Amy and Karma Brown are co-teaching the Part I intensive session Women’s Fiction, Deconstructed at the 2016 Midwest Writers Workshop.
MWW: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake was your first book, were there some unexpected challenges you had to face during the publishing process?
AER: CAKE was my first novel, so I was teaching myself how to do that. It was definitely a case of a didn’t know what I didn’t know. As a result, I started querying agents way before the manuscript was truly ready. I racked up a lot of rejections, but I made a lot of friends and learned so much about the industry. Plus, that thick skin helps because rejection is a permanent part of a creative lifestyle.
MWW: Why did you set this book in your home town?
AER: I love Milwaukee and I wanted to share that love with the world. We have so many exciting restaurants, festivals, and sporting events. The people are kind, the weather is varied, and the deep-fried cheese curds are the best.
MWW: Is there any restaurant in the book that you based off a restaurant you actually been to?
AER: There are a few restaurants that are real, like Northpoint Custard, but Luella’s, A Simple Twist, and The Good Land are all figments of my imagination. Luella’s isn’t, but I envision the other two being very similar to some of my favorite farm to table restaurants in Milwaukee like La Merenda, Wolf Peach, and Braise. I love restaurants that rotate their menus based on available ingredients.
MWW: In both of your books, your main focus are on relationships. Are some of these relationships based off of experiences in your own life?
AER: Not really, but a little bit yes. Everything is fictional, but I have plenty of close friends and a husband, so I was able to use that as a starting point for some of my characters’ relationships.
MWW: Describe for me your perfect meal and who would you like to share it with?
AER: Both my grandmothers are deceased, but they were both amazing cooks. The perfect meal would be one prepared by both of them and would be with all my grandparents, my husband’s grandparents, his dad, and all our living family. It’s probably not fair to bring back my grandmas from the dead to cook for so many people, but I’d love to learn a few of their tricks. It would be an epic feast!