Gina, thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule to introduce yourself and answer some questions .
First off, I want to thank you too for the opportunity to interview me Han. My passion is for cooking and reigniting a spark of imagination in the kitchen. I have had the wonderful opportunity of sharing my love of cooking with the world!
I understand that you a published author. At this time, how many books have you published
That is a great question. I have about ten published books, I lost track. My first three titles are about the nineteen sixties sitcom Bewitched. Most of my titles center around popular culture and magic. I enjoy writing trivia as well as unique themed cookbooks. So, out of the ten Han, I have mainly focused on television and popular themes: I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Twilight, and Harry Potter.
What attracted you to Bewitched, both as a sitcom and as a subject to center books around?
That is a great question Han. I started watching Bewitched in syndication, it ended in 1972 and I caught my first episodes in the mid-eighties. I liked how Samantha Stephens, star of the 1960’s sitcom Bewitched abstained from her use of witchcraft in order to please her mortal husband Darrin. I started researching Bewitched, writing trivia tidbits and recipes from a young age. I like how she/Samantha Stephens brings people together through her art of cooking and mastery of the mundane.
The show has been an integral part of my life as a writer and was the spring board so to speak for my other book(s) all trivia and unique themed cookbooks. I have had the awesome experience of meeting many of the stars, including Tabitha, and being part of a television show called Bewitched Fanatical.
Barbara Eden (Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie) and Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha Stephens from Bewitched) were my role models growing up. I just returned with my family from San Francisco. We went to say “hi” to Barbara and her husband John who just returned from Australia. I had a private dinner party for Barbara in April at Morel’s steakhouse and Bistro in LA (at the Grove). It was fun to gather fans from around the cosmos to celebrate Barbara’s new book, Genie out of A Bottle and my book: 101 Things To Know About Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, everyone got an autographed copy and we got to take pictures with Barbara. In life I have found that we all desire to be unique and special. Bewitched made me wish that there were real witches like Samantha that turned mundane tasks into magic!
I saw some of photographs online of you with some of the different stars. That experience must have been a like a dream come true.
It has been awesome! There are quite a few memories I am thinking about at the moment.
Can you explain briefly what the show, Bewitched Fanatical was about and what part you played in it?
Bewitched Fanatical is a show produced in Canada by TV Tropolis. They produced different episodes based upon the “top” fan of a particular show. I was selected as the “top” female fan of the show Bewitched and my friend, Mark Simpson was shown as the biggest Bewitched “male fan”. I co starred in the show, it was a very fun experience. It plays on youtube and has been shown on airplanes throughout the world, I am told.
Wow, that is awesome! Do you have a link handy for that youtube clip?
Bewitched Fanatical is in three parts on youtube. They did an I Dream of Jeannie Fanatical, I wanted to be a part of that one too, there is a bit of a competition going on and rivalry between Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie fans.
In some ways do you see yourself as a real life version of both Jeannie and Samantha Stephens?
Probably more Samantha than Jeannie. I am a suburban mom with my plastic cauldron hooked to the microwave. LOL I am more like Elizabeth Montgomery than Samantha Stephens. She and her husband William Asher owned Bewitched. He was the director of Bewitched and she and her husband approached ABC about doing a show together. The show they chose was Bewitched. Many stories to share on that for the future, including her trademark nose twitch.
My husband and myself own Serendipity Media, a marketing, publishing and promotions firm. He makes the book cover and I write the book(s) and we publish books such as popular culture, like our newest client Eddie Lucas, Living Room Legends. He interviewed Phyllis Diller for his book and acting giants like Ronnie Schell. So fun to do what I do!
Would you say that your husband falls more in step with either Darrin or Major Nelson?
Now you are asking the tough questions. If I say Darrin I will run into a lot of heat in the kitchen, Darrin “yelled” a lot, my husband wouldn’t mind if I could twitch up a million bucks, so neither.
Speaking of that trademark nose twitch, can you do it?
Awww, I wish. I do the witchcraft way like Tabitha, with my finger on my nose and I wiggle my nose that way. The secret is the upper lip moving it, but it’s hard.
I did have a wonderful time at a book signing in Glendale a few years ago signing The Magic of Bewitched Trivia and More and having the actress Kasey Rogers (Louise Tate, the bosses wife from Bewitched) by my side. I should send you some pics.
Elizabeth got peeved at Bill Asher one day, that’s how the nose twitch emerged. He said, “do that again.” She said, “do what?”
The cover for our first book which was published in 2004, The Magic of Bewitched Trivia and More, the cover (designer Erik Davison) we discussed our vacuum dilemma with him. David (my husband) and myself told our daughter to pick up her toys. While vacuuming, the toys got stuck in the vacuum and a billow of smoke emerged, we decided to do our book cover with Endora (Samantha’s witchy mother) kind of coming out of the cloud or dusk of smoke.
I would enjoy seeing those pictures. Thank you for sharing the inside scoop on the history of that infamous nose twitch.
I understand that you published a book that seems to have been perfectly timed with the July 15th release of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2. Would you care to fill us in on the details?
