Eating Authors: J.L. Hendricks

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J.L. Hendricks

If things go according to plan, I start chemotherapy today. As I understand it, the process involves ingesting and injecting sufficient vile poisons that, over time, will kill the cancer dead dead dead while not quite killing me. So, um, yay, right? It remains to be seen whether the side effects leave me bald, nauseated beyond redemption, and/or weak as a wet kitten. Those are all things I suspect I can put up with in service to the larger goal of beating the crap out of the myeloma that is trying to eat my bones.

But all of that remains to be seen, and it’s not what you came here to read about today. Nope, sorry, let’s move on, not even a segue, let’s just do it. Time to introduce you to this week’s EAITNG AUTHORS guest, J. L. Hendricks. She’s one of an amazing group of authors I’ve gotten to meet in the past year because of my association with Michael Anderle and LMBPN. Let me put this as simply as I know how: Jen is just good people. Really, that’s all there is to it.

Well, not all, she’s also a prolific writer with a USA Today Bestseller tagline after her name and multiple series to her credit. The latter include her Voodoo Dolls series (think Josie & the Pussycats in New Orleans with vampires, shifters, and witches), her seasonally fun Miss Claus books (who knew Santa Claus was actually a shape-shifting arctic wolf?), her Worlds Away Space Opera Sci-Fi series, and the FBI Dragon Shifter trilogy she co-wrote with J.A. Cipriano.

After serving in the army, going to college, and a career as a Purchasing Manager and Contracts Administrator (I’m not sure what she was purchasing or whose contracts she was administering, and if you want to know you’ll have to ask her yourself), she began writing in 2016. As if often the case with such things, she blames a cat for this.

LMS: Welcome, Jen. Tell me about your most memorable meal?

JLH: I actually don’t know where to begin, or which story to choose. You see, I’ve traveled the world and have experienced so many fantastic meals with an unbelievable mixture of people. Family, friends, co-workers, and even vendors have all played a part of my varied and exceptional meal experiences.

A Ritual of Fire

One of my favorite meal experiences to share was in Taiwan. I was there on business, and the vendors took me and my co-workers out for seafood. The lobster we picked out when we first arrived was still moving when it was put on our table, but I didn’t know it until I put my hand out with a little fork to pick up a small bite of the lobster meat from its tail and it didn’t like it. When its claws tried to grab my hand, I shrieked and everyone at the table laughed with me. Then there was the time I was in Lithuania and tried a cultural dish called a zeppelin. It took me hours to get the fat coating my tongue off. LOL But the memory is still with me twenty years later. Then there was the borscht soup with the fish head and floating eye in the beat red soup. That was in Siberia 22 years ago.

But more recently I have experienced dinners with other authors in places such as Las Vegas and Edinburgh that did more than feed my belly, they fed my soul. Until the past few years, I had never found my tribe, you know the group that just understands who you are with only words and not by blood relations. But over meals with other authors, even when it was plain fare in a cafeteria on the University of Edinburgh campus, more than my stomach was filled. Sitting and sharing meals with others who understood where I was coming from as well as the struggles and celebrations of being a writer, had fed my need for acceptance and understanding in a way I never even knew was starving. There are many wonderful meals I’ve shared with author friends, some in steakhouses, and others in fancy 5-star restaurants, but the most memorable was in a Japanese Sushi bar in the middle of Edinburgh, Scotland with four other authors, only one of whom I had met in person before that trip.

New Orleans Magic

All five of us have different tastes and food requirements. One is a vegan, one has given up carbs, the other two like very different food, and then there’s me. I am doing a very strict and modified version of a paleo diet for health reasons. Even though I had eaten “off-plate” as one of my friends called it, I wanted to find something within my dietary restrictions while still providing a great experience for the rest in my party. We all were able to find something to eat, and everyone’s plates were not only appealing to our tastebuds, but also to our eyes. One in the party ordered the green dragon roll and when it arrived it really did look like a green dragon! (But, not to be confused with a green dragon shifter.) She let us all taste her roll, which was a version of a California roll with some seafood in it. It was fabulous. I had giant grilled prawns that were seasoned with butter and other spices I couldn’t quite place, but it went down very smoothly.

Title

Between the Japanese ambience and the camaraderie of my newfound tribe of friends, I was more than just happy. I was content with the food, I stayed on track for my eating program, and I learned more about my friends through their meal choices. And I think they learned more about me. When the meal was over none of us wanted to part company. So we ended up closing down two bars before we realized it really was time to go. But you know what? The very next night four of us met up again for a South African steak house! One in our party had left for home that day so we were down to four. And again, over a fantastic meal, we got closer.

It’s amazing what good food can do to bring people closer together and how much even a simple meal can turn an event into a truly wonderful experience. It isn’t so much about the food, as it is the people with whom you share the food. I hope the five of us can sit down together again for a fantastic meal, but even if we can’t all meet up again, I know we will remember the great times we had together over food and drink, especially the bubblegum and unicorn flavored ones!

Thanks, Jen. There is really nothing quite like dining with one’s tribe. Though, having experienced a zeppelin myself while in Lithuania, I doubt even the company of other writers could induce me to doing so again.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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