You might already know Jael McHenry from her well established Simmer Blog, but if not please allow me to introduce you…

Jael is a longtime food lover and longtime writer who has combined her two passions into the perfect recipe for getting published!  THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER is her debut novel from Simon & Schuster and it not just for foodies though they will especially love the recipes and detailed descriptions of the smells, textures and emotions that food evokes.  My personal cooking skills are rudimentary at best,  but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this multifaceted story.

THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER is the story of a young woman with undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome who is navigating a world in which her parents have just died, her sister wants control, and cooking is her main source of comfort.  Having been sheltered for most of her life, Ginny finds herself left to her own devices wondering if in fact she has any devices at all.  Helping her understand her new world and the way to find a place in it are some ghosts from her past who she has found a way to connect with through their recipes.

The book is not wholly otherworldly, rather it has just has a dash of magical realism thrown like the secret ingredient in the book’s Hot Hot Chocolate.  If you enjoy magical realists like Laura Esquivel and Sarah Addison Allen you’ll want to check out Jael McHenry to be sure.

After a false start last week when I accidentally read THE KITCHEN HOUSE instead of THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER, I corrected my mistake and Jael was nice enough to give me another chance!  Of course we talked about food and ghosts and Ginny, but we also talked about internet lurking, how long it took Jael to get her big break and what she is working on next.

As always, I hope you enjoy the interview.  And be sure to check out the rest of the author interview series on iTunes!

— Dana Barrett, Managing Editor