In case you haven't noticed, we LOVE books. But what you may not have known is that we also LOVE food. So when we find a great book about food, we get pretty damn excited. Which is why we're so happy to have debut author Jenny Nelson as our latest Lit IT Girl. Her novel, Georgia's Kitchen, comes out TODAY. And we've been crushing on her since the day we were lucky enough to read an advanced copy! In Georgia's Kitchen, Thirty-three-year-old Georgia Gray is a soon-to-be married head chef until, well, she’s not. The story takes place in New York and Tuscany and will capture you instantly- sucking you in until the very last page. Trust us, this book is a must-read for any woman who’s ever nursed a broken heart, been kicked when she was down, and needed to look inwards to find the strength to persevere (um, that’s all of us!). Click here to get your copy!
And we loved Jenny's background too. She was part of the founding team of iVillage.com and is senior producer at Vogue.com. How cool, right? And we think you'll love her as much as we do after reading about her journey to publication.
And because she's so damn awesome, Jenny also has an incredible launch week contest! When you order Georgia’s Kitchen the week of the book’s release (Aug 3-6th), and email your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org, you’ll be entered to win this fantastic giveaway.
What are the prizes, you ask? Well, let us tell you!
A basket full of books! Everyday Italian by Giada DeLaurentiis, After You by Julie Buxbaum, Super in the City by Daphne Uviller, She’s Gone Country and Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter, Girls in Trucks and Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch , I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert!
Magazines! You'll also be entered to win a one year subscription to the food magazine of your choice: Food and Wine; Bon Apetit, Fine Cooking or Everyday with Rachael Ray!
AND a $50 gift certificate to Crate & Barrel!
CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS: LIT IT GIRL: JENNY NELSON!
How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? So many I can’t even count. I essentially went to Agentquery.com and searched for any agents based in New York who were accepting new submissions in women’s fiction. I started with any agents I’d heard of, then moved on from there. One day I sent out ten queries. I was way too impatient to wait for any of them to respond before sending out my next round, so my mailbox was very quiet for a long time before – wham – I started getting deluged by, at first, rejections, then some interest and by the end, I had a bunch of offers. I’m convinced that perseverance – and a really good query letter – is key.
What was your rock bottom moment during the process? I never received a totally devastating rejection letter and I didn’t come close to landing my dream agent only to have her change her mind at the last minute, so nothing truly terrible happened during the process. The first few rejections hit pretty hard, but after that I toughened up and began looking at it as a game – how many rejections will I get today? How many requests for partials? For fulls? It was sort of fun to keep a running tally.
How long did it take to write your book? Years. It’s hard to say exactly, because when I first started it wasn’t a full-time thing – I wrote whenever I could sneak it in while caring for my twin daughters. Once I finished the manuscript I spent a long time revising it, and after I signed with my agent, still more time revising it. Let’s just say this day has been a long time coming!
What did you do to celebrate your book deal? I jumped up and down with my kids for a while and then went to dinner with my husband at our favorite Italian restaurant. We brought along a very special bottle of wine we’d been saving for just such an occasion and ordered (and ate!) a ridiculous amount of food.
Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently? I think I would have really cranked it out, allowed myself to write a first draft that was just that – rough and unpolished. Hopefully I’ll bring this lesson to book number two!
Who is your writer crush? Sebastian Junger. A man who courts danger, can string together a mean sentence and looks like that can do no wrong.
What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing? Email and the internet, no question. I’m a big online shopper (and a big returner too!) and I spend way too much time looking for the perfect fill-in-the-blank for myself, my daughters, my husband, my house, my mother, etc.
GNO drink of choice? My old reliable is a glass of Sancerre, but lately I’ve been bitten by the cocktail bug. I recently had an amazing Pisco Sour, but I’m partial to anything with champagne in it. Prosecco with a splash of St. Germain is another fave.
Favorite trashy TV show? Just one? I love the Real Housewives New York version, but the D.C. one looks like my cuppa tea and I’ll definitely be watching that. Bethenny Getting Married, Top Chef (which I don’t consider all that trashy), and The Rachel Zoe Project, which starts up again the same day Georgia’s Kitchen comes out.
What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with? Oh, this is a toughie. Mel Gibson? That Spencer guy? Laura Ingraham? Truthfully, I’m not a good enough tweeter to win any sort of war, and I’m a pacifist to boot!
Thanks Jenny! xoxo, Liz & Lisa