Posts Tagged ‘Authors’

RWA: Day T-1the fun has started.

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

My road trip to RWA12 with fellow author Isabelle Carr was uneventful. We left Nor Cal about 6:30am and arrived in Anaheim at 12:30pm. No traffic problems, though taking 99 is probably the reason for that.

We immediately ran into several other authors: Cindy Dees, Jade Lee, Anne Aguirre and others. We talked and solved the world’s problems. (You are welcome!) Then, since we had a car we ran some errands and brought along author Delilah Marvelle.

We had dinner with MORE authors, including Olivia Gates and her beautiful daughter. Olivia gave me a cute clutch purse AND an Egyptian pound. I counted out 55 cents US in change for her because I am awesome that way.

We ran into Deb Werksman of Sourcebooks and author Grace Burrows, too. Now I am back in my room and kind of tired. I have a breakfast date and would like to get some sleep.

The concensus is the hotel Internet is not worth the money they want. I am hugging my iPad close. The staff is really nice and helpful though.
To bed with me

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Interview with Author April Henry

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Today Author Lis Wiehl/April Henry visits to talk about her new release. Exciting stuff!

About the book

Cover of Hand of Fate by Lis WiehlWhen the host of a popular radio talk show is murdered, the suspects almost outnumber his millions of listeners.
Outspoken radio talk show host Jim Fate dies he opens a package and releases poisonous gas while his polarizing show, The Hand of Fate, is on air.
In the ensuing panic, police evacuate downtown Portland. Soon the triple threat of FBI Special Agent Nicole Hedges, crime reporter Cassidy Shaw and Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce begin piecing together the madness, motive, and the mystery that lie behind Fate’s murder.

While Lis has worked with Bill O’Reilly for years (often serving as the voice of reason or his liberal foil, depending on your point of view), the character is NO WAY based on O’Reilly.

This is the second in the Triple Threat mystery series, which has been optioned for TV. The first, Hand of Fate, one was on the New York Times bestseller list for four weeks! And in April 2011, readers can look for Heart of Ice, which traces the path of a destruction left by a sociopath– and based on a real-life case Lis prosecuted.

About the authors

April Henry grew up in a little town in Southern Oregon where the main industries were timber and pears. When she was was 12, she sent Roald Dahl a short story she had written about a six-foot-tall frog named Herman who loved peanut butter. He not only wrote her back– he showed it to the editor of an international children’s author, who asked to publish it.

Since then, April has written nearly a dozen mysteries and thrillers for adults and teens, with seven more on the way. Look for her young adult thriller– Girl, Stolen— in October 2010.

Lis Wiehl is a former federal prosecutor who is now a legal analyst for FOX-TV.

What they’re saying

Exciting… readers will identify with these very real women as they try to uncover Fate’s killer, and each battles a personal demon—Allison her fear of miscarriage, Nic her fear of her daughter’s criminal father, and Cassidy her prescription drug addiction.
–Publishers Weekly

The second book by Wiehl and Henry featuring the Triple Threat Club ratchets up the excitement and suspense to another level. Realistic characters with authentic dilemmas will appeal to a wide array of mystery lovers.”
–Romantic Times, four stars

More Information

Buy the Book from Amazon

Visit April’s website

Check out April’s blog.

The Interview

Tell me a little bit about the book
Outspoken radio talk show host Jim Fate is murdered when poisonous gas fills his studio. In the ensuing panic, police evacuate downtown Portland. The triple threat of FBI Special Agent Nicole Hedges, crime reporter Cassidy Shaw and Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce is on the case– but far too many people would have liked to have seen Jim dead.

If your protagonist were to wake up one day with a super power, what would that super power be? Alternatively (or both!) if your protagonist were to wake up one day with an intense craving for something, what would the craving be?
Allison would want to be able to always know the truth. Nicole would want to see into people’s hearts. And Cassidy would like to be able to get the scoop on every story.

Would your villain (or antagonist) prefer to be Emperor Ming The Merciless or Darth Vader? Why?
I’m leaning toward Darth Vader– faceless and menacing.

What do you consider the heart of your story? That is, what is the issue or emotion that propels things forward? Spill your guts on this one.
Betrayal. I don’t want to say too much, not when it’s a mystery.

