Executive Interview with Jenna McCarthy

Image Courtesy of Jenna McCarthy

“The answer is yes, until there’s a reason to say no.”  

Jenna McCarthy, author, public speaker, and relationship consultant, lives by this philosophy. Jenna McCarthy is the proud author of 12 humorous books for both adults and children, and I recently had the pleasure of speaking with her about her experience as an author.  

In college, Jenna majored in communications with an emphasis in advertising and a minor in French. During college, she interned at an advertising firm in Florida. After college, she acquired a job at a magazine in the sales department, where she soon began to edit articles. Her pieces soon gained her attention within the writing community, and she was soon hired by magazines to write freelance articles. During this time, she submitted articles to publications such as Vogue. Though she was not hired by Vogue, her presence in the writing community gained her enough recognition to work at over sixty magazines where she made a career for herself writing articles.

Jenna’s favorite writing style is humor writing. “If it’s not funny, I don’t want to write it,” she says. As a comedic writer, she realizes “what’s funny to one, isn’t funny to all” and she keeps this in mind when writing about more serious topics such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Writing is about knowing yourself; and knowing how to best express yourself, when writing for children and adults, she often finds that comedy is the common factor between the two age groups. In 2008, Jenna wrote her first book while she was pregnant; using her talents as a comedic writer, she wrote a humorous parenting book called The Parent Trip: From High Heels and Parties to Highchairs and Potties. Jenna states that she initially didn’t want to write for children until she became a parent, then her primary motivator was to create inspirational characters for her children to look up to. 

In her interview, Jenna expressed that she had always loved writing she submitted a short story to Highlights magazine when she was very young. She says that it is imperative for writers to write, even if they don’t have inspiration and if they don’t know how their story will end. Jenna says she doesn’t write at a set time or draw up detailed outlines like many other writers. Instead, she enjoys getting lost in her writing and being surprised by the stories that spin in her head. This way of writing fits in with how she describes her career as “unexpected.”  

Throughout her life, she has changed her major ten times, worked with agents, self—published, became a mother, moved across the country, was featured in two TedTalks, hosted a podcast, and kept a light heart about all of it. Having the honor to speak with Jenna McCarthy meant that I heard firsthand about her memories, experiences, and how she stays true to her life’s philosophy: “The answer is yes, until there’s a reason to say no.”