Jeryl Brunner knows her way around the glitz and glamour of celebrity culture. A respected journalist, she has interviewed hundreds of famous personalities including Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Chris Noth. Her work has appeared in O Magazine, InStyle, Us Weekly, Delta Sky and more.
Her charm and professionalism has given her unprecedented access, which she has put to good use in her first book, My City, My New York: Famous New Yorkers Share Their Favorite Places (Globe Pequot Press). She asked nearly 300 New Yorkers including Tina Fey, Mario Batali, Donald Trump, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bette Midler, Gay Talese, Sarah Jessica Parker and Woody Allen to share what they love about The Big Apple.
When not on assignment in exotic locales, Ms. Brunner lives in New York City, loves her walks in Central Park and has an “embarrassing” amount of show tunes loaded onto her iPod.
10 Minutes with Jeryl Brunner
Karen Jones: What was your inspiration for writing My City, My New York?
Jeryl Brunner: The reasons are twofold. I am passionate about New York City. I dreamed of living here since I was a kid and wanted to become an actress. It offered a myriad of endless magical experiences (theater, museums, restaurants, you name it) and I wanted to swallow them all! So I wanted to share my passion for New York City – but as seen through the eyes of others.
Also, whenever I’m in a new locale, I love to ask people who live there, what would be their idea of a perfect day? And the answers are not only informative; they also speak volumes about the person sharing the information. It’s really telling. You learn so much!
KJ: As a first-time book author, how difficult was the process for you?
JB: I mostly write for magazines and websites and that means typically working on a story for a couple of days, maybe a few weeks. I wasn’t used to working on one project for so long – living with it, nurturing it, tweaking it for months and months. Of course, sometimes it drove me insane, but mostly, I loved the process. At the end of the day, it was all mine. I couldn’t hide behind a magazine or website.
KJ: What were some of your favorite quotes from the book?
JB: It’s so hard to choose but there were some fun surprises. Who knew that Mayor Bloomberg’s favorite restaurant is the Viand Diner–and his favorite dish is fried chicken? Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis love to belt out TV theme songs at Sing Sing Karaoke, while Kelly Ripa likes to whirl around the Superman Kite Flyer ride in Central Park. One of Chris Noth’s favorite restaurants is an old school Italian place in the theater district called Da Marino where the owner might cook up something special or pick up his guitar and serenade you!
KJ: What is your advice for aspiring writers?
JB: It sounds so clichéd, but don’t give up! My City, My New York was rejected by many, but I didn’t let that stop me. I also believe that it’s important to write about things you love. Go for the project that will inspire you and make you excited to get up in the morning to fire up your computer to get started.
For more information visit Jeryl Brunner.,com and you can follow her on twitter @Jeryl Brunner.
My City, My New York: Famous New Yorkers Share Their Favorite Places by Jeryl Brunner. Globe Pequot Press $12.95. Buy the book on Amazon