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INTERVIEW with Jessica Tom author of FOOD WHORE ~ GIVEAWAY

12 Nov

Thank you for joining me on the blog today 🙂 Please help me welcome Jessica Tom. She’s agreed to answer a few questions about herself and her release FOOD WHORE! 

After you check out our interview and ogle her book cover and blurb, don’t forget to enter her giveaway!

Let’s get started…

 

Tell us about yourself in a tweet. That’s right, you get 140 characters 🙂

Maker of things, mostly food and stories.

Nicely done! Tell us your favorite part of the writing process.

When I have an outline, and all I have to do is flesh out the characters and drama. I think plotting is the hardest part–making it come alive is the fun part.

I agree 🙂 I love choosing character names. Tell us how you came up with some of the main characters names in Food Whore.

They just came to me! In college, I wrote a novella for my senior project with a main character named Pim. That never worked out, but I liked the idea of a short name, so I named my main character Tia. (I may have also been influenced by Tia Mowry from Sister, Sister).

What do you think makes Food Whore stand out from others in the same genre?

You’ll certainly get a love story, a coming-of-age, the tale of a woman who is trying to make it in NYC. But you also get a deep and detailed look into the NYC restaurant world, from multiple angles: the diner, critic, chef, restaurateur, waiter and others. It’s especially gratifying when people in hospitality like it or when people compare the book to Kitchen Confidential. That means I did a good job creating an accurate world.

What’s something about yourself that not many people know?

In high school, I was more into science and math. I spent two years developing an independent botanical research project. I was a semi-finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search, often called the “Junior Nobel Prize”.

That’s awesome. What a huge achievement. What was your favorite scene to write?

I hate to say it, but when Tia is at her lowest point. She’s at a bar, and someone says something really nasty to her. It’s just seven words, but ooh, it stings. Here’s a non-spoiler version: “I should have ____ the ___ first.”

Describe your writing space. Where did you mainly write Food Whore?

I try not to be too particular about my writing locations — or else I’d never get anything done! I do most of my writing in my apartment, but I’ve also written on the train, in multiple Whole Foods (the one in Tribeca is my favorite), at casinos (my fiance loves playing poker), and on a cruise ship in Alaska.

I love the thought of writing on a cruise ship. Lucky you! When did you know you wanted to be an author?

After I had studied with Amy Bloom for one semester (I went on to be a student for three years). It wasn’t until then that I realized maybe I could sorta be a type of author person. I saw that I had a bit of raw talent, but more than that, I saw that this was a talent I wanted to cultivate.

Please share the first sentence in your book.

“Out comes a gorgeous, fleshy wheel of foie gras, perched on its side like a monument grander than its actual two-inch height.”

What’s something about Tia that you wish you had more of?

Tia feels her emotions very acutely. I’m not quite as introspective or emotional — I tend to barrel through difficult situations. We’re both quite self-conscious (to the point of being neurotic) though.

Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

I’m working on my second book, which also takes place in NYC and is very food-focused (hey, I know what I like).

 

RANDOM FUN: FINISH THIS SENTENCE…

Do you prefer creamy or crunchy peanut butter?

CRUNCHY. The more texture, the better.

The last dessert I ate was

A mint It’s It. My first one!

My best accomplishment of 2015 is

Besides publishing my debut novel… improving my highway driving skills.

The last book I read was

CUTTING TEETH by Julia Fierro

My dream vacation would include

Awesome food (from high-end dining to street food), challenging and beautiful hiking trails, culture of some sort (museums, ancient ruins, historical sites).

I’m really not that interested in

Cronuts … I’d rather have a yeasted apple cider donut or churro.

Chocolate should

Be dark, melted, and combined with toffee or nuts.

Thank you for letting me interview you, Jessica, and CONGRATS on your debut!

