Eating Authors: Kary English

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Kary English

And so it begins. For the fifth year in a row, it is my great pleasure to use EATING AUTHORS as a platform to draw attention to those authors who have been nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer!

The nominees this year are Wesley Chu, Jason Cordova, Kary English, Rolf Nelson, and Eric S. Raymond. Wes is nominated for the second time, and his most memorable meal has already graced this blog, but I’ve invited the other four to drop in, beginning today with Kary English.

Kary is probably best known for her short stories, which you’ve doubtless encountered in Writers of the Future anthologies, as well as Mike Resnick‘s Galaxy’s Edge Magazine. But like so many of us, she’s being lured to greater word counts, and there’s a novel-length manuscript with her name on it in the hands of a publisher right this very minute, and the first book in a ghost-written series coming out in 2016.

LMS: Welcome, Kary, and congratulations on your nomination. So, what’s your most memorable meal?

KE: My most memorable meal has more to do with the company than the meal, though the food was wonderful, too.

My favorite get-away is to spend a few days on a Holland America cruise ship. It sounds luxurious, and it is, but a savvy traveler can often score a week-long cruise, meals included, for around half the cost of a nice hotel. A cruise, for me, functions as a writing retreat, a sanity break, and as a girls’ vacation with my best friend, M.

Writers of the Future, Volume 31

I lured M onto her first cruise more than a decade ago, and since then, we’ve plied the waters up and down the West Coast, visiting Mexico, Catalina, San Francisco, Victoria, Vancouver, and Alaska. Our favorite cruise tradition is to have dinner at the Pinnacle Grill, the specialty restaurant on board. It’s a European experience where we enjoy several courses, then linger over dessert and after-dinner coffee. (Well, coffee for me, anyway. M prefers hot tea.)

Our last cruise was two summers ago, a week-long trip through the Inside Passage to Alaska. We panned for gold, then donned hard hats to tour an active mine. Though it was July, the weather was cold, wet and foggy. We returned to the ship with just enough time to change for dinner. Twilight lasted for hours, and we enjoyed Thai lemongrass soup, filet mignon and lobster macaroni and cheese. Our table was directly across from a picture window, so we had a perfect view of gray whales breaching between the ship and shore.

The Best of Galaxy's Edge 2013-2014

The highlight of the meal is the Pinnacle’s decadent chocolate volcano cake. It’s a deep, dark chocolate souffle, served hot and liquid in the center with heavy whipped cream melting into gooey goodness. Chocolate is a serious thing for us, and every time I eat it, I think of the hot fudge sundae scene between Deanna Troi and Commander Riker.

There’s something about being on a ship that’s incredibly relaxing. No email, no cell phone, no television. The cares of the everyday world fade away, and M and I can enjoy our time together with our attention undivided. We laugh, we tell stories, we talk about everything from our cats, to our fears, to our plans for the future. So in a very real sense, it doesn’t matter whether I have the filet or the salmon, or whether the souffle is taking longer than usual to come out. What matters is that M is there, and I’m there, and we’re enjoying a favorite meal together.

Thanks, Kary. There’s just something so perfect about enjoying a chocolate volcano while cruising Alaska. But… I’m still trying to parse the part about managing to get any writing done.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!


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