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Inside The Designer’s Studio: Jennifer Hillman-Magnuson

Meet Jennifer Hillman-Magnuson, author, mother and “peanut butter smuggler” who with her family, resides full-time in the beautiful state of Oregon. This wasn’t always the case. As an accomplished writer who began her journey with the likes of Nickelodeon, Jen’s creativity flows in her imaginative writing style and memoirs that are wildly entertaining. Author Jennifer Hillman-Magnuson as DN Podcast Guest

WTF is a “peanut butter smuggler”? I hear you say. Well, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants mom, Jennifer Hillman-Magnuson happens to be the author of the hilarious book, “Peanut Butter and Naan: Stories of an American Mom In The Far East”, a memoir that documents the real-life challenge of moving a family of seven from cozy Nashville, Tennessee to Chennai, India. Knowing that her family’s favorite snack might not be readily available in Chennai, Jen packed her bags with enough jars of PB&J to last weeks–a move that TSA likely had some questions about.

The process of documenting her life abroad became a reliable means for Jen to communicate with the family and friends that she left behind in the west. In a place where electricity supply is inadequate at best, the telephone and internet were a thing of luxury. After being persuaded to turn her journals into a permanent record, Jen shared her experience of embracing exotic culture while keeping a piece of Uncle Sam alive for her kids. From rubbing shoulders with Nashville’s music elite to a fully non-rock-and-roll experience in the depths of India, Jen’s memoir is a candid window into what an all-round American mom could expect to find in the far east.

With a reference to the 2014 science fiction action film Lucy, Nigel reveals that movies provide a necessary escapism for the hard working mother and acclaimed author. Even a writer needs an outlet every once-in-a-while. Although verbal story telling provides much of her modern entertainment, Jen’s foundation in journaling laid the groundwork for her imaginative storytelling abilities.

Journaling to create lasting memories is one thing, but writing and eventually publishing an award winning book is quite another. With the success of “Peanut Butter and Naan…” behind her, Jen is excited to reveal her latest book: “Wither – Acute Stories of Shame and Other Embarrassments”  in which she catalogs the sometimes uncomfortable descent of mortified individuals into a fiery pit of face-burning embarrassment. The book pays homage to the brave souls who shared their jaw-dropping stories with the public.

And, as if her world wasn’t busy enough, can you guess what Jen would be if she wasn’t a writer? Here’s a hint: Egon Ronay vs. 007 would be a fitting title.

Happy listening.


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