If you were in charge of casting the movie adaptation of your book, who gets the call?

We could cast against type and have George Clooney play the talk show host. In which case, I would get to play Cassidy, the TV reporter, who has a bit of a liaison with him. Evangeline Lilly could play Allison– she’s got the righteousness and the right hair. Taraji Henson could play Nicole.

Do you have a sample chapter posted?
Read a PDF sample chapter

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

Ami makes us work hard– but every suggestion she makes or problem she points out is absolutely right. Sometimes she challenges us, but the end result is always so much better.

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Interview with Hank Phillippi Ryan And Contest

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Author Hank Phillippi Ryan visits here today. Yay! I LOVE her series. Read it. It’s GOOD. Read on to find out how you could win one of two copies of her book!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN


Photo of Author and Journalist Hank Phillippi Ryan
Award-winning investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan is on the air at Boston’s NBC affiliate. Her work has resulted in new laws, people sent to prison, homes removed from foreclosure, and millions of dollars in restitution. Along with her 26 EMMYs, Hank’s won dozens of other journalism honors. She’s been a radio reporter, a legislative aide in the United States Senate and an editorial assistant at Rolling Stone Magazine working with Hunter S. Thompson.

Her first mystery, the best-selling PRIME TIME, won the Agatha for Best First Novel. It was also was a double RITA nominee for Best First Book and Best Romantic Suspense Novel, and a Reviewers’ Choice Award Winner. FACE TIME and the new AIR TIME are IMBA bestsellers. DRIVE TIME, February 2010 from MIRA Books, just earned a starred review from Library Journal. Hank is on the national board of Mystery Writers of America.

Her website is http://www.HankPhillippiRyan.com

Sassy, fast-paced and appealing. First-class entertainment.
**Sue Grafton

I love this series!
**Suzanne Brockmann

Hank Phillippi Ryan knows the television business entirely, she understands plotting and she writes beautifully. No wonder I loved Drive Time. Anyone would.
**Robert B. Parker author of Spenser for Hire

Hank’s new book is DRIVE TIME


Cover of Drive Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan


Investigative reporter Charlotte McNally is an expert at keeping things confidential, but suddenly everyone has a secret, and it turns out it may be possible to know too much. Charlie’s latest TV scoop–an expose of a dangerous recalled car scam complete with stakeouts, high-speed chases and hidden-camera footage–is ratings gold. But soon that leads her to a brand new and diabolical scheme (incredibly timely!) that could put every driver in danger.

Charlie’s personal and professional lives are on a collision course, too. Her fiancé is privy to information about threats at an elite private school that have suddenly turned deadly.

Charlie has never counted on happy endings. But now, just as she’s finally starting to believe in second chances, she realizes revenge, extortion and murder might leave her alone again. Or even dead. Emmy and Agatha award winning reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan proves that when everyone has a secret, the real mystery is knowing when to tell.

Tell us about Drive Time.
DRIVE TIME is about secrets. TV reporter Charlie McNally’s working on a story about a dangerous scheme that could absolutely happen…and let me just say, if you own a car, or rent a car, you’ll never look at your vehicle the same way after reading DRIVE TIME. In fact, after writing the book, I now get a bit creeped out when I go into a parking garage. That’s all I‘ll say.

Charlie’s also drawn into another frightening situation—this one at the prep school where her fiancé is an English professor. When Charlie learns a secret that might put her step-daughter-to-be in danger, and might also be an blockbuster investigative story—how does she balance her loyalty to her husband-to-be—with her need to protect the public?

So this is a tough one for Charlie. And she must make many life-changing decisions. Just when she begins to think she might be able to have it all—a terrific career and a new husband and a new life–revenge, extortion and murder may bring it all to a crashing halt.

DRIVE TIME just got a fabulous starred review from Library Journal. Just a snippet of the rave: “Placing Ryan in the same league as Lisa Scottoline…her latest book catapults the reader into the fast lane and doesn’t relent until the story careens to a stop. New readers will speed to get her earlier books, and diehard fans will hope for another installment.”

And dear Robert B. Parker’s quote is on the cover—he says “I loved DRIVE TIME!”

Growing up, did you ever think you’d be an investigative reporter?

