Meet the Brooklyn Writer and Francophile Penning Edible Memoirs

***Rachel Khoo would like to thank all the inspiring people who helped make the Khoollect studio a hive of creativity. Although the Khoollect studio’s doors have now closed, you can keep up with Rachel’s newest adventures on and on Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook pages – and, continue to enjoy the Khoollect website’s stories and recipes, which will remain available.***

Brooklyn-based writer, blogger and creative director, Amy Thomas, has just emerged from a giddy few months revelling in the release of her second book, Brooklyn in Love: A Delicious Memoir of Food, Family and Finding Yourself. This edible adventure and account of Amy’s reacquaintance with hometown Brooklyn, and its many many delicious eateries, has received rave reviews and tickled food-fanatics and travel enthusiasts with its honest writing and damn good culinary recommendations.

Much like Khoollect’s Rachel Khoo, Amy has spent years to-ing and fro-ing between lives in Brooklyn and her second home Paris, navigating a very different kind of love for both cities, which she recalls in her first book Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate). We had a quick chat with his accomplished author, mother, Francophile and self-confessed ‘sweet freak’ about her recent writing accomplishments:

Where do you call home and what do you love about it? 

I’ve been in Brooklyn for the past four and a half years, and I’ve loved watching new businesses open and small transformations ripple across the borough.

Orange door. That is all. #brooklyn

A post shared by Amy Thomas (@godiloveparis) on

You’ve lived in both New York City and Paris – cities many people aspire to live in. What was it like living in each of these places? 

I think you make your way to cities that inspire you at the right time of your life. I moved to New York on the cusp of turning thirty, when my writing ambitions really ruled me. It was the perfect place to spend most of my thirties – lots of fun memories of hitting the town as well as building a community and my career. Paris was really a fantasy come true, an opportunity that happened after I had been living it up in New York for eight years. To move abroad to a city of amazing beauty and history, where I could absorb the new culture and just be, was a gift I’ll always treasure.

You’ve now written two books. How did the experience of writing your first book, Paris, My Sweet, compare to writing your latest release, Brooklyn In Love?

It was definitely tougher writing Brooklyn In Love for a couple of reasons. With Paris, My Sweet I was keeping a blog so I had so many memories and experiences already documented – that kept things fresher in my mind and made the actual process a lot easier. I was no longer keeping the blog by the time I wrote Brooklyn In Love, plus I had a new baby and husband. You could say my priorities had inevitably shifted so it was harder to make the time and find the energy to write. But, I did it and am so happy to have a book that focuses on that very special time of meeting my husband and having my daughter.

You’re extremely honest and open in both books. Where do you draw the line in what you share and don’t share?

For some reason, I find it hard not to share things. I’m not a blabber by nature, but if someone asks me something, I respond, even if it’s something I hadn’t planned to or wanted to say. It’s the same with writing a memoir. If you’re going to write it, you write it. You share the lows as well as the highs. (My mom let me know there were certain things in the book that she just had to skim over).

What inspires you to write?

Stories of entrepreneurs, indie movies, great books, really fresh and original restaurants, and nature.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? 

Absolutely. The good thing about getting older is knowing that even writer’s block passes. Sometimes it’s better not to force it. If you let go and give yourself time and space – go on those walks, watch movies, read, go new places –it’ll eventually come to you. I also find that traveling loosens my mind and sparks lots of ideas.

I khoollect a few…

French and Belgian chocolate and macaron boxes. They’re almost as delightful as the treats inside.

What’s your favourite item in your khoollection?

I bought myself a giant desk when I got my first book contract.

We’re itching to buy a plane ticket. Inspire us with your most incredible holiday memory?

When I was 34, I took a solo three-week trip to New Zealand, with a four-day layover in Sydney, Australia. New Zealand was everything I wanted – hiking, biking, wineries, mountains, unimaginable beauty. But Sydney sort of blew my mind. I loved the architecture, food and climate – I would go back in a second.

A life lesson you’d tell your younger self?

Use your voice. It’s a lesson I’m still trying to learn. In many ways I’m a modern, outspoken woman. But there are too many situations – mostly professional – in which I don’t share my opinion or ask for what I need because I don’t want to rock the boat or sound needy. How ridiculous is that?

Bright autumn days in #brooklyn. #iheartny

A post shared by Amy Thomas (@godiloveparis) on

Where do you find your motivation?

Walking around Manhattan or Brooklyn – or walking anywhere, really – always inspires me. I like the pace and being ground-level so I can observe people, window-shop, and see what’s happening in the community.

Favourite corner of the Internet?

I used to have a full circuit of blogs that I visited regularly. Unfortunately my web and magazine reading is way down – a side effect of having a three-and-a-half-year-old– but I’m really into a handful of podcasts right now, including How I Built This, Dear Sugars and Longform.

Can you imagine a world without the internet?

Yes, yes, I can! Wouldn’t it be great? We’d look at each other in the street again. Go to matinées and talk about them. Read the newspaper over morning coffee. Reconnect with nature. (I think you’ve convinced me to opt for a world without internet).

Follow Amy on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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