I am delighted to introduce you to Jen Karetnick! Jen is a multi-talented writer who has published cookbooks and poetry, among other things. And, random fun fact: she grows mangoes–the best mangoes you can possibly imagine. Read on to learn a little about Jen in her own words. –Jessica Alvarez
What genres do you write? Read?
I write about a lot of lifestyle subjects: food and cooking, travel, health and wellness, fashion and shopping. I also write literary non-fiction, plays, and poetry. And I’ve got my sights set on fiction, which I haven’t really concentrated on since I earned a master’s degree in it. Fiction, I’m coming for you!
As for what I read, I adore all of the above, especially literary journals and novels. Also, anything that combines these subjects worms its way deep into my heart. For instance, I just finished Lisa See’s The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, which is a fantastic piece of work. Mostly set in the Yunnan district of China, it’s about ethnic minorities in that country and their livelihood picking Pu’er tea. I always enjoy books that end up teaching me something.
Plotter or pantster?
I’m both. I plot in my head, but when it comes to writing, I fly by the seat. I think my subconscious does a lot of the work for me in that regard. Sometimes I even give my subconscious assignments, like “Fix this problem by morning.” Occasionally, it works.
Synopses, love them or hate ‘em?
I hate writing them, but I love reading them.
Do you have a writing playlist or a vision board? If so, what’s on them?
Again, these are things I have in my mind. Like many writers, I’m fairly superstitious. I believe that if I envision what I want, it might come to me. But if I write it down or say it loud, oops! Bad karma. So I can’t tell you what’s on the vision board in my head. I hope you understand.
Drink of choice when writing? When not writing?
When writing, it depends on the time of day: Coffee in the morning, Diet Coke in the afternoon, white wine at night. When not writing, it also depends on the time of day: Coffee in the morning, Diet Coke in the afternoon, white wine at night. Clearly, I’m a creature of habit.
Day or Night writer?
I really do love to write both day and night. If I had my way, I’d write 18 hours per day, nonstop. But life and circumstances—family, jobs, pets, household chores like, say, picking mangoes from 14 trees—force me to write during reasonable hours. When I’m teaching, I write at night. When I’m not, usually I write during the day, and that bleeds into the night.
Twitter or Instagram? Or Facebook? Where can we find you?
I’m on all of the social media sites—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—but mostly I keep up best on Facebook and Twitter. I like to do a lot of stories on Instagram depending on where I’m dining. And I dine out a lot.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jenkaretnick/ and https://www.facebook.com/kavetchnik
If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?
If I had the chance, I’d want to talk to Emily Dickinson about being both a baker and a poet. Cooking and writing are two vocations I’ve had to reconcile my entire life, and so did she. They seem worlds apart, but I believe putting together ingredients to make a dish is a lot like piecing together words and images to complete a poem or story or essay. I’d love to know if she felt the same way, or if she felt stifled by being accepted for one of her arts but not the other.