Monday, March 5, 2012

Author interview: Sarah Pinneo

I'm really excited today because we've got the fabulous Sarah Pinneo here to chat.  Sarah's a former Wall Streeter, turned cookbook author, turned fiction writer!  Her fiction debut, JULIA'S CHILD, is out now.

What's the book about, you ask? Well, here it is, right from the book's back cover:

Julia Bailey is a mompreneur with too many principles and too little time. Her fledgling company, Julia’s Child, makes organic toddler meals with names like Gentle Lentil and Give Peas a Chance. But before she realizes her dream of seeing them on the shelves of Whole Foods, she will have to make peace between her professional aspirations and her toughest food critics: the two little boys waiting at home. Is it possible to save the world while turning a profit?

JULIA’S CHILD is a warmhearted, laugh-out-loud story about motherhood’s choices: organic vs. local, paper vs. plastic, staying at home vs. risking it all

Simply put, I LOVED this book!  It's a fun, fast-paced read that will have you staying up late to find out what happens.  Being a working mom, I was really able to relate to Julia's struggles, but you don't have to be a working mom to love JULIA'S CHILD.  Anyone who's had to juggle things in life and set priorities (um, so, yes, that would be everyone!) will relate to this book.

What compelled you to write this book?
I wrote another novel that turned out to be ill timed, and I had so much frustration.  So I poured all of that longing into the main character of Julia’s Child.  She so desperately wants to see her toddler food product in the freezer case at Whole Foods.  She’s willing to risk her sanity to get there.  I’ve never owned a food business—but that’s exactly how I felt about writing.

Did anything surprise you, or anything surprising happen, during the course of writing the book?
I was fortunate enough to meet and interview a dozen real “mompreneurs.”  They told me their stories of how they’d gotten that big break. It was really exciting to hear how much they’d learned, and how quickly they’d had to wise up about business.

Even better—they told me their misadventures. They went into labor during business trips. Their commercial freezers melted down during inopportune moments. They ordered the wrong organic kiwis and then drove 100 miles with cartons of rapidly ripening fruit in the backs of their cars. All that, and more. Their enthusiasm carried them through the tough times.

What writer or writers have had the greatest influence on you? 
I’ve always loved women’s fiction, especially Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Hoffman and Anne Lamott.  But this particular book was more notably influenced by Carl Hiaasen and Christopher Buckley.  These are two very funny men who also care deeply about the political issues which underpin their side-splitting stories.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Half the time you need to shut out all the advice that’s out there in cyberspace for new writers—that great buzzing of voices telling you how to write your book.  You need to shut it out, because if you spend too much time trying to listen, you won’t have any free time left for writing.  But then, after you’ve finally belted out that first draft, it’s time to let the voices in.  Find some critique partners, and learn how to take advice and criticism.  Don’t send your work out until it’s really ready.

Why did you become a writer? Was it a lifelong goal?
I didn’t realize until very recently that not everyone became dizzy with the possibilities just by walking into a bookstore.  I have always wanted to write novels.  Always.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Julia!!  Now, go out and get your copy of JULIA'S CHILD- you won't be disappointed!


Laura Spinella said...

Fabulous interview!! What a great concept for a novel; I'll look forward to this one! Best of luck with your book, Sarah!

Sarah P. / Julia's Child said...

Thank you Brenda and Laura! I had a good time writing the book.

Jenny Gardiner said...

look forward to reading your novel! As an obsessive foodie/locavore and one who religiously shopped at Whole Foods back when it was Fresh Fields(!!! Yes, I'm old) in order to feed my children healthy organic food, it sounds up my alley!
and of course if Brenda loved it, I'm sure I will too!
PS Brenda--love your international covers!