Today, Hartford Books Examiner will be giving away a signed copy of Jen Yates’s Wreck the Halls: Cake Wrecks Gets “Festive.” For your chance to win, simply email HBE at HartfordBooksExaminer@aol.com by 11:59 PM EST tonight (12/13/12) and include “Giveaway” in the subject line. One winner will be selected at random and notified by email. And don’t forget to subscribe to HBE – by doing so, you’ll receive an automatic email notification when each new entry in the Holiday Book Giveaway Extravaganza is posted!
Hartford Books Examiner celebrates Christmas confections gone wrong with Jen Yates on this, the fourth day of our Holiday Book Giveaway Extravaganza.
The author of the New York Times bestseller Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong, Yates is also an avid blogger. In addition to maintaining the extremely popular and acclaimed Cake Wrecks blog, she also flaunts her self-professed “flaming geekiness” on her other blog, Epbot. Yates and her husband, John, make their home in Orlando, Florida, with their two cats.
The second Cake Wrecks book, Wreck the Halls (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $14.99), was published last year, and continues in the tradition of the first – but with a holiday theme. Library Journal noted, “Yates…once again brings confectionary hilarity and horror…Commentary is light and suggestive rather than explicit, though the accompanying photographs often speak louder than words. Light reading for the hectic holiday season.”
From the publisher:
Award-winning blogger Jen Yates has focused on confectionery calamities at her popular Web site www.cakewrecks.blogspot.com since May 2008, while her debut book, Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong, quickly climbed the charts to become a New York Times best-seller within weeks of its release. Now, Yates is back with Wreck the Halls, a fresh mix of fan favorites and plenty of never-before-seen holiday wreckage.
From thankless Thanksgiving turkeys and confusing Christmas conundrums, to less-than-happy Hanukkah horrors and New Year’s meltdowns, Wreck the Halls has an icing-smeared disaster for every occasion. With additional chapters on Black Friday, family communication, and navigating the murky waters of politically correct cake greetings (“Winter!”),Wreck the Halls combines Yates’s signature blend of wit and sarcasm with the most hilarious frosting fails this side of winter solstice. Find sweet relief from the holiday madness (not to mention plenty of laughs) with Wreck the Halls.
Now, Jen Yates whips up some seasonal literary nourishment for readers…
1) Tell us about the inspiration for WRECK THE HALLS. How do the holidays particularly lend themselves to the kinds of hilarious “dessert disasters” that you celebrate?
The inspiration definitely came from the wrecks themselves, because holiday wreckage has always been one of my favorite kinds. There’s just something extra ironic about Jolly old St. Nick and wishes for world peace coming out looking like a constipated muppet with a vendetta.
2) What constitutes a “cake wreck” – and how do you go about gathering the photographic evidence? What advice would you give to those bakers looking to avoid finding their cakes in one of your books (or blog posts)?
Here’s the definition I use on the site: “A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate – you name it. A Wreck is not necessarily a poorly-made cake; it’s simply one I find funny, for any of a number of reasons.” That means it can be the obvious stuff: misspellings, ugly wedding cakes, etc, or it can be a really well made cake, like a baby shower torso or a groom’s cake shaped like toilet, which I just think is funny.
For most bakers all it takes to avoid a wreck is having someone else double-check their work. That would eliminate the literal wrecks (i.e. “I Want Sprinkles”), the misspellings, and hopefully a lot of the more hideous/creepy/poo-tastic creations I see. For the concept wrecks, though, like edible human torsos for a baby shower and toilets for a wedding, well, that really IS just a matter of taste. (Pun intended.)
3) You are an avid blogger. How do you balance blogging with books (and other mundane things like everyday life) – and what do you see as the importance of this in building/maintaining a readership?
I’m afraid with my two books there wasn’t much “balance” at all! For each I spent several months working 16-hour days and through every weekend, since I had to maintain my daily posting online in addition to writing all new material for the books. Quite the crazy ride. And then, of course, the REAL work began: promoting the book! Cake Wrecks was the real eye-opener, since it was my first title; I had no idea how much was required of authors *after* the book went to print. I was ready to kick back and relax, but nooo-oooo. There were interviews and media e-mails and slideshows and give-aways and, well, you get the idea. Ha!
These days blogging is once again my top priority, and I don’t plan to write any more Cake Wrecks books, precisely because of the demand on my schedule. The books were a thrill to write, and all of my tours gave me some of my happiest memories, but I write two blogs now (in addition to Cake Wrecks I write Epbot, a geek blog) and I do occasionally like to have a day off – though I rarely take one.
4) Giving somebody the gift of a book can be a very personal, and sometimes life-changing, experience. Have you been the recipient of such a gift? Also, what advice would you offer to those who are looking to give the perfect book to their loved one this Christmas?
Hm. You know, I haven’t been given all that many books in my life, so probably the one that most impacted me – and that was a gift – was The Millionaire Next Door. I was in my early twenties at the time, working with my husband John as a faux finisher/house painter, and one of our wealthy clients gave it to me for Christmas, I believe. Anyway, the principles in that book helped us stay on track financially as a newly married couple, and to this day we live by the concept of living below your means.
5) The holidays represent a time that children can be introduced to the magic of storytelling, whether it be through book or by voice. How would you recommend that adults embrace this opportunity to foster a love of reading in children?
Read together with your kids, definitely. I hear from so many parents – SO many parents – that read my blog and books with their children (presumably skipping the more PG-rated stuff), which gives them both time together and something to talk about and laugh over later. It’s all about making reading fun, interactive, and personal. Some kids will take to reading like ducks to water, but others may need to find the right format to really catch their interest. Comics, graphic novels, and yes, even Cake Wrecks [shameless plug] are a great way to get more reluctant readers hooked on the written word.
With special thanks to Jen Yates for sharing her delectable brand of entertainment and to her husband, John, for helping to arrange this interview.
For your chance to win a signed copy of Wreck the Halls, simply email HBE at HartfordBooksExaminer@aol.com by 11:59 PM EST tonight (12/13/12) and include “Giveaway” in the subject line.
And don’t forget to subscribe to HBE – by doing so you’ll receive an automatic email notification with the publication of each new post. (You can also “like” HBE on Facebook.)