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Today I’m talking with Wendy Perrin, Consumer News Editor, travel writer, columnist (The Perrin Report), and blogger (The Perrin Post) for Conde Nast Traveler magazine. She is also the author of Smart Secrets Every Traveler Should Know (Fodor,, 1997), which, believe it or not, was turned into a Broadway review.
Hi Wendy and welcome to My Year of Getting Published. I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to stop and talk.
1. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get started in writing?
No, I did not always want to be a writer. When I was 8 I dreamed of being a champion figure skater. I guess my first experience in journalism was as editor of The Trinity Times (my school newspaper) as a high-school senior at Trinity School in NYC. I got started at Conde Nast Traveler Magazine as an editorial asst in 1989.
2. What do you consider your first big ‘break’ as a travel writer?
Perhaps the watershed event that means the most to me was in 1995, when I wrote a story about how to pick the perfect hotel room. The magazine liked it so much they made it the cover story. It was my first feature article (as opposed to Stop Press news story) and also my first cover story.
3. As a traveler and writer, what are the biggest challenges you face on the road?
Good question. My biggest challenge during trips is trying to relax and enjoy myself and maybe take just 5 minutes to lie on a beach or nurse an espresso. It rarely happens (much to my husband's chagrin), as I am busy virtually every minute taking notes, investigating, testing, calculating, interviewing fellow travelers, trying to eek as many stories as possible, and the best stories possible, out of my trip. Oh, and now I blog during trips too--another time suck.
4. What do you enjoy most and least about writing The Perrin Post blog ?
Another good question. What I enjoy most is being able to write without going through the magazine's frustratingly time-consuming production process, which means having to spend literally days of your time going back and forth with the Copy Department, the Research Department, the Art Department, the Photo Department, the Production Department, etc. The blog is so much quicker. Plus my advice can be so much timelier. And I love the IMMEDIATE reader feedback. And of course I can get many more points across, as there is unlimited space online.
What do I like least? Not having enough time for the blog because of my full-time magazine responsibilities.
(comment from Liz: If anyone thinks that blogging under the umbrella of a large publishing company makes things easier and simplier, check out Wendy’s post Blogging about Blogging about Blogging).
5. What advice can you give aspiring travel writers?
Advice: Be honest. Tell it exactly like it is. The best way to do that is to travel incognito and never accept anything free or discounted from any travel company. This is how to build up a following of readers who trust you.
6. Finally, what is your favorite place and why?
My favorite country is New Zealand because of its beauty (it's like taking the world's great landscapes--the Swiss Alps, the Cotswolds, French wine country, the lush jungles of Jamaica, California's coastline--and rolling them into one), its uncrowdedness (there are more sheep than people), its yummy food and fresh produce (even the potato chips are so flavorful that they make U.S. chips taste like cardboard), and its incredibly friendly people and sane lifestyle. Plus you gotta love that Zorb thing.
(comment from Liz: anyone unfamiliar with Zorbing, check this out)
Wendy, I really appreciate you stopping by and talking with me. Look forward to reading more of your writing at Conde Nast Traveler and The Perrin Post...
Previous interviews: David Whitley
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
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