A financier with a demanding job, a new mom living in Colombo, musician, writer, blogger and now published author. Jenny Lorenz is a very busy lady indeed, but I managed to catch up with her a few weeks ago to find out more about her, her passion for the arts and about her newly published book.
Jenny says that she went into the finance field because she appeared to have a natural dexterity for it however she likes to play the piano, guitar or saxophone as a mode of keeping a balance in her practical, sometimes mundane financier job. She also describes herself as an ‘avid reader from young days’ and says she comes from a family of readers. This love of reading and books naturally drew her towards writing, herself. Jenny has recently published a book on Colombo, Sri Lanka named “Eat like a local – Colombo”. I really enjoyed my chat with Jenny, here’s how it went:
Q. You seem to have a full plate at the moment, how do you make time for creativity?
A. My work in finance can be called ‘uncreative’ so I try to take even a few moments whenever I can manage it, to read, write, play music, etc. to get some creativity back into my life and to let my imagination run riot.
Q. How do you juggle motherhood and creativity?
A. It’s tough, but where there’s a will there’s away. When I am working on a project or an article, I wait till my baby is asleep to work on it, so I don’t eat into the time I have with my daughter. This is however why it takes me quite a long time to release an article or book as I have limited time to work on it during the day.
Q. How did you get into writing?
A. I found that I have a talent for creative writing during a school creative writing competition. It was quite a surprise to me as well when I won a school competition for creative writing and went on to win many creative writing competitions within the Colombo zone schools as well. I guess all the years of reading so many books (as my poor eyesight can clearly vouch for) led to it.
Q. Would you say you’ve been writing and perfecting your ‘skill’ for some time now?
A. Yes, I guess you could say that. I’ve been writing since I was 11 years old for school competitions; since then I have written financial articles for local news sites and some articles have been picked up by the local financial newspapers as well. In addition to that, as you know I have a blog and I have recently published a book which is a culinary journey in Colombo Sri Lanka – my hometown.
Q. Can you briefly tell us what the book is about?
A. The book is about food, specifically the food in Colombo – although I am not a foodie in the technical sense it was a joy to write this book as it is about my beautiful country. The book is an essential tourist guide for food. It’s about what to try and where to go for a unique culinary journey in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has many influences on its culture -, especially food. The book, therefore, has quite a bit of information on exclusively Sri Lankan food and their histories.
Q. Is it difficult to make a name for yourself as a professional writer?
A. Yes. It’s tough to get published, especially when you are a first-timer. And even after publishing a book you need to engage in marketing activities to promote the book and for a working mom, marketing activities are the last thing on the mind as there are many other responsibilities and tasks in day to day life that needs attention.
Q. What motivates you to keep going?
A. My daughter! Since her birth, I’ve been inspired to do a children’s book series loosely based on her, and it is currently a work in progress. It may take me quite a while to release the book but I hope it’s sooner rather than later. The way I see it, the book series I’m working on is a gift to her someday when she’s able to read and understand, so it’s a very special project and I am blessed to get the opportunity to actually have these books published.
Q. What different types of things do you do/create?
A. I have a knack for handicrafts as I love to make gifts and cards, though lately, it’s the last thing on my mind as I have limited spare time. And as mentioned earlier I play several instruments.
Q. What can you tell me about the art scene in Sri Lanka? Are there many opportunities for a creative person like yourself?
A. The art scene in Sri Lanka is quite developed for a developing nation such as ours. The literacy rates of Sri Lanka have always been in the 98th percentile for many decades and is leaps and bounds ahead of other countries in the Southeast Asian region. We have literary festivals such as the Galle literary festival during which many international writers and actors come to Sri Lanka. During one of the more recent festivals Maggie Smith visited and I was thrilled as I am a die-hard Harry Potter fan. In addition to that there are many theatre shows in English and Sinhala, and art exhibitions as well. This bodes well for creative people such as myself as there is a market for it in Sri Lanka.
Visit Jenny’s blog here: https://colombodwellers.wordpress.com/