The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…

Tish Cohen’s Little Black Lies

October 05, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books

As the talented, respected and highly acclaimed author of two adult novels — Town House, Commonwealth Regional Finalist, and Inside Out Girl, a Globe and Mail bestseller — Tish Cohen certainly doesn’t lie. Her writing is actually well-known for speaking the truth and her YA debut novel, Little Black Lies, to be released next Tuesday, October 13th, follows the same rule.

In fact, when asked about this new genre venture, the author says, “So much of this book came from a place of honesty, as well as a place of acceptance.”

“It’s really a book about the sort of conflict people deal with in life. About how very angry you can be with someone you love most in the world. About how, with some relationships, as sad as it may be, it’s best to just stop expecting that person to be what you want them to be. Realize they are who they are and if they ever offer you more, you savor that like a candy you discovered in your purse. You weren’t expecting it and may never find that particular candy again, so you enjoy it while you can.”

Difficult yet important life lessons for adults to learn, let alone adolescents. However there’s no doubt that Tish has successfully conveyed the message clear and strong with proof coming from early Praise. This “formula” review, in particular, must have had the author beaming:

“(wicked sense of humour) + (awesome characters)(searingly astute observations) — sentiment = (one great read)”
—Adrienne Kress author of Alex and the Ironic Gentleman

Because it’s that description which almost identifies the writer’s backstory. How? Well do you remember Janie Berman from Inside Out Girl? That character, a “14-year-old pseudo punk just dripping with attitude and love and anger,” latched on to Tish’s heart as she says, “I ADORED writing in her voice. Once I finished writing, I decided to write an entire novel in a teen voice—and I plan to do a few more!”

From that one character’s attitude and voice evolved a story described in this Synopsis:

Sara and her father are moving to Boston from small-town Lundun, Massachusetts. She is going to attend the prestigious Anton High school—crowned “North America’s Most Elite and Most Bizarre” by TIME Magazine—harder to get into than Harvard. As the new girl, Sara doesn’t know anyone; better yet, no one knows her. That means she can escape her family’s checkered past, and her father can be a surgeon instead of “Crazy Charlie” the school janitor.

What’s the harm of a few little black lies? Especially if it transforms Sara into Anton’s latest “It” girl. But then one of the popular girls at school starts looking into Sara’s past, and her father’s obsessive compulsive disorder takes a turn for the worse. Soon, the whole charade just might come crashing down…


What harm indeed? Here’s an Excerpt for a sneak peek.

Does Sara’s voice grab your attention? As I read the Advanced Reader Copy, well before learning how important this voice was to the author, my thoughts/feelings were:

Sara’s “voice” — even when less than honest — possesses confidence for she knows who she is, right or wrong. And it’s her decisiveness and caring that cause everything and everyone else to be believable.

There is depth to this novel, much more than about fitting in and being accepted. And, while attention is given to the loyalty and trust of relationships, the story ultimately comes down to dealing the hand you were dealt, making the best of it and successfully coming-to-terms with life.

Poor judgment, evasion and questionable (including hurtful) behavior are all a part of little black lies, yet not one of these is without its consequences. And, while Tish Cohen’s novel may be written with young adults in mind, the theme is universal and a reminder to anyone about what happens when you decide to deceive.

Little Black Lies is a winner and could well be the author’s best book yet…or so proclaim adult readers. What about the young adults, though, the teens that it was written for?

To discover this truth, The Divining Wand sought out Bookie, one of Tish’s friends on Facebook. Bookie is a teenager who loves books and has her own blog, A Corner of the Universe Just for Books, where she reviewed the ARC that Tish sent her. Since The Fairy Godmother in me wanted an adolescent’s point of view, this bright, perceptive and enthusiastic reader has graciously offered us the following:

“Little Black Lies is something special. Being a teen, I do not often find a novel so true to what one actually experiences in High School, and though Tish is out of High School her description is spot-on. The characters, from Sara to Poppy to every character, are someone that you could find at any high school. There is not one specific word that describes this book. Special and WOW are the only ones that come close.

Tish is a very special person, and she comes up with some of the most amazing stories that I have ever read. When you open Little Black Lies, you enter the world of Anton High, so vivid, so compelling, and so real. What amazes me is that Tish writes what is real and true. She does not try to make it unrealistic or gloss over what really happens at High School. Being an avid reader, it is not too often that I come across something like this.