Muggles To Magic: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook was published in December of 2010. The back copy reads: smuggle in some muggle magic with The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. I have had a fun time experimenting in the kitchen, making rock cakes, butterbeer, pumpkin juice. My daughter and myself spent the entire day making goodies, including Cockroach clusters.
The idea struck me like a lightning bolt, well not that extreme. In October of 2010, we went to Burbank to say “hi” to our Bewitched friends, Adam and Tabitha Stephens, Dr. Bombay (they were at a Hollywood Collector’s Show). I also went with my family to say “hello” to my Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie girlfriends, there is a group of us, ranging in age from mid twenties to early fifties. I went to meet Barbara Eden for the first time. When I called the hotel to check on our reservation, a lady, I call her my angel (Mae) started laughing, out of the blue… She said, “right before you called I was thinking of the lady that wrote Harry Potter and how she was poor and became rich from her ideas…I wish this for you.” I was still in the midst of promoting my Twilight cookbook, Love At First Bite, which has been internationally recognized, so I figured why not. It goes with the whole magical theme.
What amazed me is there are more Harry Potter fans than there are Twilight fans, and I’ve traveled around the United States with Love At First Bite. It is kind of that way I’ve found for me. I Dream of Jeannie is more popular than Bewitched and Harry Potter is even bigger than Twilight. It is because it transcends age and gender, I think.
What are the basic principles of Harry Potter Cooking?
Muggles To Magic, The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook is filled with sweet treats and main dishes. Before I go on radio interviews, television appearances or any media engagements such as book signings, public entertainment venues (I have organized theme events in conjunction with my book(s)-and have done library question and answer segments, I always pray that I will reach at least one person. After my library event in Visalia California last year, I realized that I was praying, but not asking to reach more teens, young adults, people. I realize that I have the potential to reach many people, with my goal of reigniting a passion for cooking and getting people interested in the culinary arts.
Iunderstand that you teach Harry Potter Cooking classes. Tell me about what this entails. Do you travel the country, conducting these classes?
I get people interested in new creative ventures through my usage of popular culture themes, Harry Potter being one. I like the idea of people coming together and talking, cooking together, getting to know one another again. I don’t think there is a better conversation piece than food and cooking, it brings people together.
It sounds like a winning formula/recipe to me!
Awww, thank you. I regularly post complimentary recipes and have a newsletter full of marketing trends, free recipes, promotions, new emerging authors, business ideas, etc. http://ginameyers.com. I have Butterbeer and a Green Olive spread (another book I will be promoting in the Fall-Cook Like A Hot Italian Mama, my grandma Rose’s recipe). They are on my website.
How do you come up with the names for the recipes?
I have a knack for theme (ing things. I don’t know where it comes from.
Is there a process that you follow in determining the ingredients and preparations for the
I taught unique themed cooking classes for children and adults for over ten years in the summer. I have an emergency teaching credential, so being a teacher type, I had a lot of material to work with and I come from a very long line of excellent home cooks.
Do your husband and and children serve as culinary Guinea Pigs so to speak?
Yes, but today no one would drink the Pumpkin Juice or eat the Cockroach Clusters, so I had to partake. My frog’s eye salad was a recipe via my late stepmother, it is an ambrosia type of a recipe and will get its debut on television tomorrow. I sampled that one too, but the news producer stopped by to pick up a copy of Muggles to Magic and he got to be the proud recipient of Rock Cakes and Frog’s Eye Salad and some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins we baked, found in the book. Like my husband, I like experimenting with different ingredients, I am always reminded to “write it down” and “save”. A Bewitched friend gave me some tips on recent fig recipes and for that I am grateful!
I read this blog, http://blogs.laweekly.com/stylecouncil/2010/09/twilight_cookbook_author_gina.php
Can you describe some of the controversy surrounded your book: Love at First Bite, the Unofficial Twilight Cookbook?
The downside of fame is that everyone wants their fifteen minutes. Not everyone deserves their fifteen minutes. It was a bogus review by an individual who wanted fame from being an amazon reviewer, so, no real controversy. It was fun to read the thirteen some odd comments after the bogus review.
We cannot take life too seriously, it is too short. You can quote me on that!
For the record, Love At First Bite, The Unofficial Twilight Cookbook does not have- Team Edward Tacos, it was a good idea though.
On your web profiles, I see that you describe yourself as a Christian. How do you reconcile your Christian faith with those who feel that the Harry Potter Series has a dark side and is intrinsically evil?
I don’t believe in labels. My goal is simple: to reignite a passion for the culinary arts. My goals are being met. Good books transcend cultures, creeds, generations. I cannot judge others for their motivations, I can only understand my true intentions. I carefully attempt to monitor what my children feed their minds and souls with. I try to watch shows ahead of time and in our home we openly discuss movies, books, thoughts and opinions, even politics and religion. But, I honestly cannot answer for JK Rowling.
I don’t mean to be rude, but I have a multitude of television interviews over the next few days. Best wishes, Gina
I think your intentions speak for themselves. For example, I read that you received a Commendation From The Office of The Mayor of San Jose for spearheading the first ever Teen
Thank you for sharing your valuable time and good luck with your television interviews.