LSQ: Wow, “A Recipe for Trouble” pulled me in from the first page and held on tight! The very first description of magic, and how it might as well just be teenage rebellion but be just as good, is fantastic. How did you come up with Leah as a character, and did her relationship with her mother evolve as you plotted and wrote?
Aimee: Leah is a very autobiographical character in many ways, and the idea for the story started with a very familiar concept for me growing up, namely the idealized version of “normal” as the most important thing you could strive for – and from there, the ways you could deviate from that false “normal” without notice. What’s more “normal” to people with Leave-it-to-Beaver-style expectations than a young woman learning her way around the kitchen?
LSQ: Oh, I wish the peach pie open mind spell had come to fruition—so to speak—for Leah. On the other hand, perhaps it did in a way, as a means of opening her mind more to possibilities for getting what she wants in the future. Which way did you intend it?
Aimee: Now that you say it, I really like that interpretation! My intention was for the peach recipe to be a failure and for Leah to draw on her experiences in making all the other recipes that she’s tried so far to put together her solution. But I think the text supports both versions equally well!
LSQ: Are any of these recipes actual favorites of yours? Which accompanying spell is one you could see yourself using?
Aimee: Most of the recipes are mashed together hodge-podge from the variety of cookbooks on my shelf, except for the Party Punch, which is a staple at summer gatherings at our house. I do have a more basic brownie recipe that I make periodically, too, that doesn’t have any spellcraft-related marginalia but which still seem to put me in a reliably good mood, so if I needed a spell from this list, I’d probably be the silence soufflé, for getting work done on days when the dog is barking, the dishwasher is running, and the neighbors are sawing something in their garage …