In this month’s GWN genre workshop, I got to meet Julie Powell—as in, the author of Julie and Julia. It was an incredible opportunity, but I’m glad I wasn’t too star stuck to genuinely evaluate her Craft Talk. After all was said and done, I learned that Julie Powell is an amazing woman—and when I say amazing, I mean amazing.
Right away, I could tell that she was completely honest. She shared with the group that some of the information she included in Julie and Julia did not appear exactly as it occurred in reaity, and some details were even made up. There are authors who would fight to say that everything in their book is real, and that it came from some factual person or place, but it takes a real author to say that yes, their imagination had a hand in their work.
Julie Powell’s memoir is about Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and how Ms. Powell made her way through it. Many authors write about taking a journey, but do they take the journey themselves? Ms. Powell did. She actually made every recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook, which definitely says speaks to her dedication! Although she was following the formula of a cookbook, she still brought her own personal experiences to her memoir, which made it all the more realistic and enjoyable to read.
In person, Julie was a very energetic woman. She was also very obviously intelligent. She had such profound insight, that when she spoke, you just knew that she was talented. She bounced from topic to topic to answer everyone’s questions, and she gave a well-rounded response to all of them. Even though I, myself, did not have any questions for her, those that others asked gave her a variety of different thoughts and experiences to talk about, which made her Craft Talk really interesting to listen to.
One of the most enticing topics she covered was the major transformation of her original work: Julie transitioned from writing a blog to writing a book, and then Hollywood bought the rights to her book to make a motion picture of it. It was exceptional to hear her raw opinion about the evolution of her work.
It was obvious that, as an author, Ms. Powell really cares about her work. She has a serious connection to it. Maybe it’s because she actually traveled the cooking journey herself, by making all of Julia Child’s receipes, writing a blog about them, converting that blog into a best-selling novel, then seeing it get adapted into a movie.
Overall, it was incredible to meet the very bright Julie Powell; it was so exciting to get a glimpse into the mind of such a talented author.