It’s been a busy year for Jennifer Wiza! New husband, new press, new books! Here’s what she’s been up to.
You just got married?
I did just get married like a few months ago.
Tell me about the wedding. Was there a wedding cake test that you were kind of going through your head?
Well you know it was interesting, while I was writing The Cake Whisperer I bought tons of baking books and did research on wedding cakes. I even went to a bakery and was in their kitchen with them making cakes to sort of learn, and so I tried to figure out what each of the different types mean. What does it mean if you have ganache versus chocolate filling and all these different things? We didn’t have a wedding cake; we had chocolate chip cookies because we love chocolate chip cookies. Ever since we got together we’ve loved baking chocolate chip cookies and so we actually baked our own cookies for the wedding. I don’t know what that says about us. I’m hoping it means it lasts forever, but no cookies in my book
We baked seventy cookies for our wedding. We had a very small wedding, just over thirty people. We have not baked a single cookie since, it was complete immersion in baking and we have sort of taken a break.
I’m a huge fan of The Cake Whisperer! Where did you come up with the idea?
The idea for my second adult novel, The Cake Whisperer, came about because I was actually reading People magazine and I saw a fold about Publisher’s Clearing House. For some reason that made me start to think about being able to predict the winner. Can you predict the winners and losers? I thought wow wouldn’t it be awesome to do that in relationships? So I had this idea about a woman who owns a cake bakery and all she makes are wedding cakes. When a couple walks into her boutique, it’s a very upscale boutique on Newbury Street in Boston, and they sit down, she watches them interact and choose a wedding cake – and she can immediately figure out if the marriage is doomed or if the marriage will be a success. The book takes off with her basically figuring out that her best friend’s marriage is going to be doomed, and she has to decide what she is going to do about that.
As you get older, like myself, you love the idea of gosh can I continue to reinvent myself moving forward? and I had this opportunity to do that.
So tell me about your character in Bachelorette #1. A reluctant reporter is terrified of her new assignment as an undercover agent on a reality dating show, thinking she is going to be found out as a fraud. Talk to me about that.
Sarah Devine-Holmes is the main character and she is a freelance writer. After having a child, she gave up her fast-paced career to stay at home. An editor at a magazine she works with, a magazine oriented towards women, sort of a feminist magazine, comes to her and says she‘d like to have her go undercover on the show. She’s covered in spittle and she’s a mom and she says you know I don’t think I can do this. But then she agrees to go and try out and she really starts to relish the idea of being on the show, being on her own, sort of having this persona she had hid behind and really reinventing herself. As you get older, like myself, you love the idea of gosh can I continue to reinvent myself moving forward? and I had this opportunity to do that with Sarah in this book.
When creating a persona that persona takes over.
It does, in Sarah’s situation, she gets to go on this reality show and go back to being the person she was before she got married, before she had a career, and be around women who are in a different phase of their lives. She’s a little older than most of the women on the show and she gets to take on almost a mentoring role for them, in addition to working in parallel with them for the ultimate goal of winning the man.
It starts off with a kind of cynicism and snarkiness and falls prey to the fairy tale. Fairy tales are important.
I think fairy tales are important. In this case I want to call Sarah the Ugly Duckling who sort of comes into her own, but yes, she stops dressing nicely for her husband, stops taking care of herself, stopped interacting with the world at large to become the person she thought she wanted to be. She realizes she wants to be whoever she wants to be and she reinvents herself. A lot in life is about reinventing yourself.
People go on these shows, and this is my personal opinion, they go on this show and it’s only by watching them, looking back, that you see the transformation people undergo, and also how they are pigeon-holed as certain types. That person is the bitch girl or that person is the egotist and people start to undertake these roles, these very one-dimensional roles, and I think what Sarah learns is that when people are on-camera what you see isn’t the truth, or at least it isn’t the whole truth. I think that in the course of this show Sarah’s not one-dimensional either; she has a lot of dimensions that perhaps have gotten submerged as she attempted to take on this role as wife and mother.
You’ve got a third book coming out as well…
My third book with Rothco Press is Sweet Jane. My name is obviously Jennifer but when I was younger everybody called me Jenny. In middle school Tommy Tutone’s famous song came out and everyone was singing 867-5309 and Jenny I’ve got your number. Everyone was dialing the phone, trying to figure out if Jenny was a real person. And so I thought What would happen if as an adult someone discovered that a very famous song that they heard when they were younger was actually written about them? In Sweet Jane, Jane, who is a very uptight, buttoned-up, serious trust and estates attorney, discovers that the kid who lived next door to her wrote this amazingly famous song that put him on this tremendous trajectory towards fame. Through a variety of circumstances she discovers it was written about her. The singer is now trying to make a comeback and he finds Jane and she’s thrust into this world that is foreign to her. She’s surprised to find that she likes shedding the Jane persona and becoming the Janie that he sings about in the song.
Did you like the song or over time did it get annoying?
Everybody loved the song. I think it was more of an infatuation with the idea that it truly was a song that was written about a person, Jenny who had a name as opposed to other songs where there’s a girl, or girls, who are sort of these nebulous creatures. It made it feel like there was somebody out there listening to this song, she knew it was about her, but nobody else knows who she is.