Definitely– not. You know, I have a funny juxtaposition of desire to be in the spotlight—and sheer terror of being in the spotlight. I love my job in TV—and have to go live and unrehearsed al the time. Confession: I’m still terrified every time. I want to be perfect, and when you’re on live, you can’t possibly be. That’s one reason why I love investigative reporting—there’s more time to work, and dig, and polish, and produce, It’s like making a little movie, and I can make it as perfect as possible.

Anyway, my sisters and I used to create musical shows when we were all young, and perform for our parents in our back yard. I did acting in high school and college. I wanted to be a DJ on the radio for a long time! But I thought I would be an English teacher, or a lawyer for the Mine Workers union, or for awhile, a political activist.

(My mother, though, says she always knew I would be a television reporter—but I think that was just her way of rationalizing that all I did as a pre-teen and teenager was read books and watch TV.)

I knew from my first Nancy Drew that I loved mysteries. Nancy was my first best friend—I was a geeky unpopular kid, and it was such a relief to go home and hang out with Nancy. She was smart, and made it be okay to be smart. She was confident and inquisitive and resourceful. I loved that. But being a TV reporter was not in my sights. Little did I know!

How did you get started in that type of journalism?

I got into TV by chance. I had worked as a radio reporter (hired because, as I informed the radio station, they didn’t have any women working at the station! Hey. It was the seventies.) But after a few years working in Washington DC (on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide and then for Rolling Stone Magazine,) Rolling Stone closed its Washington office and I needed a new job.

I went back home to Indianapolis, and applied for a job as a TV reporter. It was 1975. I had covered politics in Washington, and the news director of the station figured he could teach me to be a TV reporter. (This was incredibly risky—I had never taken journalism and didn’t know one thing about TV. But I wasn’t afraid and I knew I could do it.)

Problem was, I should have been afraid! I quickly learned I had no idea what I was doing. I went home every night for the first two weeks, sobbing. Because I thought I would never understand it. Soon after—it hit me–oh, I get it! And I have adored it ever since. I took a chance, and found my calling.

I started as the political reporter (and was also the movie reviewer, of all things! At age 26.) At various times I’ve been the medical reporter, a weekend anchor, and an on the road feature reporter. When I came to Boston, I was the funny feature reporter–cat shows, sports features, poems, and anything quirky or funny. They used to call me “something out of nothing productions,” because I could find a story in anything.

But starting in 1988, I covered the presidential election, doing long elaborate think pieces. It was terrific. And then I told my news director I didn’t want to be the funny one anymore. I wanted to be the serious one. And from that day on, I’ve been the investigative reporter.

And I love it every day.

When I was reading about all the things you’ve done as a reporter… like being chased by criminals, confronting corrupt politicians, etc, it’s almost like immersing myself in a nail biting novel. Have any of these experiences found their way into your books?

There’s a huge been-there-done-that element to the books—I’ve wired myself with hidden cameras, confronted corrupt politicians, chased down criminals…been in disguise, been stalked, and threatened and had many a door slammed in my face. I’ve had people confess to murder, and others, from prison, insist they were innocent. So when that happens to Charlie, it’s fair to imagine me. Although the plots are completely from my imagination, those are real-life experiences!

How did the character of Charlotte ‘Charlie’ McNally come about?

What a great question. I have NO idea. She was born when I got a weird spam in my email. It was what looked like lines from a play by Shakespeare. I thought–why would someone send a spam like that? And it crossed my mind–maybe it’s a secret message.

I still get goose bumps telling you about it. And I knew, after all those years of wanting to write a mystery, that was my plot. And that turned out to be the Agatha-winning PRIME TIME. But Charlie? Well, I knew I had a good story, but who would tell it? A television reporter, of course. And she just instantly popped into my head. Named, fully formed. I knew her perfectly.

The other characters were more difficult to get to know. But now, Charlie surprises me a lot! And I love when that happens.

Is she anything like you? Has she ever done anything you wouldn’t do to get your story?

When my husband talks about Charlie, he calls her “you.” As in—when “you” are held at gunpoint, when you track down the bad guys, when you solve the mystery… and I have to remind him, “Sweetheart, it’s fiction. It didn’t really happen.”

