Interview with internationally renowned food writer Monica Bhide about her debut novel

I’m quite happy to be
hosting well-known food writer Monica Bhide
today to chat with her about her debut novel, Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken.
Monica Bhide is an
internationally renowned writer known for sharing food, culture, love, and life
with a lyrical voice and universal appeal. She has built a diverse
and solid audience through the publication of three cookbooks,
her collection of short stories, her website,, and articles in top-tier
media, including Food & Wine, Bon
Appétit, Saveur, The Washington Post, Health, The New York
Times, Ladies Home Journal, AARP The Magazine
Parents, and
many others. In April. picked
her as one of the top ten food writers on Twitter. Monica frequently teaches at
the Smithsonian. Her seventh book, Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken,
released this year.
Welcome, Monica. Please tell us about your current
This is my debut novel!
Book seven but first novel. I am so excited about it as I have always wanted to
write a novel. I am a recovering engineer and I left a lucrative career to
follow this crazy idea of becoming a writer. Now, here I am, twelve years and
six books later with my dream: a story about the healing power of food.
What inspired you to write this book?
My friend Chef Jose Andres
has done more to end world hunger than anyone I know. I wanted to write a story
inspired by his hard work. This story follows a young boy as he tries to
manifest his desire to feed the hungry. But he has no means, no money, no
influence and is haunted by massive internal demons. The story follows his path
as he learns that in order to succeed, he first has to truly believe in his own
Excerpt from Karma
and the Art of Butter Chicken
The novel is filled with
poetry that the lead character writes. I would like to share one of those poems

Veer Singh’s Journal

Those smells
Of sizzled
Of roasted
Of charred
Of boiled
Of sweet
Of pungent
Those smells
Assault my
Seep into my
Bleed out as
my sweat
Those scents
I pretend to
respect them
I pretend to
adore them
I lie
Those scents
Make me weak
Drain my
Those scents
Make the bile
rise up
I try to stop
I beg it to
I pray it
It isn’t the
smells, he tells me
It is you
How does he
know, how does he see
I am a
prisoner of my own memories
What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on a magic
realism book set in Washington, D.C. It is a book about unrequited love and
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have always wanted to
write. However, I don’t know that I still consider myself a writer. I always
feel like I am still learning to become a writer! It is a strange imposter
syndrome that is hard to define!
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day
like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to
Indeed, I do write
full-time. I am up early, around five am, to meditate and journal before the
kids wake up. Once they are in school, around 8:00, I write for about two
hours. Then, I spend the next few hours on marketing, PR, invoicing, research
etc. The kids return at 2:30. Once they are home, they take over! It is all
about homework and soccer and dinner and catching up on the day. I used to
write at night but now the nights are reserved for reading. I read at least a
book a week if not more. 
I do like to write alone.
I don’t work so well in coffee shops as I tend to get distracted very easily. 
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
If I get stuck on a word,
then I know I have lost the writing day! I will obsess over some silly word
that doesn’t seem to fit into my sentence! I have learned that it is a way of
resisting the writing process but I do it anyway! I am getting better at it!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A storyteller
Anything additional you want to share with the
Eat more chocolate.
Thanks for being here today, Monica.

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