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Jeanette Hurt

Writers@Work: An Interview with Food and Beverage Writer Jeanette Hurt

May 5, 2020


Note From Rochelle


Dear Writers,


How are you doing with working from home? you’re struggling to overcome the distractions (News! Worry! Children!) and be productive, I can help you. My book, Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity offers exercises to help you discover the practices that work for you. And here’s the cool part: to make it affordable for everyone, I’ve just lowered the price of the ebook to $2.99.


If you’re longing to write for children, take a look at this post by author Sandy Brehl. She stopped by the blog to talk about how to become a successful picture book writer.

Today I’m delighted to welcome my friend Jeanette Hurt to the blog. She’s got two new books out and lots of good information to share, along with a recipe for your next happy hour.

Happy Writing!


Jeanette Hurt


Writers@Work: An Interview with Food and Beverage Writer Jeanette Hurt


Can you tell us about The Joy of Cider—what does it cover, who might enjoy it, and how might we use it?

Jeanette HurtThe Joy of Cider  is for anyone who already adores hard cider, but it’s also for anyone who is curious about this beverage.  Hard cider is actually the most American of all beverages – it’s what everyone drank from pre-Revolutionary War until past the Civil War, but Prohibition effectively killed off most hard cider makers since it was always very local and always very regionally driven.


Apples are one fruit in which unless you graft the apples onto a new tree, the baby trees from the seeds will not be exactly like the parent trees, and that’s why apples have, for a long time, been so regional.

Hard cider has been making a comeback, and one of the most exciting things about it is that it’s becoming, again, a very local or regional drink, as local cider makers in Michigan make different types of cider from Vermont cideries or Washington cider farms.

I got into this book the way I get into most of my books – I wanted to learn more about cider because I liked it and wanted to know more about it.  So, I went down that rabbit hole, and it was really, really fun.

What I love about my new book is the homemade hard cider recipe in the book is one even the most novice of fermenting beverage makers could follow and make a really good cider.

Also, my background in spirits and cocktails came into play, as there are more than 50 cider cocktail recipes in the book.  Cider is a great ingredient in cocktails for either decreasing or increasing the alcoholic content.  If you want a lower ABV cocktail, use cider to replace a white spirit in the beverage.  If you want something more potent, use cider to replace the soda or tonic in a cocktail.


What did you learn about yourself as a writer while writing The Joy of Cider?

When I was writing the joy of cider, I almost felt like I was an imposter, because most of the cider books out there are written by people who make hard cider on a regular basis or own cider orchards or publish cider magazines So I wrote this book proposal and my agent was able to sell it and I was like whoa, I don’t know a lot. So one of the things I did, I researched the heck out of it. And I tapped into experts who had the expertise I didn’t. So I used a cider maker out of Madison. He is a really young guy who makes amazing cider. And he was able to share a wonderful cider recipe with me. As writers, we feel like we are imposters because we are not experts, but we become experts in whatever we are working on.


You’ve just released The Cauliflower Comfort Book, which looks so yummy! Can you talk about the book and how these recipes are both low carb and COMFORTING?

Jeanette HurtThis was a really fun project, and again, it was another rabbit hole I went down. One thing about cauliflower, which makes it more of a staying trend as opposed to a fad, is that when you use it to replace a carb – i.e., potatoes or bread – it doesn’t taste like you’re missing what it’s replacing.

My cauliflower tots recipe, for example, is better for you than regular tater tots, but they taste pretty much the same. And they’re even more comforting when they’re smothered in a casserole.

My three favorite recipes in the book are cauliflower chocolate chip cookies and the cauliflower gnocchi and all of the roasted cauliflower recipes. No, you can’t taste the cauliflower in the cookies and they’re slightly healthier than regular cookies.

The cauliflower gnocchi is lighter and fluffier than regular potato gnocchi. It’s really fabulous.

If you want it more as a side dish or a vegetable, nothing beats roasting the cauliflower – drizzling it with olive oil and herbs.


When you write so many books back to back and also juggle freelance writing and parenting—well, that’s a lot! Can you share some of your secrets for getting stuff done?

I keep a to-do list in my journal that helps keep me on track.  I also try to focus only on one big project at a time – one day I focused on one book’s edits, another day I worked on recipe development, etc.

