WomensHistoryReads interview: Jenna Blum

As we roll forward with Women’s History Month — and of course WomensHistoryReads — I’m thrilled to welcome Jenna Blum to the blog for today’s Q&Q&Q&A. If you’ve encountered Jenna online or in life, you know she’s warm, smart and charming, so I was thrilled when she agreed to answer some questions for this series. And her question stumped me for days! Without further ado…

Jenna Blum

Jenna Blum

Greer: How would you describe what you write? 

Jenna: Literary fiction, by which I mean the characters drive the story as opposed to a genre-driven plot. As a reader and writer—and person!—I’m interested in people and why they do what they do, particularly when they have to make difficult decisions and when they make awful ones, as we all do, because of their circumstances or psyches, trauma or love. And then: What happens as a result?

Greer: What’s your next book about and when will we see it? 

Jenna: My next novel is a prequel-sequel to my latest novel, The Lost Family—but it will also be a standalone (so although of course I highly recommend you read The Lost Family, if you don’t, you’ll still be able to enjoy Book 4!). It’s about a German-Jewish Auschwitz survivor named Peter Rashkin who has emigrated to the States and had a great career as a restaurateur/ chef in New York; in his 70s, a catalyst from his long-buried past returns to Peter’s life, forcing him to go back to Germany, where he hasn’t set foot since 1945–and where he discovers that nothing about his past there as a young man is what it seems. 

Greer: I love this prequel-sequel idea! Last question for you: What book, movie or TV show would your readers probably be surprised to find out you love? 

Stephen King’s novel The Stand—and his early short stories from Night Shift and Skeleton Crew. People think of King primarily as a horror writer, but I love his writing for its portraiture of individual and group psychology in extreme circumstances—and the man can make a story MOVE.

Jenna: If you could choose one Book Boyfriend, who would it be and why? (Question inspired by Andrea Peskind Katz of Great Thoughts, Great Readers and PopSugar’s Brenda Janowitz, who fight over my chef protagonist from The Lost Family, Peter Raskin!) 

Greer: I have been thinking about this question for weeks! So many to choose from! Of course the first potential boyfriend candidates that come to mind are from my own books — a girl could do much worse than Henry from Woman 99 or Clyde from The Magician’s Lie (OK, he has his flaws, but he’s ambitious, dreamy, and good with numbers! And he, too, loves books.) But I think I’d better cast a wider net for the sake of fairness. Ah, got it. I just finished reading Crazy Rich Asians and definitely put Nick Young in the upper echelons of the swoon-worthy category. He’s not perfect, but he’s tender, thoughtful, loyal, and smoking hot — plus there’s that whole sinfully-rich thing. Yes, I think Nick sounds like a good way to go.


For more, check out www.jennablum.com.