Interview with Author Jenny Gardiner

Jenny Gardiner visits today to talk about a really great book. I just have to mention that my sister once worked at a nursery (plants) where the owner had a Military Macaw named Freddie. Freddie fell in love with my sister. She worked there for ten years and began taking Freddie home quite often. When she left that job, Freddie came with her. I can attest that these birds are amazing. I want to read this book!

Check out Jenny’s blog at http://jennygardiner.net/blog/ and her page at Simon & Schuster

WINGING IT

A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who’s Determined to Kill Me

Cover of Winging It by Jenny Gardiner
Like many new bird owners, Jenny and Scott Gardiner hoped for a smart, talkative, friendly companion. Instead, as they took on the unexpected task of raising a curmudgeonly wild African grey parrot and a newborn, they learned an important lesson: parrothood is way harder than parenthood. WINGING IT: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who’s Determined to Kill Me (Gallery Books; on sale March 16, 2010; Hardcover; $23.00), is a hilarious and poignant cautionary tale about two very different types of creatures, thrown together by fate, who learn to make the best of a challenging situation.

A gift from Scott’s brother who was living in Zaire, Graycie arrived scrawny, pissed – off, and missing a lot of her feathers. Every day became a constant game of chicken with a bird that would do anything to ruffle their feathers.

The old adage about not biting the hand that feeds you—literally—never applied to Graycie.

But Jenny and Scott learned to adapt as the family grew to three children, a menagerie of dogs and cats, and, of course, Graycie. WINGING IT is a laugh-out- loud funny and touching memoir, Jenny vividly shares many hazards of parrot ownership, from the endless avian latrine duty and the joyful day the bird learned to mimic the sound of the smoke detector, to multiple ways a beak can pierce human flesh.

Graycie is a court jester, a karaoke partner, an unusual audio record of their family history, and at times, a nemesis. But most of all, she has taught the family volumes about tolerance, going with the flow, and realizing that you can no sooner make your child fit into a mold than you can turn a wild parrot into a docile house pet.

WINGING IT reminds us of the importance of patience, loyalty, and humor when it comes to dealing with even the most unpleasant members of the family.

“ …Graycie is as much a part of us as we are of her. Sure, she might be feisty at times. But who isn’t? Whether she’s yelling at the dog or answering the phone or bobbing to the beat of the kids clapping for her amusement, she’s one of us. Our parrot, petulant or not, is a member of our family for the long haul.” -Jenny Gardiner

What They’re Saying

As sweet as a song and sharp as a beak, Winging It really soars as a memoir about family–children and husbands, feathers and fur–and our capacity to keep loving though life may occasionally bite.
–Wade Rouse, bestselling author of At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream, and Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler

Jenny Gardiner’s hilarious memoir will have you alternately laughing and crying, and watching the skies for winged pets out for your blood.
–Kristy Kiernan, Award-winning author of Catching Genius

With her right-on humor, Jenny Gardiner manages to make owning a vengeful parrot sound like fun! You don’t even have to like pets to like this book.
–Eve Brown-Waite
Author of FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN COMES MALARIA

This funny, smart book is much more than a story about life with a challenging parrot. Jenny Gardiner writes with humor and grace about the challenges and joys and stresses of parenthood, too. I loved it.
–Sarah Pekkanen author of The Opposite of Me

Buy from : Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Indiebound

Videos!

Gracie Goes Hollywood

Listen to Gracie Talk!

About The Author

Jenny Gardiner is also the author of the award – winning novel Sleeping with Ward Cleaver. Her work has appeared in Ladies Home Journal, and the Washington Post. She writes a column of humorous essays for Charlottesville, Virginia’s newspaper, the Daily Progress. She lives in central Virginia with her family.

About the Imprint

Gallery Books is an imprint dedicated to publishing a wide variety of must-read books on a wide array of topics. Launching in February 2010, Gallery Books is designed to showcase established voices and to introduce emerging new ones—in both fiction and nonfiction, and across a variety of genres. Some of Gallery Books’ upcoming titles include My Footprint by Jeff Garlin, In the Shadow of the Cypress by Thomas Steinbeck, I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee, and unchartered terriTORI by Tori Spelling.

Simon & Schuster, a part of CBS corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for customers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Digital, and international companies in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit our website at www.simonandschuster.com

WINGING IT
By Jenny Gardiner
Simon Spotlight Entertainment
March 16, 2010; Hardcover; $23.00
ISBN: 9781439157619

The Interview

1. Tell me a little bit about the book.
A hilarious and poignant cautionary tale about two very different types of creatures, thrown together by fate, who learn to make the best of a challenging situation — feather by feather.

Like many new bird owners, Jenny and Scott Gardiner hoped for a smart, talkative, friendly companion. Instead, as they took on the unexpected task of raising a curmudgeonly wild African gray parrot and a newborn, they learned an important lesson: parrothood is way harder than parenthood.

A gift from Scott’s brother who was living in Zaire, Graycie arrived scrawny, pissed-off, and missing a lot of her feathers — definitely not the Polly-wants-a-cracker type the Gardiners anticipated. Every day became a constant game of chicken with a bird that would do anything to ruffle their feathers. The old adage about not biting the hand that feeds you — literally — never applied to Graycie.

But Jenny and Scott learned to adapt as the family grew to three children, a menagerie of dogs and cats, and, of course, Graycie. In this laugh-out-loud funny and touching memoir, Jenny vividly shares the many hazards of parrot ownership, from the endless avian latrine duty and the joyful day the bird learned to mimic the sound of the smoke detector, to the multiple ways a beak can pierce human flesh. Graycie is a court jester, a karaoke partner, an unusual audio record of their family history, and, at times, a nemesis. But most of all, she has taught the family volumes about tolerance, going with the flow, and realizing that you can no sooner make your child fit into a mold than you can turn a wild parrot into a docile house pet.Winging It is an utterly engrossing reminder of the importance of patience, loyalty, and humor when it comes to dealing with even the most unpleasant members of the family.

2. Is there a scene you cut from the book that you kind of wish you could put back in?

I had a bit more of my snarky humor in the book when I submitted it to my editor (and this probably goes to answering why my editor is a fabulous editor as well). But she tended to tamp down some of my more outlandish bits, and I think it was smart of her to do because I can get a little overboard.

Also one scene got cut, again, with good reason. It was painting a scene of a volcano we’d hiked while in Africa (in the birthplace of our parrot). I really liked the way it was written, but it was veering too far away from the crux of the book and was bogging it down, so she took that out.

2. Do you have a sample chapter posted?
I don’t have one on my website but one just got posted here: http://www.romancing-the-book.com/2010/03/excerpt-from-winging-it-memoir-of.html

3. Tell us why your editor is the best editor ever in the universe.

She was such a huge supporter of mine from the beginning. So very sweet, accessible, willing to discuss any and all changes. She was masterful at structurally rearranging things in the manuscript I handed her that worked out so much better where she re-inserted excerpts. She’s a very smart cookie, and so I was especially sorry to have been orphaned several weeks ago (but glad it wasn’t much earlier on in the process, because she championed my book through to the publication stage).

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One Response to “Interview with Author Jenny Gardiner”

  1. thanks for having me Carolyn!