Reviews are supposed to point out some faults. The only problem with this book was that there was not a single thing wrong! That never happens! Tell us your secret Tish! I REALLY REALLY REALLY love Little Black Lies, and I also believe that no matter what your gender or age is, you will as well. I have already read it twice. When October 13th comes around, rush to a bookstore and buy one! Also, wear pink, black and white to honor this day, one that should be celebrated.

This was the first advance copy that I have ever gotten, and it will always have a special place in my heart. Thanks again Tish!”

And thank you, Bookie! Little Black Lies will be available a week from tomorrow, Tuesday, Ocotber 13th, when you can “rush” to a local bookstore or favorite online retailer to purchase a copy…no matter what your gender or age, you will enjoy. After all Bookie and yours truly both agree and that’s the HONEST truth!

[Note: Two copies of Little Black Lies are being given away this week. Please leave a comment on this post between now and Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. EDT to be eligible for the random drawings. The two winners will be announced here in Thursday’s post.]

The Revealing of Tish Cohen

September 23, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

The lovely, warm, and incredibly gifted Tish Cohen is the author of two adult novels — Town House, Inside Out Girl — and two middle grade novels — The Invisible Rules of the Zoe Lama, The One and Only Zoe Lama — which have garnered award nominations, along with film and TV series’ rights. Since we met in September 2006 at The Debutante Ball, Tish has become a respected and popular author…so why reveal her now?

Simply put, on Tuesday, October 13, 2009, Tish Cohen debuts in the YA genre with Little Black Lies which has already earned the following praise:

“I’ve read and loved every single one of Tish Cohen’s books. Little Black Lies is her best book
to date.”
—Lauren Baratz—Logsted, author of Crazy Beautiful

“Tish Cohen is a master storyteller who gives me everything I long for in a book and then some. Loveable, memorable characters, page—turning energy, a use of language that leaves me breathless, fierce intelligence, humour mixed with compassion—in short, this is a zinger of a book that portrays a daughter’s deep love for her unbalanced father. Made me sadder than sad, and bursting with hope. This book makes the world a better place.”
—Sheree Fitch, multi—award winning author of The Gravesavers

“With heart, wit, and a good dose of fun, Little Black Lies reminds us that when it comes to life even the smartest of girls has a lot to learn.”
—Jenny O’Connell, author, The Book of Luke and Local Girls

Little Black Lies will be presented here soon but, for now, let’s get to know the real Tish Cohen…beyond her pages:

Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: I no longer wish I was a collie.

Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: You attract what you think about

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: Being up north, at our chalet with my husband, two boys and our Standard Poodle. Perfection.

Q; What’s your greatest fear?
A: Being trapped anywhere I can’t escape from. Planes count, as do large crowds where the exit is far away.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Huntsville, up in Muskoka.

Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: Eleanor Roosevelt. Because she had fears and faced them.

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: Diane Keaton, I think. She’s had a dignified career and never gave into Hollywood pressure to conform. She is her own person.

Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: Every time my boys go to a skate park I say, “Not allowed to get hurt.” And it actually works!

Q: What do you regret most?
A: Not believing in myself earlier.

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: I would be the greatest ballerina in North America.

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: Being shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Town House. It’s a prize that covers the regions of Africa, the Caribbean and Canada, Europe and South Asia and South East Asia and Pacific and typically comedic books aren’t considered. When my editor called to tell me, I dropped to my knees and just cried.

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: I am easily distracted.

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: I guess I’m driven.

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: A New York Times Best Selling author.

Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: Warmth, I hope.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Owen Meany from A Prayer from Owen Meany.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Hannibal Lecter

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: Does it make me a loser if I can’t think of one?

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Telemarketers (occupational hazard when you work from home).

Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Sitting on the bow of our little boat while we slowly cruise around the shores of the lake and dream.

Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Psychologist or ballet dancer.

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Sense of humor, intelligence, honesty.

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: French bread.

Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: Elvis Costello’s Every Day I Write the Book,
Elton John’s Blue Jean Baby, Meat Loaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Bach’s Concerto in F for Harpsicord, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody

Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kittredge, Anne Tyler’s Breathing Lessons,, Jane Austen’s Emma, Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex, Rosamunde Pilcher’s September

[Note: The Book Giveaway for Maud Carol Markson’s Looking After Pigeon ends this evening at 7:00 p.m. EDT. To enter, please leave a comment with the most unusual first name of a “real” person you know. The winner will be announced in tomorrow’s post.]