finish and read the manuscript over, I discover
they do. Trudy's ambition and runaway ideas are familiar qualities; Monica's
hyper-analyzing stems from me too. (I also freeze snowballs in the winter to
use in July the way her neighbor Darcy does.) Larry and I believe that
ordinary people can change the world - in fact it's the main reason why
we're here. (We both do yoga too. I do a better full lotus, but his tree
pose blows me away.) There's usually a little piece of me in every character
How long does it take you to write a book? How do you write them?
It usually takes me 3-5 months to write a novel, another month to rewrite
it. I write both on the computer and in longhand. I like the freedom of
writing in a notebook; you can do it anywhere. I edit and revise on the hard
(A leftover habit from being a Journalism major.)
Nonfiction when I'm working on a novel. For me, it's difficult to be
inside two fictional worlds at the same time. But I read a lot, at least two
books a week. Reading is one of my favorite activities, hands down.
Once you write a book, are you done?
NO!! It's just like when your teacher gives you back the book report you
slaved over and thought was perfect. But when you get it back, there's so
much red ink on it, it looks like a road map of downtown Manhattan. Same
thing when my editor returns a manuscript to me. I storm around the house
for a day, then roll up my sleeves and get going on the rewrite.
Do you ever base your characters on people you know?
You have much more to mine from when you stay in the world of the
imagination. That doesn't mean, however, that I don't steal my friends'
names and use them all the time; I do.
Did you have anything to do with the Disney Channel movie 'Tru
I didn't write the screenplay but went to the set in Toronto for three
days while they were shooting. The movie was different than the novel (the
kids were older, there was a father) but I thought they did a great job. I
was mostly concerned that Eddie be portrayed well; Disney had a
mental-health professional on the set to make sure he was. I was very happy
when I saw the finished product. I am always breathlessly asked if I met
Shia and Clara. Yes, they are both adorable, talented, and take their jobs