A Bitter Pill to Swallow by Tiffany Gholar
Published by Pronoun on January 1st 2016
On the edge of the Chicago medical district, the Harrison School for Exceptional Youth looks like a castle in a snow globe. Janina has been there since she was ten years old, and now she's fourteen. She feels so safe inside its walls that she's afraid to leave. Devante's parents bring him there after a tragedy leaves him depressed and suicidal.
Even though he's in a different place, he can't escape the memories that come flooding back when he least expects them. Dr. Gail Thomas comes to work there after quitting her medical residency. Frustrated and on the verge of giving up on her dreams, she sees becoming a counselor as her last chance to put her skills to the test.
When he founded the school, Dr. Lutkin designed its unique environment to be a place that would change the students' lives. He works hard as the keeper of other people's secrets, though he never shares any of his own. But everything changes late in the winter of 1994 when these four characters' lives intersect in unexpected ways. None of them will ever be the same.
Today we have author Tiffany Gholar here to talk about her book, A Bitter Pill to Swallow.
1. Describe A Bitter Pill to Swallow in a tweet. (140 characters or less)
She lives in a fantasy world. He lives in a nightmare. When they find each other, they find themselves.
2. Tell us something about Devante and Janina that we would be surprised to learn?
Janina’s story-within-a-story, “Psindrome,” is taken from the old version of the book as well as the sequel I outlined for it. The tragedy Devante experiences in his backstory was inspired by an actual event that happened in Chicago that I read about as a teenager and never forgot. I don’t want to say too much more about them because I don’t want to spoil my story.
3. What are some of your bookish pet peeves?
My biggest pet peeve as an avid reader of library ebooks is the waiting lists. Whenever a book gets popular you can end up waiting months to read the digital copy.
4. What is the hardest part in the writing process for you?
Knowing when to stop writing. Every time I thought I was finished with my book, my mind was like Lieutenant Columbo, whose famous catchphrase is “Just one more thing…” In the end I think it was good because those last few edits I made helped make the book better. But the process was a bit nerve-wracking.
5. If we looked under your bed right now, what would we find?
I don’t even know what all is under there. I see it as the Bermuda Triangle of my home.
6. If we had an author talent show, what would your talent be?
A Few Random Facts about A Bitter Pill to Swallow
– It started out as a short story I wrote in a summer creative writing class when I was 14 in 1993.
– One of the things that inspired me was an episode of Quantum Leap called “Shock Theater.”
-I can’t tell you anything about the movie that inspired my book because it will spoil my plot.
-Devante is named after a singer from 90’s R&B group Jodeci
-Monica is also named after a popular singer.
-Janina’s dad is named after Marvin Gaye.
-I still have the first draft, written in purple ink in a pink spiral-bound notebook.
-An English teacher I had my senior year of high school and didn’t get along with wrote a snarky comment on a short story I wrote for his class, saying it didn’t count as a short story because it was really just the first chapter of my “novel.” (Yes, he used quotes.) As it so happens, “A Reason to Die” did become the first chapter, though I made many changes to it over the years.
-Adapting A Bitter Pill to Swallow into a screenplay was my thesis project in college.
-A Bitter Pill to Swallow has a Tumblr
, which features artwork and photography the author created to accompany it.
To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below to win an ebook of A Bitter Pill to Swallow and one of the journals Tiffany designed with my cover art on them, . Here is a link to all the journals:
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