Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Author Interview: Jenny Nelson (and Giveaway!)

I am pleased to welcome Jenny Nelson, who wrote Georgia's Kitchen to Always With a Book.  You can read my review of her book and enter a giveaway for the book here

About the author:  Jenny Nelson grew up in Larchmont, NY and graduated with a BA in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Denver. A former web editor and producer, she worked for companies such as iVillage, and She lives with her husband, twin daughters and dog in Millbrook, NY and Manhattan. Georgia’s Kitchen is her first novel.

Thanks to Jenny for answering a few questions.

What inspired you to write this book?
I'm a restaurant junkie. Or at least I was pre-kids, when I lived in Manhattan full-time. Having logged serious hours in all sorts of New York restaurants, I knew there was a story brewing back in those steamy, cramped kitchens that were off limits to us mere civilians. As my ideas about Georgia began to crystallize, I decided she had to be a chef. Sending her to Italy made sense because it's a mecca for foodies and it's also one of the most beautiful spots on earth. It was the perfect place for her to become reacquainted with her inner beliefs and her passion for cooking, and the option of throwing in a gorgeous Italian boyfriend didn't hurt either!

What gets you started on a new book? A character or story idea or ... ?
It's really a combination of both. With Georgia's Kitchen, I knew I wanted to set the book against the backdrop of a New York City restaurant, and also involve Italy in some way. Then Georgia popped into my head and the more I thought about who she was, how she acted, where she came from and where she was going, I realized she had to be a chef, a talented, savvy chef who faces some pretty severe obstacles in both her professional and personal lives. The two elements - story and character- really fed off each other.

As a child, did you ever dream that you would be a published author? As a child, did you like to read and write, and if so, what were your favorite books?
Reading was and is one of my greatest joys. As a child, I devoured every book I could get my hands on and was that kid under the covers with a flashlight and a book. I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, C.S, Lewis, The Ballet Shoes series by Noel Streatfield, Harriet the Spy, The Westing Game, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - I could go on and on. I can't wait to introduce my twin six-year old daughters to these books and hope they are as moved by them as I was (and still am!).

I still remember the first "serious" story I wrote, when I was in fourth grade. I wrote it in one of those beige composition books and it was - oddly enough - a murder mystery, where the weapon was an icicle that melted away. I certainly wasn't reading any murder mysteries (Encyclopedia Brown, yes Agatha Christie, not so much), and the only TV programs I regularly watched were Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, and Eight Is Enough, although, come to think of it, I used to love sleeping over at my best friend's house because we could watch Fantasy Island, which definitely got a little murderous. I was quite proud of the story!

What's your writing routine? Do you write every day or just when the mood strikes?
When I'm writing, I write every day during the week and occasionally on weekends. Sometimes I write for stretches of four hours, sometimes one, but always with frequent tea, coffee, and water breaks (and therefore frequent bathroom breaks, too!). It really depends on where I am in a story. Right now I'm working on my second novel, and with all the excitement of preparing for the launch of Georgia's Kitchen, it's pretty slow going. It's hard to switch gears and concentrate on a new set of characters and a brand-new situation.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo, and I'm reading a collection of stories by Maile Meloy called Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It, which is excellent. New up is the second installment in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series - loved the first, and Little Bee, which I've been wanting to read for a while.

Are you currently working on another book?
Yes! In a nutshell, its about a thirtysomething woman who trades in her cosmopolitan city life for country living. Like Georgia's Kitchen, it's got a food motif running through it and it explores themes of love and family and renewal.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write! I feel like a broken record saying this, but the biggest impediment to writing is not writing. Don't worry if what you're writing is any good, just get the words down - there'll be plenty of time for polishing, revising, and plain old chucking (and believe me, I've done lots of this) later. If you can find a writing class, sign up. They're great for learning craft and imposing deadlines and for making you feel part of a community of writers, which is really cool and really important.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for this amazing book!


1 comment

  1. fantastic interview! I did a guest post with Jenny Nelson and loved her but you got some background info I wasn't aware of...wonderful!!!


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