I also have a background in daily newspaper reporting so sometimes you just have to sit yourself in a chair, at your computer, and spend an hour – or ten – just writing.  Just get it done – it doesn’t have to be perfect, and sometimes most of your angst isn’t about the work, it’s about other things.  So, if I was to give anyone advice is, just do the work.  Do it imperfectly, and do it badly, and then you can go back and edit it.  Very often, I’ll go back and discover things weren’t as bad as I thought they were or if there’s something off, I can fix it.  But you can’t fix what you don’t finish. So finish it. Get ‘er done.

But it was a lot, even for me, and twice in the past, I’ve done two books within one year (including my very first two books!). I have to admit, working on three books within one year and parenting my son and juggling other work projects, did burn me out. I was finishing up The Wisconsin Cocktail Book edits on New Year’s Day, and I was mentally and physically exhausted.  My word going into 2020 was self-care.

My fantastic agent, Marilyn Allen, is in the midst of negotiating my 15th book deal, but one of the things I asked her is that I have a little more time to finish this book.  So I’ll have seven months to finish my book project instead of three.


You and your friend Damon Brown wrote a book on how passive income can support writers during lean times and big projects. What advice do you have for readers who want to start earning passive income?

First off, for me, passive income is in part, anything I don’t have to look hard for.  If a story falls into my lap or a regular client approaches me or if it is related to my books, then I consider it passive because I don’t have to write a book proposal or client contract or query letter.

One of the principles we also talk about is tapping into your own superpowers. We all have them. One of my superpowers is speed reading so one of the ways I earn money is by writing book reviews.  I usually read anywhere from three to ten books in any given week so I might as well make some money from my hobby.  What are your superpowers? Do you do something almost effortlessly, and is there a way that you can translate this gift into making money?

If anyone reads this article and ends up purchasing the Passive Writer, email me proof of purchase at, and I’ll send you a worksheet on discovering your super powers that Damon and I wrote.

I also think that as a writer, don’t re-invent the wheel.  If I’ve worked on a book, then I usually write at least one or two articles on the same subject matter.  If you’re a fiction writer, maybe you could write a few short stories with some of the same characters, and then publish them on Amazon.  It’s not totally passive, but it’s related to some big work you’ve already done, and why not see if you can’t earn something with it?


Can you share an easy cider recipe—maybe something that we could eat with cauliflower pizza?

Here is a delicious and quick cider recipe:

Quick and Simple Cider Sangria Simplified

1 ½ oz. Drambuie

4 to 6 oz. hard cider

Apple slices and/or citrus slices

Stir all ingredients together over ice, and enjoy.


What are you reading now?

I just finished Jerry Mitchell’s book, Race Against Time. It’s a memoir of how he, an investigative journalist in Mississippi, spent most of his life as a reporter, investigating cold cases from the Civil Rights era. It’s just completely riveting – as if Woodward and Bernstein were investigating murders from the Civil Rights era, and then bringing these awful, awful, evil men to justice. It’s like a murder mystery, except it’s real life, and it’s amazing what he did.  One of my favorite parts is this evil man said he was watching wrestling on television that night as his alibi, and Mitchell got the television schedule, which revealed that there was no wresting that night on television. It gives me chills.

I also love Nicholas Petrie’s latest Peter Ash mystery, The Wild One. I felt like such a fan girl at your last book signing when I met him. He’s a fantastic mystery writer.

And then, I’m reading fluffy mysteries and sci-fi /paranormal books on my Kindle. I am waiting for Patricia Brigg’s next Mercy Thompson book to come out, and I am also waiting for Ilona Andrews’s next book to come out, too. Also, I am looking forward to reading Joe Ide’s latest mystery, too.



Jeanette HurtABOUT THE AUTHOR. Award-winning author Jeanette Hurt explores culture through the lens of food, drink, and travel. Whether she’s delving into the history of gin and tonics, developing healthy yet tasty cauliflower recipes or interviewing a distiller on the lochs of Scotland, Jeanette takes readers on a delicious journey that inspires them to create a good life. Jeanette regularly contributes stories to dozens of magazines and websites.  Additionally, she is the main recipe developer for several publications and content companies, and she also is a skilled ghostwriter, who helps coax stories, garner inspiration and hone the words of would-be authors and experts. Find her online at


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