Janet Tashjian: ta-jen (Armenian)
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 I write.
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 copy itself.
(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 Confessions'?
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 very seriously.
Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.
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