 

 

 

Enter to Win a
Print Copy of FOOD WHORE
(U.S. Resident’s Only)

 

FOOD WHORE
A Novel of Dining and Deceit
Jessica Tom
Releasing Oct 27th, 2015
William Morrow

 

 
Full of wit and mouth-watering cuisines, Jessica Tom’s debut novel offers a clever insider take on the rarefied world of New York City’s dining scene in the tradition of The Devil Wears Prada meets Kitchen Confidential.
Food whore (n.) A person who will do anything for food.
When Tia Monroe moves to New York City, she plans to put herself on the culinary map in no time. But after a coveted internship goes up in smoke, Tia’s suddenly just another young food lover in the big city.
But when Michael Saltz, a legendary New York Times restaurant critic, lets Tia in on a career-ending secret—that he’s lost his sense of taste—everything changes. Now he wants Tia to serve as his palate, ghostwriting his reviews. In return he promises her lavish meals, a bottomless cache of designer clothing, and the opportunity of a lifetime. Out of prospects and determined to make it, Tia agrees.
Within weeks, Tia’s world transforms into one of luxury: four-star dinners, sexy celebrity chefs, and an unlimited expense account at Bergdorf Goodman. Tia loves every minute of it…until she sees her words in print and Michael Saltz taking all the credit. As her secret identity begins to crumble and the veneer of extravagance wears thin, Tia is forced to confront what it means to truly succeed—and how far she’s willing to
go to get there.

Excerpt

The reception was meant to be casual and fun, but instead the air vibrated with tension, like a kettle on the verge of boiling. I saw some people in crisp lab coats (the food science researchers), others in tweed jackets (the cultural anthropologists), and a select group in shorts and hoodies who looked about the same age as us (the Internet start-up founders). The room was a convergence of all kinds of food industry professionals: restaurateurs, packaged food makers, web series producers. Students like me jockeyed for position around these would-be mentors, needy moons circling any planet with a vacancy in its orbit.

“Do you see Helen?” I asked Elliott. He already had a job at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, but he’d come with me to the graduate student reception as a show of support.

Even though he had attended three of her speaking engagements with me and knew her face, he checked her picture again before scanning the crowd.

“Helen . . . Helen . . . where are you, Helen?” he said with squinted, searching eyes. “Want me to walk around? I’ll text you if I see her.”

Before I could say yes, Elliott was off, hunting. He was good like that. Elliott was Elliott—goofy and kind and the type of guy who made me giddy even by standing a little too close. He’s a good one.

But one thing Elliott will never be is a person who loves to eat. He isn’t opposed to a good meal or annoyingly picky or anything like that. It’s just that food doesn’t matter to him. If a meal ever tried to speak to Elliott, he’d probably excuse himself from the conversation. But that didn’t mean he’d bail on helping me out.

Now that I was officially in NYU’s master’s program in Food Studies, I didn’t want to leave Helen to chance. The committee already had my internship application and I’d find out my placement in five days, but maybe—just maybe—I could seal the deal by charming the socks off Helen at this event.

Helen is brilliant. Her work for the Times is legendary for its incisive critiques, but I love her memoirs and cookbooks the most. Unshackled by journalistic constraints, her voice grows

warm and visceral and pulls you into the heart of every recipe and story. You sit in her blue childhood kitchen in Massachusetts, ache over her short-lived love affair with a chef in France,

grit your teeth at her hectic days as a new mother.

Part of my plan included enticing Helen with a batch of my special cashew-almond-

walnut- pecan Dacquoise Drops, something to make her take notice of my application essay. Dacquoise Drops were no ordinary cookies. They’re what drove me to Helen, though I can’t say I planned it that way.

 

 Reprinted courtesy of William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers.

 

 
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Jessica Tom is a writer and food blogger living in Brooklyn.  She has worked on initiatives with restaurants, hospitality startups, food trucks, and citywide culinary programs. Jessica attended Yale University and graduated with a concentration in fiction writing, studying three years under Amy Bloom. She brings a wide variety of food experience to her writing. You can connect with her at jessicatom.com; and @jessicatom.

 

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Posted by on November 12, 2015 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights

 

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