Eating Authors: Brooke Johnson

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Brooke Johnson

At this summer’s 74th annual World Science Fiction Convention (aka MidAmeriCon II), I kicked off my schedule with a panel early on the afternoon of the first day. It’s a timeslot that doesn’t come with high expectations. A lot of people haven’t arrived yet, and most of those who have are still checking into their hotels or waiting in line to pick up their badges or register. So imagine my surprise when that first panel was packed, literally standing room only.

There were only three of us on the panel. The big draw of course was our moderator, Melinda Snodgrass. The third member of our panel was this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, Brooke Johnson. After hearing her speak, I knew I had to have her come by and talk about her most memorable meal.

The Brass Giant, the first novel in her Chroniker City series, came out last year, and was quickly followed by a novella. The next work and second novel in the series, The Guild Conspiracy, came out in ebook last month, and in a mass market paperback edition last week. It’s clockwork engineers and airships and the threat of war. What more do you need?

LMS: Welcome, Brooke. Tell me about the best meal you remember

BJ: Best meal I ever had…

I was in college, my second year. I’d gone on a diet that summer, one of those prepackaged, mailed-to-you-every-month subscription diets in which everything tastes like flavored cardboard, and I was dutifully eating 1200 calories of that stuff a day, mostly stale-tasting diet cheetos and bland chicken noodle soup with just enough pepper in it to make it edible. I had just moved in with my boyfriend and his roommates and it was pasta night. My boyfriend, being the resident chef, cooked up some rigatoni with Italian sausage, bell pepper, onion, and tomato.

The Brass Giant

The whole apartment smelled like spicy sausage and onions, and here I was with an unopened microwavable tray of chicken noodle soup in front of me, taunting me, judging me. Everyone started filling their bowls with pasta, a single bowl probably my entire calorie allotment for the day, especially if you added cheese. I’d never smelled anything so good in my entire life. My mouth watered. My stomach grumbled at the thought of eating soup for dinner yet again. I could have a cheat day, I told myself. I’d go back to eating my diet food tomorrow. So, I quietly, surreptitiously put the microwavable tray back into the drawer where I kept my diet meals and made up a bowl of pasta for myself. It was the most delicious thing I’d ever tasted. Piping hot and spicy and oh so filling. I finished the bowl and went back for a second. I never touched that drawer of diet food again, utterly spoiled on that one, tasty meal.

And then, later, I married the man who cooked it for me.

Thanks, Brooke. So, if the soup led to you marrying him, it begs the question, what became of the other roommates?

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

#SFWApro

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