But a couple of things: I’ve been a TV reporter for more than 30 years. (Yes, really.) And so it would be silly, in writing a mystery about TV, not to use my own experiences. Think about it—as a TV reporter, you can never be wrong! Never be one minute late. Never choose the wrong word or miscalculate. You can never have a bad hair day, because it’ll be seen by millions of people! It’s high-stakes and high-stress—literally, people’s lives at stake–and I really wanted to convey that in the books.

And everything that TV people do and say in the books is authentic and genuine. (Of course, Charlie can say things I can’t say, and reveal things I can’t reveal.) We’re both devoted journalists, and over-focused on our jobs.

But Charlotte McNally is different, too. She’s single—I’m happily married. She’s ten years younger than I am, and so is facing different choices and dilemmas. She’s braver than I am, certainly. Funnier. And a much better driver.

You’ve got four books under your belt, you’ve won an Agatha, and been compared to Lisa Scottoline. Will there come a time when you say goodbye to journalism to focus full time on your fiction?

Ain’t that the question! I still smile in delight every time I see my Agatha teapot. And when the starred review in Library Journal for DRIVE TIME compared me to Lisa Scottoline, well, I burst into tears. But I still love my job in TV. So–you could ask me that question every day, and every day I’d have a different answer. And I guess the bottom line is: who knows?

Any plans to write a non Charlotte McNally novel?

Yup. Absolutely. It’s in the works. You heard it here first.

Any other genre you want to tackle?
Yup. 🙂 It’s in the works. You heard it here first.

Your husband’s a criminal defense attorney. Does he read your work or give you any tips or even ideas for plots?

He’s the most patient man on the planet. Yes, he’s really the only person who reads my pages while they’re in process. When I first started writing PRIME TIME, I’d give him my five pages or so a day, and I’d hear him laughing and I was so delighted! And he would tell me every day how terrific it was. Then, about fifty pages in, I went in for my daily pat on the back. And he had a funny look on his face. “Honey?” he asked. “Is something going to happen soon?” So I knew I had some work to do.

Ideas for plots? Ah, no, not really. I’m always running ideas by him, to see if he thinks they’re plausible and believable. And sometimes he’ll come up with just the perfect little thing I need to pull something together. But we think very differently. He’s much more–wedded to reality.

You’ve won accolades from some of the top writers in the business including some of my favorite authors like Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton. Any tips you can offer for writing top notch mysteries and creating a great character like Charlie?

Well, thank you! Yes, it’s great, and Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton are my idols. (They’re also wonderfully generous, and truly authentic. I have three little talismans on my desk that Sue Grafton gave me, and I look at them every day.)

Tips? Well, I read an interview with the poet Anne Sexton some time ago–and she was asked, “What, truly, can a creative writing teacher give her students?” And her answer was:” Courage.” I think that’s so wonderful. And I think my advice would be similar–just don’t be afraid. Fear is a waste of time. Write your book. One page at a time. You can do it.

Any mistakes you’ve made along the way, have you learned anything from them?

Hah. That’s another long blog for another day. Mistakes? Ah, on a huge level, people always yell at me for working all the time. ALL the time. Is that a mistake? None of this would have happened without that. Would I change it? I have to say no. So is that a mistake? I’m not sure. On a tiny level, I should have put together a mailing list of bookstores. Still haven’t done that. Wish I had.

What’s next for you?

Exactly what I’m trying to figure out. DRIVE TIME came out February 1, with fantastic blurbs from the much-missed and iconic Robert B. Parker and Suzanne Brockmann and Margaret Maron and Carla Neggers and a rave starred review from Library Journal. So I’m hoping people love it. (And I’ll be visiting lots of places across the US–hope some of our readers come visit!) And then…we’ll see. I can’t tell you how excited I am.

Hank, you’ve had an incredible career in broadcasting. What have you enjoyed most about your professional life?
Well, thanks! Over the past 30 years, I’ve wired myself with hidden cameras, chased down criminals and confronted corrupt politicians—and had many a door slammed in my face! But the idea that I can change lives and even change laws is so gratifying. It’s a big responsibility, which I take very seriously. But when a tough story comes through and changes are made as a result—the rewards are immense.

How did your TV show “Hank Investigates” come about?

