Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Author Interview: Jennifer Ross

Photobucket Jenn and I read and reviewed, The Icing on the Cupcake last week and we loved it. Today, we are thrilled to have a Q&A with the author Jennifer Ross.

GJR: How many batches of cupcakes did you go through before you decided on the ones you put into the book?

JR: I don’t know an exact count – hundreds. Baking requires little tweaks in ingredients and patient charting of your results. We did so many little changes. I should’ve kept the charts because then I could’ve told you the exact number of batches we made. I threw them away when we were done because I was so glad to have accomplished proofing so many recipes.

GJR: Are the cupcake recipes your own or did you work with a baker/pastry chef?

JR: Many of the recipes were my grandmother’s. She was an amazing baker. She sold cookies, cakes and cupcakes out of the backdoor of her house to other grandmas in the neighborhood who passed them off as their own. It was a hush hush operation. Lots of whispered orders and money passed while hugging hello.

I worked with a pastry chef to update my grandmother’s recipes and create new ones.

GJR: Is there anyone that inspired Ansley or any of the other characters?

JR: My grandmother inspired Vivian. My grandmother was very motivated in life. When she was in her nineties she told other seniors she was 78 so they would treat her as a peer not an elder. She was always busy even in her nineties – walking, baking, knitting, crocheting, and quilting. The woman never had idle hands.

Ansley was inspired by the feeling I get whenever I have a major life change. It’s scary and exciting and personality changing.

Parish reminds me of many an ex-boyfriend as does Thad. I have a lot of bad ex-boyfriends.

GJR: Who was the hardest character to write for you in The Icing on the Cupcake?

JR: The mother. I can never get mothers right.

GJR: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

JR: Yes, I never thought it was possible. But I started as a journalist for the Wall Street Journal (I didn’t think that was possible either) and when I figured out I could do that I took a huge leap and tried writing a book. This is the result. I have learned a lot writing this novel and it’s going to help me write better books.

GJR: Are you working on a new novel? Does it involve Ansley and her life in NYC? If not, can you tell us the premise?

JR: I am working on a YA novel about fairies but fairies in the historic sense not the current image of them.

GJR: Who are your favorite authors to read? Why?

JR: I love Charlaine Harris because she’s so quick to read and enjoyable. Emily Giffin is always a pleasure as is Jennifer Weiner. Richel Mead’s Vampire Academy books are really satisfying.

GJR: What are you currently reading?

JR: Charlaine Harris’ Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 10) and Danielle Trussoni’s Angelology


GJR: What author’s have influenced you?

JR: Everyone I read influences me. I read Joan Didion and can’t imagine how she can compose the beautiful sentences that she does. I read John Grisham and try to understand how he creates so much tension in his stories. I read Stepheine Meyers and analyze why her stories are so compelling.

GJR: If you had to only pick one kind of cupcake to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?

JR: Chocolate with orange frosting because chocolate cake is always the most moist and satisfying and because chocolate and orange is a combination I never get tired of.

We'd like to thank Jennifer Ross for taking time out of her schedule to answer our questions.

Give yourself a treat and pick up The Icing on the Cupcake.


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