Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.
With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.
Interview with Tiffany Pitcock
Tell us what was being raised in AR like?
Being raised in Arkansas was pretty boring for the most part. I’d prefer to be somewhere much colder. Though I will say that the state is beautiful.
I have an older sister, Ashley, who is my best friend. We were basically two sides of the same coin growing up, but we fought constantly. Even now, no one can make me angrier than she does. She’s the only person who can understand what I’m talking about most of the time.
What are two of your memories which had an impact on your life?
I was around eight and my stepsister told a huge lie about something, claiming I said it. It turned into a whole ordeal that had her mother screaming at and attacking my dad for days. My dad begged me to just admit that I had lied, even though I hadn’t. After three days, he told me I wouldn’t get in trouble if I just admitted I lied. So I did, because I wanted him to stop crying. I got into huge trouble. There’s a line in Peter Pan, about Peter being shocked when Hook attacks him after he saves him because ‘no one ever gets over their first unfairness’. That was mine.
Another is very simple. It’s just sitting in the back of a classroom in my old high school on a very cold morning. The walls were blue and the light spilling in through the blinds was muted. I could feel cold air seeping through the window pane. That’s it. I feel like I’ve spent my whole life chasing that feeling, and whenever things get to be too much I think about going back there. It is my happy place.
You have always enjoyed writing stories. What was the motivation to write your own tales?
I also felt my mind was brimming with different stories, my imagination struggling to break free. I just wanted to get them out and on paper. The older I got, the more my motivation changed. I wanted to write something I could relate to, something I wanted to read.
You stated you enjoy staying indoors. What is the aversion to being outdoors and of participating in outdoor activities?
I hate heat. I hate getting hot. I hate being over heated and sweating and being warm at all, really. I want to be cold, to be freezing. I live in Arkansas, where it’s hot all the time. I can barely walk to my car without sweating through my shirt.
This is your debut novel. In it you address one of the many H.S. challenges of gossip. Do you feel in this day and age gossip has as devastating effect as it did 20 years ago? Share your thoughts on this problem and the impact on lives you feel it has.
In this day and age, I feel gossip has more of a devastating effect than it did 20 years ago. With cell phones and the internet, it’s more widespread than it ever was. People are connected in a way that they didn’t use to be. Even six years ago, when I was in high school, things weren’t as instant as they are now.
However, I also feel like kids these days are more resilient to gossip than they used to be, because of how widespread it is. Today, people are more likely to own their reputation than to run from it, to defiantly be themselves when before they would hide it to conform.
I do think that gossip now, even in high school, is more permanent than it used to be. Before, a rumor in high school was just that – a rumor in high school. Now it’s plastered on the internet. Now it’s a googleable fact, depending on how the gossip spreads. It can be forever. You’re one screenshot away from being a meme, one candid photo away from being shared millions of times and shamed to kingdom come. It has to potential to ruin your life, when before it didn’t.
Is this a “stand alone” or will this become a series?
Just Friends is a standalone.
What was the biggest issue you had in becoming published?
Anxiety. I suffer from an anxiety disorder, one that I’ve had since adolescence. So much of being published is sticking your neck out to defend your ideas, which is something I struggle with. I don’t want attention or to rock the boat, so I just stay quiet and do as I’m told. Another huge part of being an author is self-promotion, which is also a struggle for me. Thanks to my anxiety, so much of it feels like forcing myself into places where I don’t belong and am not wanted. It has been hard to overcome, and I’m not fully there yet, but I’m trying.
What goals would you like to accomplish in the next five years?
I just want to be able to keep writing. That’s it.
Tiffany Pitcock is a young writer from Benton, Ar. She studied English at Henderson State University, but has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. Besides reading, she is a fan of cats, staying indoors, and tv dramas.
Thank You, YA Reads Tours for presenting this BASH!