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Q&A with Jill Conner Browne, The Sweet Potato Queen
Question: The Sweet Potato Queens were born on a gleeful St. Patrick’s Day, back in 1982, when you and a few friends decided to get Queened-up for local parade in Jackson, Mississippi. Did you realize that parade would begin an international movement for women?
Jill Conner Browne: Yes, It was my Five-Year Plan. Are you kidding me? No! I had no idea I would become a cult leader! My only goal was to entertain myself—a goal that endures to this very day, I might add.
Question: Tell us a little about the annual Zippity Doo Dah Parade that happens at the end of March every year. Women come from all over the world, wear sequins, and march with bands, raise money for charity, eat and laugh. How does it all come together? (Let us live vicariously!)
JCB: We simply out-grew the other parade and started our own, which has been fantastic for the Queendom, the city of Jackson and most importantly, for Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children. Queens (and Spud Studs) start arriving on Wednesday of parade week--March 21-25 for 2012--and overnight the city is overcome with sparkle. It is four days of fantastic: Arts, Eats & Beats in the Fondren Arts District, The Come On In Party, Big Hat Brunch, SPQ Big Hair Ball, Sal & Mookie's Kids' Carnival, Patty Peck Honda Car Giveaway, the beautiful "Night-Time Zippity Doo Dah Parade" immediately followed by the street dance, Pearls & PJs at the Hilton, and ending with the Bathrobe Brunch on Sunday morning. And it all raises money for sick kids—what could be better?
Question: Fat is the New 30 is your ninth book. Is there a theme that runs through all of your books, other than being stitch-in-the-gut funny?
JCB: Life is too short—and too LONG—to spend it doing ANYTHING that doesn't make your heart sing.
Question: You believe that humor is the best medicine, which is evident throughout the book since you make us laugh at even the "crappiest parts of life." How are you able to mix humor and happiness into nearly every life situation?
JCB: Oh, my Daddy taught me many useful things! One of the most important was this: There are very few situations in life that we really and truly cannot change. But when we do encounter one of those, the task at hand is to figure out how to either make fun out of it--or make fun of it. I am extraordinarily gifted in this department.
Question: Nearly all of your books, including Fat is the New 30, include some "you’ll have to roll me out of the kitchen" recipes. Do you test them all out? Which of the new recipes is your favorite?
JCB: Did I test them all? Have you SEEN me lately? If and when you do see me, you will note that I am wearing a very long jacket. Suffice it to say that if I am ever found dead in a short jacket, you will know that I was dead before the jacket went on. Yes, I tested all the recipes and they are poison! If you eat this stuff all the time, you WILL DIE--and you will die with a HUGE bee-hind--however, they are VERY good for your disposition. My fave? Why, I love them all, obviously! Can happily go from Scott-apeno Dip to Viney's Floor of the Hilton Minner Cheese to I-Can't-See-My-Feet Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.
Question: You’re a Southern Girl but there are Queens from all over the world. Do you think we all have a little Southern in us?
JCB: My "voice" is that of a Southern woman--on account of that's what I turned out to be (luckily)--but the experiences are universal so no Southern is required. However, if you are lacking in Southern, you can certainly get you some in my books and it will make you happy!
Question: What’s next for you and the Queens?
JCB: The Sweet Potato Queens Musical! I just got the first draft from Melissa Manchester, Sharon Vaughn and Rupert Holmes! It's always been my dream--and now it is happening! Of course, that doesn't require ANY effort on my part--which is so perfect--I can be entertained while lolling. Heaven.
Hilarious . . . Poignant . . . The Sweet Potato Queens’ chronicler returns with the ninth in the series and this time takes on the more serious parts of life, such as raising children, getting older, and surviving a recession, with her trademark bawdy humor. As before, she peppers each chapter with her and others’ personal anecdotes. . . .Legions of Sweet Potato Queens, now boasting 6,200 chapters in 20-plus countries, will line up for the latest book in Browne’s popular series. —BooklistSee all Editorial Reviews
If randomly-capitalized words were rocks in the road, it would make for one very long, very bumpy ride. This is exactly what reading this book felt like. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Lady O
I have shared her advice with many friends. So wise. Love her writing and her wisdom. Keep them coming, please.Published 1 month ago by A. Schmidt
Great book. I bought this in paperback as well as the audio book after my cousin played it for me on a road trip we took together. Ms.Browne is absolutely hilarious. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mickey
This is exactly why you read chick lit. Amusing antidotes and pearls of wisdom from a southern girl. Buy it for a girlfriend.Published 1 month ago by angela rupp
I recommended it for our book club for funny, easy reading for the summer. It met all my expectations. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rosemary wagner
Great story telling and a very brave way to end the book. Many laugh out loud moments to help get though the not so happy times.Published 3 months ago by Marie Lee
This is the first I have read from this author and I really enjoyed it. Good book for vacation reading.Published 4 months ago by MJSJOY