An Alternative Author Interview:
TCL’s Countdown Questions.
This week I’m featuring author
I’m not sure when my love for culinary fiction began. Maybe it was one of Joanne Harris’s books that got me hooked. I’ve read quite a few, actually. My love of Rome came from reading Colleen McCullough‘s “Masters of Rome” books (which I haven’t reviewed here, unfortunately). So when I first heard about Crystal King’s debut novel, which was historical fiction set in Ancient Rome, and it was culinary as well, of course I had to read it. That she followed with another one, was just the thing to make me a fan. So, I asked her to answer my questions, and here they are…
- If you could visit five (5) places you’ve never been, where would you go and why?
Sicily – I have seen a little of Siracusa before I embarked on a ship where I was giving lectures and now, I’m smitten. It was such a beautiful place and I feel like that day was just a tease to what the rest of Sicilia must be like.
London – I’ve always wanted to go there–since I was a little girl–and it’s strange I’ve not yet been. One of my dearest friends just moved there and now I really have to go!
Greece – This is another place I’ve wanted to go since I was very young (and in love with the Greek myths). I would love to explore the ancient ruins and get to know the people (and have the food!).
France – I minored in French but have never been (and have forgotten most of the language). I’d love to see Paris and visit some of the wine regions.
Australia – My parents lived on Bondi Beach for a year or two but moved back when my mom got pregnant with me (thanks to them for thwarting my dual citizenship!!). I’d love to visit the place that was nearly partly my home country.
- Name four (4) foods or dishes that you enjoy so much that they’ve practically become part of your personality.
This is hard!! There are so many, but if I have to fall back on four…
Peanut butter. I’ve eaten more peanut butter than any other food in my life, definitely. Since I was very young, and still several times a week. I love it with chocolate, in ice cream or just a good peanut butter and honey sandwich.
Ice cream/gelato. It’s my desert island/last meal food too. I am the biggest freak for ice cream. My husband never really wants much and just wants to share some of mine but finally, after nearly 20 years, he’s realized that is the one food I’m just not keen on sharing!
Corn. Definitely my favorite veggie and when it’s the height of summer here in the states, having fresh corn on the cob is one of the biggest treats. Especially with lime-zested butter.
Cheese. This was a toss-up with wine and usually they are paired together. Cheese, bread, some grapes and wine is my favorite, preferably while sitting on a piazza in Rome, but it’s also a go-to lazy dinner, especially in the summer. I prefer a good gorgonzola dolce, but there are so many cheeses I love.
- There is the past, the present, and the future – if you could choose, which of these three (3) would you prefer to live in, and why?
Wow, this is a difficult choice! I love the idea of living in the past, but I think the lack of sanitation, advanced medicine and the rampant misogyny deters me from that choice. The present is a bit of a mess right now, IMHO, so I guess I’ll go with the future, hoping that we are kinder, healthier, and happier there. Plus, I’m a total early adopter of technology and I would love to see where this world is headed in that regard!
- Best and worst – you choose which – name two (2) of either your best moments of your life, worst moments of your life, or one of each.
The day I met my husband is the first one. We met at the Fogg Museum in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA. There was an exhibit of the terracotta models that Bernini made when planning the angels that would go on the Ponte Vecchio. I remember walking through it with him–we were the only ones in the room–and I desperately wanted him to kiss me. I knew beyond anything that he was something special. He didn’t kiss me then, but he did a few hours later. That was nearly twenty years ago! We went to Italy for the first time around our tenth anniversary and when I saw the real angels in person it was an emotional moment, realizing the trajectory of our lives.
And the second-best moment was the day my agent called to tell me that she had sold FEAST OF SORROW. I was super sick, and it was a day or two before Thanksgiving in 2016. I was so full of snot and coughing like a freak and when she told me the news, I couldn’t stop crying, I was so overwhelmed. I was also thankful I was alone because I know I looked beyond a fright!
- Name one (1) book you’ve read in the past year (or so) that you wish you had written, and why.
I don’t know if there are any books I wished I had written besides my own, because the stories aren’t mine to tell. But there are authors that I wish I wrote as beautifully as they do/did. I’m currently working my way through Italo Calvino’s books. I love his writing so much. And I wish I had a thimbleful of Madeleine Miller’s talent. I’d be happy with that. 🙂
Thanks Crystal! (I do hope you get to Australia some day. I was lucky enough to get a free trip there and visited Sydney and Melbourne, but we didn’t get to Bondi Beach!)
Crystal King is the author of The Chef’s Secret and Feast of Sorrow, which was long-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. She is an author, culinary enthusiast, and marketing expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language, and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University, as well as at GrubStreet, one of the leading creative writing centers in the US. A Pushcart Prize–nominated poet and former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in critical and creative thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in medias res. She resides in Boston. You can find her at crystalking.com.