Do I know the ending of my stories when I begin to write?
Yes, usually I do. In both my YA novel Absolutely Positively Not, as well as the middle grade novel that I'm currently working on, not only did I know the ending early in the process, but I also knew the exact wording I wanted for the very last line. It's nice to have that goal to work towards, and it's nice to have a powerful ending line in mind, but I worry that having such a specific destination prevents me from letting the story wander into unexpected, and perhaps more interesting, territory.
Tonight, however, I don't know the ending to my real life story. I'm in the middle of a school residency and when I got home tonight, I lost my voice completely. Yikes! I hope lots of warm water with lemon and a long steamy shower tonight can restore my voice before I return to the school in the morning. An author visit where the author can't talk is not very interesting.