How to poison an intern

I've just spent a delightful week in New York, where amongst other things I met all the fine people at FinePrint Literary Agency. The lady in the middle of the picture is Joanna Volpe, who was Janet's godsend when I submitted my first book and is now a successful agent in her own right with Nancy Coffey. The others are the interns at FinePrint. Missing is Intern Mitch. (Mitch, if you send me a photo I'll put it up.)

I think it'd be fun if the interns said hello and told us something about themselves in comments. I'll edit their words into the main text.

The people in this picture are among the few who have read both my first two books, so they're miles ahead of the rest of you. I spent an amazing afternoon with the interns asking them to tell me what they liked and disliked in the books, which let me tell you was eye opening. Mostly it caused me to say things such as, "OMG I never noticed that!" with the occasional, "What do you mean you don't remember the rat joke?"

The little yellow jars on the table are Vegemite, the closest thing Australia has to a national food. In a fit of more-ethnic-than-thou, I brought five jars, which the interns tucked into eagerly.

And quickly rejected.

They now know what I meant when I said you have to spread it thinly. Vegemite is strong and salty, but full of vitamin B. Not that I'm offended, I had a feeling this would happen. I once fed some Vegemite to a Canadian who clutched his throat and choked, "You feed this to children?"

And now a word from Deirdre:
This is Intern Deirdre (far right). We all agreed it was a lot of fun discussing your manuscripts with you, so I'm glad it was helpful for you.

A little bit about me... I recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English Language and Literature, and I'm trying to break into the world of book publishing via my fantastic internship with FinePrint Literary Management and Nancy Coffey Literary and Media Representation. These people are wonderful and know EVERYTHING there is to know about books and publishing.

Thank you again for the Vegemite (even if I did give mine away to Jo)!
From Intern Cassandra. I swear this was not a paid advertisement...
We had a great time meeting you - it was so much fun meeting an author and getting to talk to you before the rest of the world sees your amazing books and propels you to J.K. Rowling fame!

I'm a huge fan of your books - I don't think they're quite like anything out there right now. I mean, Mary Renault is all well and good, but I like a little humor and mystery with my history. I urge all you readers to run out and buy the book the second it comes out - it's impeccably researched and a total page-turner.

The only Vegemite-taker amongst the lot of them was Jo, shown here eating the traditional Vegemite sandwich as per the Men At Work song of years ago.


I suggested by the way FinePrint should post pictures of their offices so people can see what a literary agency looks like, and both Peter Rubie and Janet recoiled in horror.

33 comments:

Lost Wanderer said...

vegemite looks like Australia's answer to mermite.

MattDel said...

I admit to having been curious about vegemite ever since I heard of the substance years ago.

Sounds like you had a blast meeting all the fine folks at Fine Print.

Dee said...

Hi again, Gary.

This is intern Deirdre (far right). We all agreed it was a lot of fun discussing your manuscripts with you, so I'm glad it was helpful for you.

A little bit about me... I recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English Language and Literature, and I'm trying to break into the world of book publishing via my fantastic internship with FinePrint Literary Management and Nancy Coffey Literary and Media Representation. These people are wonderful and know EVERYTHING there is to know about books and publishing.

Thank you again for the Vegemite (even if I did give mine away to Jo)!

Gary Corby said...

Hi Lost & Matt,

Yes, Vegemite is much like Marmite, though possibly a bit stronger in flavour.

If you want to try it Matt, and you're ever in NY, FinePrint might have a few spare jars...looks like my career as a food writer will be brief and inglorious.

Gary Corby said...

Thanks so much Dee! Your words are now in the main body.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I have to admit I'm not a big fan of Vegemite. I'm usually adventurous when it comes to food, but I just can't bring myself to like the stuff.

Gary Corby said...

Hi Stephanie, it's definitely an acquired taste. If I hadn't grown up with it I probably wouldn't like it either!

Cassandra said...

Hi Gary, it's Intern Cassie! We had a great time meeting you - it was so much fun meeting an author and getting to talk to you before the rest of the world sees your amazing books and propels you to J.K. Rowling fame!

I'm a huge fan of your books - I don't think they're quite like anything out there right now. I mean, Mary Renault is all well and good, but I like a little humor and mystery with my history. I urge all you readers to run out and buy the book the second it comes out - it's impeccably researched and a total page-turner.

