As The Plot Thins (ATPT): First off, thanks for taking the time to chat with us.
Amelia Morris (AM): Thank you for reading the book!
ATPT: When you got the idea to start the food blog, did you expect it to gain as much traction as it has?
AM: The short is answer is no. The longer answer is that I’d already had so many failed ventures by that point that I made a conscious effort not to have any expectations. I really just wanted to do something for fun and something that wasn’t going to make me feel any pressure.
ATPT: In your memoir, you talked about a novel you wrote. One that you have been editing for a while now. Can you tell us what it’s about or if we might ever be able to read it?
AM: This question warms my heart! It’s been a while since my last revision of the novel, which is titled, Will and Margot. And in some ways, I’m fine with it living on my computer’s desktop for the rest of its life and then in some ways, I still have hope that it might get published one day. At any rate, I’d love to tell you a little bit about it. Here’s a version of the synopsis I included in my original query to agents:
Will and Margot is a family saga hinging on siblings Will and Margot—chess grandmaster and sister of chess grandmaster respectively. While Margot grew up in the shadow of her older brother’s success, for the past two years during Will’s self-imposed exile following an embarrassing disqualification from the U.S. chess championships for suspiciously taking too many bathroom breaks, she has done well for herself. At just 25, she runs her own business and is newly married. Only, when Will returns home and her very religious family rejects her husband for what they claim are faith-based reasons, Margot turns to her estranged father, the world of chess, and many bad decisions.
ATPT: Another thing that’s mentioned in your book is your writing in general. You’ve written some non-fiction stuff (award winning essays!), but also presumably short fiction. Any hopes of a short story collection or maybe a book of essays someday?
AM: Have you been reading my diary? I would absolutely love to do either. I really miss writing fiction, especially short stories, and would love to get back into it. At the same time, having my first kid has already inspired a few personal essays and plenty of ideas for more.
ATPT: Can you speak a bit about the cooking culture in your family? You seemed to only discover your passion for cooking later in life, so I’m curious how cooking was approached for you growing up.
AM: Growing up, I can’t say I thought too much about cooking. My grandma, the real cook of the family, was a deeply practical person. And she certainly passed this trait on to my mother, who, as a pediatrician, never had much time to do more than simply get dinner on the table most days. In short, cooking wasn’t romanticized. It was just a part of life.
ATPT: You and Matt both struggled when you moved back to LA. But you also eventually both found work that you were comfortable in. What does life look for you now? Are you doing Bon Appetempt and writing full time or are you still moonlighting as a pottery packer?
AM: Hahaaha. I quit my job as a pottery packer (and seller) when I was about 6 months pregnant. I continue to teach writing through Writing Workshops Los Angeles. And now that my baby just started daycare, I’m actively looking for more work. (Are you guys hiring?)
ATPT: Just out of curiosity, what was your decision to go vegetarian? Was it based off of your attempt to lose weight or was there any additional ethical motivations to it?
AM: At first, the decision was more about a way to eat “healthier.” I thought by cutting out a major food group, I would naturally eat fewer calories. Senior year of college, however, I convinced myself it was more of an ethical decision—I have an embarrassing memory of speaking passionately though not intelligently about how being a vegetarian was good for the environment. (This American Life did a segment on this kind of impassioned but not-well-researched speak; they call it being a modern jackass, which I think is hilarious.)
ATPT: We’re a month into 2015, are there any books you’re looking forward to reading?
AM: Yes! I really want to read Miranda July’s new book and this collection of short stories by Karen Bender called Refund.
ATPT: In your memoir, you mention watching Julia Child and Jacques Pepin’s cooking show. Are there any other forms of food entertainment like blogs, shows or cookbooks that you fancy enough to follow?
AM: Well, I love seeing what my fellow food bloggers are cooking. I always check in on Lottie and Doof and The Wednesday Chef. And as for TV, I love Top Chef and never get sick of Ina Garten.
ATPT: Any words for your long time fans of your blog or anticipated readers of your memoir?
AM: Just: thank you! I cannot say those two words enough.
Bon Appetempt: A Coming-of-Age Story was released last week. You can purchase it here.