An Early Morning Coffee Chat With Alison Krupnick
Interview by BJ Neblett
How do you interview a master interviewer? That was the daunting task I faced on a recent early October morning. If experience is any gauge of ability then Alison Krupnick has certainly achieved the title of Master Interrogator. I met Alison at one of Seattle’s more charming neighborhood coffee spots, and soon began to wonder who the interviewer was and whom the interviewee.
I found Alison to be a totally charming and ageless beauty who is as interesting as she is outspoken. I attributed this to her East Coast upbringing. “I’m a Jersey Girl through and through,” she proudly announced, anticipating my first question. Although it’s been a while since she called Lakewood, a small community near the Jersey Shore, home Alison’s well planted roots are evident.
But unbridled wanderlust found Alison studying languages and international relations in France and later college on the Monterey Peninsula. A move to Washington DC and she landed her dream job as a diplomat with the State Department. For the next ten years Alison represented the US in exotic locales such as India, Thailand and Vietnam, where she helped many displaced or orphaned by the war find their way to America. It was also while serving in Vietnam that Alison met Jeff, her husband of now sixteen years. Jeff and Alison have two daughters, and although settled in Seattle, the old wanderlust has yet to be sated. “I just love to travel, and there are still so many places I want to visit and things I want to discover.” The faraway twinkle in her expressive eyes punctuates the point.
The frothy mocha I ordered has turned cold as I find myself completely captivated. Conversation with Alison is so easy and natural that I have to keep reminding myself of my purpose and the notes hastily scribbled on a legal tablet. “Ok, so, why writing?” I ask.
“The first thing I ever wrote was an essay about 9/11. Putting my thoughts and feelings on paper seemed to help make some sense of things.” Here Alison shows what I assume is a somewhat rare serious side. “I began writing stories for my kids, and then about friends and people I met or saw on the streets.” An article about her exploits in Vietnam was published in the Harvard Review. Another, about a terminally ill friend, found national publication. She went on to publish a number of essays in literary journals and anthologies.
Alison now writes full-time, for work as well as pleasure. She works as a corporate communication writer, writing a quarterly maritime magazine, and freelances for Seattle Magazine. This very busy lady also manages to find time to write for Crosscut, an on-line publication, as well as maintain her own blog, Slice of Mid Life. Somewhere along the way she managed to write her first book. Ruminations From The Minivan: Musings From A World Grown Large, Than Small to be available in book and Kindle formats and hopefully will also be on the shelves of your favorite bookstore by the end of the year.
“Ruminations is very aptly titled, I literally wrote it while driving my kids to and from school and soccer and everything else a good suburban mom does. It’s a memoir, a collection of the essays I started in 2001.”
Aside from observing everyday things around her, Alison finds inspiration in the power of the written word. When not writing or working or driving or being a full-time mom, Alison enjoys international cooking, travel, reading, and founded a mother-daughter book group, now in its seventh year. “It’s encouraging to see young people interested in talking about books,” she says.
As for the future, Alison has the herculean task of promoting a self-published book. “After my manuscript won an award at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference, I was contacted by a few agents, but I was just uncomfortable with the process, so I set the book aside for several years. Now was the time for the book to be published. It won’t be easy, but…” Ms. Krupnick’s Jersey fortitude and stubbornness are obvious when she talks about getting Ruminations published and into the hands of readers. “I also plan to continue my blog and eventually it might meld into my next book.”
If Ruminations is half as interesting and entertaining as morning coffee with Alison, than she has a best seller on her hands.