I spent most of my childhood in The Naughty Chair. Okay, maybe most is an overstatement. I spent much of my childhood in The Naughty Chair – in fact, if I wasn’t actively IN The Naughty Chair, I was probably doing something mischievous to earn my next stay there.
I sat on that white wooden seat long enough to test every loophole. Was I allowed to move the chair in front of the TV? No. Could I call the dog over and play fetch? Maybe. It depended if Mom caught me. Could I pull the phone from the wall and make phone calls to random people while I sat there? I mean, the spiral cord dangled alluringly right above my head… Again, maybe if Mom was distracted. Could I work diligently at the screws on the bottom of the seat and actually make The Naughty Chair collapse while still sitting in it? Yes, but it hurts when a chair collapses out from under you.
Mostly what I did while enduring my many, many Time Outs was tell stories. Usually they centered around the beautiful princess Tiffany and the evil, mean witch Mommy. Have I mentioned lately that my mother should be sainted?
But when I was little, there was no need to write. The Naughty Chair was a storyteller’s throne, and since my mother didn’t dare leave me unsupervised, I had a captive audience.
Then I started school.
Sidenote: my teachers all deserve sainthood too.
Suddenly my stories about my baby brother having horns and fangs or the dinnertime feast I had with a cupcake fountain and unicorn guests weren’t entertaining and wonderful. They were lies.
But if I wrote those same stories down (or dictated them to a teacher for her to scribe) and started them with Once Upon A Time and ended them with The End or Happily Ever After, they were “So creative!” “What an imagination!” and “Wonderful!” I was a praise-junkie. That was all it took.
Skip forward a few decades and those stories became longer. Eventually books. Eventually a book strong enough to secure an agent… and then *pinch me, please!* an editor. Six months from now when Send Me A Sign appears on bookstore shelves, I might have to put myself in Time Out, because I can’t begin to imagine how I’ll handle the excitement.
Now, excuse me. My impish twins are currently dangling from their babygate, feeding waffles to our dogs. Is 16 months too early for a Naughty Chair? I might as well get one now, I have a feeling it will be getting LOTS of use. Of course, since this IS my perfect Happily Ever After, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
A YA writer/ reader, living and creating mischief in Doylestown, PA. Married to St. Matt, mother of impish twin boys, and represented by Joe Monti of Barry Goldblatt Literary. When not writing, Tiffany can be found running with her husband or puggles, reading to the Schmidtlets, and daydreaming in the local coffee shop. Her debut novel, Send Me A Sign, comes out 10-2-2012 from Walker / Bloomsbury.
Mia’s always been superstitious, but as her body starts to feel like it belongs less to her and more to the doctors and their needles, she becomes irrationally dependent on horoscopes, fortune cookies, and good luck charms. As chemotherapy replaces cheerleading and platelets replace parties, Mia just wants normal back. But despite searching for clues in everything from songs on the radio to her Magic 8 Ball, her future is coming up Outlook not so good...
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