Updated: Dec 6, 2021
Photos by Abigail Eveline Photography & Kristy Gardner | By Abi Isa Lee | October 1, 2021
This week, we're excited to share a new interview with the award-winning author, Kristy Gardner!
In 2018, Kristy won Silver at the Taste Canada Food Writing Awards for Single Subject Cookbook with her very first published book, COOKING WITH COCKTAILS.
In this interview, you will learn all about Kristy's journey from her childhood memories of writing stories and poetry, to grow up in a conservative family, from her attempts to fit in, to how she published her first cookbook with a publisher in New York, and so much more.
Read on to learn all about Kristy's real story as a writer and her new novel, THE STARS IN OUR EYES, as she talks about the inspiration for the story and the challenges she faced.
We also asked Kristy to recommend three recipes for the creative Crafts-Women community from her cookbook, COOKING WITH COCKTAILS, so continue reading and check out fun recipe ideas she shared!
Crafts-Women: Before we dive in, can you tell us about yourself in just three words?
Kristy Gardner: Curious, Restless, Empathetic
CW: I really like that and I think I can totally relate to those three words! So, tell us a little bit about yourself!
KG: I write sci-fi and speculative fiction novels, creative non-fiction stories and am the author of the award-winning cookbook, COOKING WITH COCKTAILS.
CW: I love the stories you share with your audience on your Instagram page. The real stories about you and the honest feelings as you experience through them.
Would you please tell us about your journey in finding your passion and how you got to where you are today? When did you start writing, and why do you write?
KG: Oh, I’ve always been a writer. My earliest memories are early in my childhood, sketching outlines and coming up with characters and stories. I wrote a lot of poetry then, too. It wasn’t easy, though; I didn’t come from a creative family, and I felt pressure from my conservative family to be sensible and get a normal job.
Through my teen years and into early adulthood, I stopped writing creatively. I continued to journal and write the odd poem while trying to find a place in “the real world.” I worked as a receptionist, a server (for most of my adult life), and even tried fitting in for three whole months on the top floor of a multi-national bank. I didn’t fit. At 28, I decided to go to university and get a degree in English Literature. But that didn’t last long either. While
I loved writing and books, and the formal setting didn’t resonate for me. That, and I found a different program altogether that completely turned my world inside out: gender studies. Not only did it challenge my entire worldview, it introduced me to the topic that would consume me for the next 12 years - food politics and the ethics of eating.
Inspired by everything I was learning, I started my food blog - She Eats, where I would write and create recipes about eating sustainably, locally, and in season. It was the creative outlet I’d missed. It was here I found community with other creatives and folks passionate about where their food came from. It was a supportive environment, and it was the first time in my life I was surrounded by people who wanted to geek out on the things I wanted to geek out on.
In 2016, a publisher in New York - Countryman Press (a division of W.W. Norton) - approached me. They’d found me on Instagram and loved my photography. They asked me to write a book. I said YES! COOKING WITH COCKTAILS: 100 Spirited Recipes was published on Valentine’s Day in 2017 and went on to win Silver at the Taste Canada Food Writing Awards for Single Subject Cookbook. I felt grateful. I felt proud. I felt like there was something else living inside me that needed to come out. That something was what I’d dreamed of writing since I was a little girl: a novel.
I began outlining THE STARS IN OUR EYES (prev titled ALL THAT EVER WAS) in the fall of 2017. After four years of writing, edits, rewriting, and querying, I signed with my literary agent, Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency. She now has the completed manuscript and is shopping it to publishers while I work on the final chapters of a second novel.
It’s been a long 40 years to admit to myself that I am, in fact, creative and accept myself as the writer I am. I am finally writing the pages I want to write. And it feels like home.
CW: We have many authors and aspiring writers in our Crafts-Women community, and I'm sure everyone would love to hear more about your award-winning cookbook.
Can you tell us more about your first published book, Cooking with Cocktails? What was the journey like? What led you to write a book about cooking and cocktails?
KG: Six years after starting my food blog and being active on social media, a publisher in New York - Countryman Press (a division of W.W. Norton) - approached me. They’d found me on Instagram and loved my photography. I was mostly working on my own recipes at this time, but also had a cocktail column with Edible Vancouver, was pho