36 Finalists Blog: Abby Jimenez

Abby Jimenez, author of Life’s Too Short

Genre Fiction Category, sponsored by Macalester College

Each week leading up to the 34th annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony, we are featuring exclusive interviews with our 36 finalists. You can also watch the authors in conversation with their fellow category finalists here.

Would you tell us one or two things about your finalist book that you are particularly proud of, and why?

Life’s Too Short was my first New York Times best seller. I’ve had a lot of omg moments since I started my writing journey, but that was a big one that I’ll always cherish. It’s so humbling to know that so many people have read and enjoyed something I’ve written. 

What do you hope that your audience learns or takes away from your book?

I love that readers of Life’s Too Short take away a better awareness of ALS, a largely underfunded and not talked about disease. Awareness is so important in the pursuit of a cure. But I also love that readers find inspiration from Vanessa’s way of living. Vanessa is a live for the day, find joy in every moment kind of person—because she knows her life may be shorter than most. 

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer with an interest in your category? 

Read the genre you want to write. Know what’s out there and see how other writers are doing it. 

Tell us something about yourself that is not widely known.

I’m fluent in Pig Latin! 

Minnesota enjoys a reputation as a place that values literature and reading. If this sentiment rings true for you, what about our home state makes it such a welcoming and conducive place for writers? 

I have more readers here in Minnesota than in any other state. I think we really embrace the seasons here in Minnesota and we appreciate reading by the lake in the spring and summer and curling up with a book by the fire in the fall and winter. Our weather definitely sets a mood. 

Since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, virtually everything about our lives has changed in some way. Has COVID-19 (and its fallout) impacted your writing habits and preferences? Has the unique zeitgeist of the past two years influenced your writing output in any other ways that you can pinpoint? 

I found a lot of solace in writing during the darkest days of the pandemic. Just like reading is a way for many to escape, writing is a way to put myself in a different world too. It was a welcome distraction for me for sure. 

Abby Jimenez is a Food Network winner and New York Times bestselling author of The Friend Zone and The Happy Ever After Playlist. She founded Nadia Cakes out of her home kitchen in 2007, and the bakery has gone on to win numbers Food Network competitions.