Tish Cohen, Town House
You know what makes me happier than riding a magical pony through a land of rainbows and gum drops? A good book. Town House brought me to my happy place and naturally I was sad to see it end.
I am so excited for Tish Cohen and I don’t really know her. I read about the book on one of my favorite sites, Modern Girl and knew the book was for me. I read it quickly and then googled Tish to learn more about her and the book. I know, I can be obsessive sometimes. Her great success with Town House is a wonderfully inspiring story. Town House was optioned for film before the book was even published. That is a writers dream come true.
Town House is the story of Jack Madigan, a thirty six year old man who is also an agoraphobiac. He is the son of shock rocker Baz, now decreased. Jack lives with his son Harlan, an eccentric teen, in the very house Jack grew up in, complete with walls smashed in by Baz. When the house is about to be foreclosed, Dorrie Allsop, a loveable real estate agent enters the scene. So does ice skating nine year old Lucinda, a waif- like child who lives next door and has easy access to Jack’s house thanks to a large hole in the wall between the two homes.
I've been mentally casting the roles with Jeremy Piven playing Jack. He has to be Jack, there is no other way around it! This is going to be a must-see film because its a must-read novel. Congrats to Tish on the great reviews and the success!
What is your favorite childhood memory?
When my best friend, Chris, and I played "Mansion." She had a beautiful dollhouse filled with furniture, but we never bothered with the house itself. We ran straight to the linen closet to scoop up an array of hand towels, then set them up across her bedroom floor as "carpets" for the various rooms in the dolls' mansion. Then we ransacked the dollhouse, took every last piece of furniture and set it all out on the towels. The beauty of the game was that every day we had a completely different mansion to explore.
Even way back then, I was obsessed with houses.
I totally agree that Jeremy Piven could play the character of Jack. I also applaud your suggestion of Elle Fanning as Lucinda. But I think Kyra Sedgwick must play Dorrie. She has the curly hair and could pull off Dorrie’s sweet personality. What do you think? Have any actors been approached yet?
I've always adored Kyra Sedgewick. She has such unique beauty and is a terrific actor. Another actor people suggest for Dorrie is Kristen Chenowith. But Dorrie is a fair bit younger than these ladies. I'm not certain whether any actors have been approached yet, but my mother keeps volunteering herself...
Speaking of Town Houses, do you remember the big plastic Barbie Town House? Complete with an elevator that moved up and down via a piece of string? Oh how I longed for it. Did you have one? What were your favorite toys as a child?
Yes! I don't recall wanting anything more (except a puppy!). A friend had it and it was the only thing I wanted to play with at her place. I did have, however, Barbie's Country Cottage, country camper and airplane. I also had this fantastic inflatable set of Barbie outdoor lounge furniture and pool which I used to set up in the grass. Unfortunately, my Barbies never looked too chic lounging by the pool because my sister was going through her "hair stylist" phase and cut their hair into crooked and choppy little French bobs.
My favorite toy as a child was--this is truly pathetic--my Pet Rock. I wasn't allowed to have a real pet, so Willie became my rather unexpressive puppy. He lived in the cubby of my nightstand with a hand towel (naturally) as a carpet and a small box with shredded paper as a bed. I actually tried to train him.
Were there any books that helped you with writing or outlining the novel? I read a lot of books on structure and plot etc. Books others might find boring but I enjoy.
I, too, read every writing book I can get my hands on. Stephen King's On Writing has probably helped and inspired me the most. It was a Jewish Christmas gift and I believe I read it right before writing Town House. There's one line in it that I particularly love--I'll paraphrase, "When you find something you love to do, you do it until your fingers bleed." I should hunt down the book and get the line right, but the book is deep in my son's room. Anyway, I love that phrase.
Tell me five little known facts about Tish Cohen.
-When I was born, my parents named me Patricia, nicknamed me Tish, then proceeded to call me Monie for eight years.
-When we were in high school, my friend and I bought a vintage pair of Levi's on Melrose in Hollywood. We saved them for ten years, then dressed our six collective babies in them, mailing them back and forth between California and Toronto as each child was born.
-I once had a horse who loved coffee.
-In high school, I worked for the first pet insurance agency. Lassie was our first client--I typed out her (his) certificate.
-I can't tolerate the sound of dry paper towel rubbing against a dry wall.
How would a sequel to Town House play out?
It might open with Jack's doorbell ringing. He goes to open it and finds his mother standing there. It would turn out that the fire he thought she perished in did not kill her. She'd force her way into his life, inadvertently making him miserable, moving in, maybe ruining his life with Dorrie. But, hey, at least he'd have a great reason to leave the house.
Your young adult book will come out soon; do you think your adult fans (like me) will enjoy a book geared towards teens?
The Invisible Rules of the Zoe Lama is in bookstores now and recently appeared on the Canadian Booksellers Association Bestseller list for 3 weeks. It is geared for kids aged 8-12, but I've heard from many parents of Zoe fans who've gotten a kick out of reading it themselves. Watch for The One and Only Zoe Lama in bookstores next July; as well as Inside Out Girl, my next adult novel, which is forthcoming in August 2008.
What were you like as a teenager? Did you like to be alone? Were you an observer rather than an attention seeker?
I was a rather wild California teenager, actually. But I never lost sight of the fact that while I was having great fun misbehaving, I had a future to think about. Even though the other kids accepted me, I cultivated a little social position for myself on the fringe. I could be dancing at a Hollywood after-hours club, surrounded by friends, but I'd always be aware that I was actually alone. I still feel that way.
How can you top a fabulous novel plus a movie deal? Tish, how can it get any better?
Hmm...maybe Brad Pitt signing on as Jack and insisting upon meeting me?
In your wildest dreams did you expect this to be your life?
I started out life just hoping to turn into a dog. But this is okay too.