Executive Interview: Six Questions in Sixty Seconds with Jenna McCarthy!

image source: Jenna McCarthy

Known for her humor, relationship advice, and TEDxTalk “What You Don’t Know About Marriage,” Jenna McCarthy is a successful author of a myriad of titles, most recently co-authoring designer Erin Cole’s memoir, The Size of Everything.

image source: Erin Cole

Interviewer: What is your job position, and where do you work?

McCarthy: To be honest, I haven’t had a job at a company in forever. I am the author of nearly twenty books for children and adults, including The Size of Everything, Erin Cole’s incredible memoir that I was lucky enough to co-author. I get to work from home in my pajamas—a perk that’s highly underrated, in my opinion.

Interviewer: Which college did you attend, and what did you major in?

McCarthy: I attended Florida State University, where I majored in Communications and minored in French, an accomplishment that comes in handy for nearly nothing except ordering a croissant with a mediocre accent.

Interviewer: What is your proudest achievement?

McCarthy: I’d be a jerk if I didn’t say my kids, so my kids! They really are amazing. But I’m also pretty proud of my books, my organizational skills, and the fact that I’ve lived with the same man for more than two decades and we still mostly like each other.

Interviewer: Who has had the greatest impact on your personal discovery of your talent?

McCarthy: My readers, especially the ones who reach out to me to say that something I’ve written moved them or changed them or even just made them laugh. Writing can be very isolating at times. You sit alone in front of a screen and pour your heart out, and sometimes you forget that there will be people—people you don’t even know—on the other end of those words one day. It’s an indescribable feeling when you hear from them. Remember Sally Fields’ infamous Oscar acceptance speech? “You like me!” It’s exactly like that.

image source: TED

Interviewer: What is your personal biggest hurdle?

McCarthy: I hate admitting this, but even after twenty-five years at this game, my ego can still be fragile. Everyone says, “Do not read your negative reviews!” But the authors who can actually take that advice are definitely stronger than I am. So I read every bad review, and then I get my little feelings hurt. Sometimes they’re awesome though, like the single star I got on Amazon from a woman who said she loved the book but was taking off four stars for a blood stain on one of the pages. I still laugh every time I read that one!

Interviewer: If you could step into someone else’s shoes for a day, who would it be and why?

McCarthy: Oh my gosh, I wrote a book series about this! It’s called Maggie Malone and the Mostly Magical Boots, and when the heroine Maggie puts on her MMBs (Mostly Magical Boots), she gets to be anyone she wants for a day. And of course, it never turns out exactly as Maggie expects it to. The message behind the series is you really don’t know what someone’s life is like until you live it. Still, I wouldn’t mind spending twenty-four hours as Ellen or Oprah. I’m guessing I wouldn’t love being stalked by paparazzi everywhere I went, but how amazing would it be to be able to give away cars and make millions of people laugh at the same time?