It’s a segment on the news here in Boston, and airs on the NBC affiliate. I’ve been a reporter for a long time—starting out as the political reporter in Indianapolis in 1975—then assigned to other beats from the medical reporter (!) to movie critic (!!) to on-the-road feature reporter in Atlanta, Georgia, where every Monday morning I’d close my eyes and point to a map—and then go to wherever that finger point took me to see what I could come up with.

I came to Boston as a reporter in 1982, where for awhile I was the “funny one.” Whenever the newscast needed a clever feature—what we call a “kicker”—I was the one assigned to do it. They called me “Something out of nothing productions” since I could always find a story anywhere!

But in 1988, I was assigned to do the long-form “think pieces” for the presidential conventions. After that, my news director told me he’d realized I was wasting time being the funny one. He said—you’re the serious one. And he made me the investigative reporter. And that’s what I’ve done—with much delight—ever since.

Which of all your many awards do you cherish most, and why?
Oh, impossible. My Agatha for PRIME TIME as Best First Novel? Brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. What a joy! But I love each of the 26 Emmys and12 Murrows as if it were the only one. Each one of them represents a secret that we discovered and brought to light. I’m very proud of those, and what they represent.

What’s your writing schedule like and how long does a novel take to write, from idea to finished manuscript? Do you outline?

Prime Time took maybe..two years. The others have taken maybe 6 months each.

Outline? Yes. No. When I started with PRIME TIME, I had no outline. Just one of the many things I didn’t understand about mystery writing. My first manuscript was 723 pages long! AH. I had to cut 400 pages!

When we sold PRIME TIME, the publisher initially wanted two books. And they wanted an outline for the second. So I did outline FACE TIME, and although I complained the entire time writing it—it was no fun at all—it turned out to be a terrific tool. Even though the final story was nothing like the outline!

So now, I outline. And then I write the real story–however it comes out.

Which do you prefer, investigative reporting or novel writing, and why?

No way I could decide that! I love them both.

Which novelist most influenced your own work? And which writer, past or present, would you like to spend some time with?

I love Edith Wharton’s cynical take on the world, and the way she illustrates the social structure even while being dramatic and entertaining. Her stories have such with such depth and texture, and her characters are wonderful. Julia Spencer Fleming. Margaret Maron’s wonderfully authentic dialogue and settings. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for clever plots. Lisa Scottoline for her contemporary and hip take on the world. John Lescroart for story story story. PD James. Who I’d love to spend time with? Shakespeare. I have many, many questions for him. Whoever he was. Oh! And Stephen King. What a genius, on so many levels.

Advice to fledgling writers and journalists?

For journalists: Don’t be afraid. Be very afraid. Be scrupulously careful. Think. And think again. Never give up.

For writers? On my bulletin board there are two quotes. One is a Zen saying: “Leap and the net will appear.” To me, that means: Just do it. The other says “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” And I think that’s so wonderful—just have the confidence to carry on. Writing is tough, arduous, not always rewarding in the moment—but no successful author has ever had an easy path. When you hit an obstacle, pat yourself on the back. You’re a writer!

If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

Secrets! When do you tell? And why. DRIVE TIME is all about secrets. As a reporter, Charlie McNally is used to keeping things confidential of course, that’s how successful reporters get the groundbreaking stories. But suddenly it feels like everyone as a secret. And maybe–that’s not a good thing.

Oprah and I could chat about–when happens when someone says: I’ll tell you something but you have to promise never to tell anyone else. Would you ever tell? And does your significant other count as someone else?

Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?

Winning the Agatha for best first mystery, certainly. I still get goosebumps looking at the ceramic teapot the winner receives. And my two RITA nominations!

But also? The other day ii was in the post office, and a women looked at me and said–aren’t you Hank Phillippi Ryan? As a TV reporter, I’m used to being recognized, so I said, sure. And she opened her purse and pulled out my book FACE TIME. She said–I’m reading your book right now, and I love it! Will you sign it for me?

So she hadn’t known me from TV–it was from my books. and that was spectacular.

Your website and blog site URLS.

Contest!

Leave a comment before midnight Pacific on March 24 answering the following question:

If you were a crime solver what kind would you be? (examples: an investigative reporter, librarian, superhero/ine, bug collector, etc.) Why?

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Interview with Author Jenny Gardiner

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

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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