Jake Zucker was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and raised and educated in Upstate New York. His work has appeared in ESPN the Magazine, Fast Company, and Iron Horse Literary Review; and he was a finalist in the Boulevard Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers. He lives in Lafayette, Indiana, teaches undergraduate writing courses, and recently graduated from the MFA program at Purdue University, where he received Kneale, Knoll, and Dean’s Awards for his fiction and Quintilian Awards for his pedagogy. He is at work on a novel about cross country running and white-collar crime.
Did the retreat meet your expectations?
It far exceeded them!
What was the most unexpected part of your stay?
I discovered that I enjoy writing with a glass of wine! This might be a bad habit, long-term, but in moderation it worked wonders.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of your retreat?
The weather, the wine, the sheep dogs, and the flora. I can’t pick just one aspect.
Did the vineyard setting inspire you and/or your writing? In what ways?
Because living on a vineyard is so different from my ordinary circumstances, I found myself focusing on atypical sights, smells, and sounds—and considering these spatial qualities in my writing.
What did you work on during the retreat?
I continued revisions on my current manuscript and heavily plotted my novel-to-come.
No one can write 24 hours a day! What other activities did you do during the retreat—any napping, hiking, or exploring the local area?
If there’s a more inspiring coastline in America than Bodega Bay’s, I’ve never seen it.
Did you participate in any activities or events arranged by the host winery?
The Kellers—an incredibly generous group of people!—gave us a thorough tour of the winery from top to bottom. They don’t just know how to make wine; they also know how to explain the processes to a novice like me.
Do you have any advice or tips for future applicants that wish to apply and work together?
Choose a writing partner who’s generous with their feedback and splits a wine bottle fairly.
Can you sum up your experience in ten words or less?
Do I have to leave?