I'm so excited today, because we've got the lovely Jenny Gardiner here to chat! She's here to tell us all about her latest release, WINGING IT, and it sounds like a total delight. Jenny's clearly got a way with titles, because this one is a winner, just like her first book, SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER.
Take it away, Jenny!
Tell us about your most recent novel in 25 words or less.
Winging It: Think David Sedaris meets Marley & Me, with a deadly beak.
When did you first begin writing?
I've always been a writer--ever since I knew I sucked at math (around 2nd grade) so needed a Plan B. I studied journalism and worked in radio/tv/print, then worked in PR, so writing has been my trade. But I didn't start to view myself as a writer until I started writing again a few years back after being a stay-at-home mom for a good long while. And I realized I finally had in me the seasoning to actually write something more substantial than reportage on someone else's life. The first time I resumed writing at all, I was bumming out that due to a severe drought (with water usage cut by 50%), we'd have no Christmas parties that year (who could invite 100 people to your house to drink lots of liquids, but then not let them use your bathroom? Impossible!). So I wrote a funny piece about this, sold it to a regional publication, and was duly deluded into thinking getting published was a snap.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I am constantly inspired from everything around me. I hear stories that seem so outlandish and then I think of ways I can rework them with a plot and some goals and motivation and conflict and make a book out of them. Sometimes just a sentence intrigues me enough to write a book (which was the case with my first book, Sleeping with Ward Cleaver--I'd jokingly said that about some guy, that he'd be like sleeping with Ward Cleaver, and the phrase stuck with me and sounded like such a fun book title).
What tips would you offer to aspiring writers?
I think besides honing your writing skills and educating yourself about the industry, I think the most essential thing for any writer is to believe in yourself. You need to be able to believe in yourself when you think not another soul on the planet does. Because otherwise you will struggle to persevere in this business--it's a tough business with a lot of downs and sometimes not as many ups. But if you know you're a damned good writer, then tell yourself that all the time. And if you need to be reminded of it, go back and read something you've written, and surprise yourself with how good a writer you are. And remember to write because you love to write, not because of external forces that are making it an unenjoyable practice.
Do a quick character study on yourself: don’t forget to add in the fun stuff, like favorite foods and things you love/hate!
Hmmm...I think I'm actually a study in contrasts. I am organized in an amazingly disorganized way. I am friendly, outgoing, helpful, fun. I am the one who spearheads the party, who organizes the get-together, the one who stays in touch or gets in touch again after 20 years. I can hold a grudge probably too long, but will equally hold someone upon a pedestal who has been particularly kind or thoughtful. I'm super sarcastic, yet bizarrely pollyanna at times. I'm really tough and determined, but sometimes plagued with self-doubt. I have a gift for retaining extremely useless information and would be fabulous on Jeopardy, except that I'd always forget to begin my answer with an interrogative. I remember useless nonsense but then forget really important things.
I wish I could be a vegetarian, but I don't care for many vegetables. I wish I had more self-discipline, but hey, don't we all? I am crazy about milk chocolate with almonds, and adore banana cream pie. I love to cook, love good wine, traveling is what I would do if I had time and money, and I'd also continue to study Italian if I had the time to do so.
Thanks so much for swinging by, Jenny! Don't forget to rush out and pick up a copy of Jenny's latest, WINGING IT.