Thanks for the vegemite and best of luck to you, Gary!

RWMG said...

Gary, I think someone just said you're better than Mary Renault. That should in be in big letters as a front cover endorsement (if it's true).

Gary Corby said...

Hi Robert!

Cassie has a bright future ahead of her in book publicity.

I'll cop to being funnier than Mary Renault, and I do provide considerably more murders to solve, but somehow I'm not expecting to make the literary course lists that Ms Renault easily inhabits.

Joanna said...

I <3 Vegemite!

Although my husband barely gagged down one bite...

So great to have you in the office, Gary! HUGE hit, as I knew you'd be...

Gary Corby said...

You may qualify for an Australian passport Jo.

I'm so glad to've met everyone. Now the problem is I'm going to miss you all for a whole year.

suzie said...

Awesome picture! It was great to have you in the office Gary! I hope you had a great trip :) And thanks for the vegemite, even if I wasn't a fan of it.

Gary Corby said...

A pleasure to meet you at last Suzie, and thanks for all your help!

Janet Reid said...

Please don't kill the interns. I NEED them!!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I was an exchange student in Adelaide twenty years ago and learned to make sure my Vegemite sandwiches had butter.

Never fell for the Marmite.

Kosmos said...

Maybe Vegemite should *be* the citizenship test :) Eat one sandwich with no complaints and you're in ;)

Bookfool said...

One experience with vegemite is all it takes. You're either in or you're out. I'm out. Nasty stuff.

Briony said...

I have to admit, feeding vegemite to my international friends is one of my favourite things to do!! They usually forgive me when I introduce them to timtams though.

Vacuum Queen said...

No pictures of Janet? I don't think I've even seen what she looks like. Maybe you could add one...

SundaySoup said...

Our neighbours just went back to England for the winter and gave us their "staples" from their pantry. Flour, rice, etc. They included a jar of vegemite. I intend to give it back to them in the spring when they come back. It will all still be there. Blech. Well, honestly, I've only tasted Marmite back in my meat eating days. I'm now a vegetarian, but I still don't intend to crack the lid on vegemite.

-Another Canadian

Gary Corby said...

The interns were all still alive when I left, Janet. If any have expired since it's probably due to overwork.

Pen said...

Lost Wanderer: I think you mean Marmite, the New Zealand yeast extract spread very similar to Vegemite only nicer in my humble opinion. Great on toast with lots of melted butter and a VERY thin spread of Marmite. YUM!

Maybe it is a South of the Equator thing.

Chantal said...

I've had vegemite - ewww. But nice try with the interns. I think if we didn't grow-up with vegemite, we're not gonna like it. LOL! But, if you come to Texas, I'll make you some down-home food that I'm sure you'll have the same reaction to! :)

Liz Kreger said...

I tried Vegemite ... once ... over 20 years ago while living in Australia. Still remember the experience. I was one of those yanks you slathered it on and took a big bite.

My mates thought it was hilarious. Took a long time to recover. LOL

CS said...

I just found your blog via Janet Reid's - great post.

I too recently posted a picture of the little yellow jar, mine amongst Parisian food items instead of New York interns (http://mysydneyparislife.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/spot-the-odd-one-out/)

Cheers and I look forward to exploring your blog.

Carolyn

Gary Corby said...

Hey Liz, if you can write with ease a sentence starting, "My mates..." then you're halfway Australian anyway.

Gary Corby said...

Hi Chantal, as it happens I have a few Texan friends and I very much want to visit them next time I'm in the US. So I might take you up on the down home-cooking. You might be surprised at some of the things I have swallowed. (In fact, that might make a good blog post...)

Gary Corby said...

You're right Briony, Tim Tams compensate for almost anything.

Gary Corby said...

Caroline has the right idea: lots of bread & butter with the Vegemite makes it better.

Unless you're my Dad. He used to eat Vegemite out of the jar with a spoon.

Gary Corby said...

Hi Carolyn (CS) and welcome to the blog.

Now you are an interesting example! An American who lives (partially) in Australia and came to like Vegemite. So it seems there's hope for the Americans after all!

Judith Engracia said...

Aha! Janet warned me about this. Now I'll never be fooled!

P.S. Visit again!

Gary Corby said...

As it happens, my book tour plan for end of October 2010 includes New York. I hope to meet you then, Judith!