Today I’d like to welcome Amy Durham to my Garden. It’s been a little warmer in the Garden, however, I’d still make sure you have some warm clothes on. I’ve spaced a few heaters around. And as always we have something warm if need. There’s cocoa and coffee, and Kailua and peppermint schnapps to lace it with. Help yourself to the drinks and the pastries. Now settle in and let’s chat with Amy.
Mary: I met Amy in Orlando last year at the National RWA. We’ve kept in touch. As everyone knows though, this is a relaxing garden, not a writing one. So Amy, tell everyone where they can find you to find out all about your writing. Then well proceed to the fun stuff, wine, food and travel!
Amy: Hi Mary, and thanks for inviting me to The Garden! It was such fun meeting you and visiting with you at RWA in Orlando. I’m thrilled to be a guest here. I blog at www.amy-durham.blogspot.com. I do talk about my writing, but not exclusively. I try to focus a lot of my posts, whether they’re about writing, reading, family life, or my job as a teacher, on the transforming power of words and stories. But sometimes I post about general “life stuff” as well. I also “Tweet” at www.twitter.com/AmyinKY. Feel free to follow me at my blog and/or on Twitter!
Mary: Are you comfortable? Do you need a refill? Can you tell us a bit about where you grew up? What your favorite things to do where or are in your hometown.
Amy: I grew up in a small, central Kentucky town, home to the oldest courthouse west of the Alleghany Mountains. Our other claims to fame are William H. Herndon, Abraham Lincoln’s one-time law partner, and Mary Owens, Lincoln’s first fiancée. Though I now live in the next county, I teach school in the town where I grew up. Small towns aren’t terribly exciting, but there’s a quaintness that is lovely and comforting, and a sense of community that you don’t find in large cities. Growing up, I was a musician, so my activities centered around playing flute in the school band and going to every audition and competition I could (along with reading books)! I didn’t appreciate my hometown very much as a kid, but now I see that it was a great place to grow up.
Mary: I saw on your blog, you like to travel. Anyway you had some great pictures. When you want to get away, where do you go? And if you could afford to go anywhere in the world, where would that be?
Amy: Well, when I want to get away, the furthest I usually get is the nearest big city, which is about 90 miles away. Full-time jobs and three young boys keep my husband and me fairly close to home, but when we get the opportunity, we enjoy heading to the city for sushi, bookstores, and music stores! I’ve been to Charleston, South Carolina three times, and it is my favorite place I’ve ever been. It’s historical and beautiful and full of Lowcountry charm! If I could afford to go anywhere in the world it would be Ireland. Scotland follows at a very close second… or perhaps I’d combine them into one gigantic dream vacation! I can’t explain my desire to go to Ireland, but when I see pictures, hear Irish traditional music, or read books set on the Emerald Isle, I have an almost physical reaction. I like to think that maybe it’s because I have ancestors from Ireland. My dream vacation would be touring the country, stopping in the pubs and listening to the music and conversation, experiencing the beauty of the land, and basically just “soaking” in the culture.
Mary: Oh, you and me both, sometimes I think maybe I was Irish in another life. Now on to one of my favorite subjects, nope not writing, wine. What is your favorite beverage, and when do you discover it was your favorite?
Amy: Well Mary, unfortunately I’m not much of a wine drinker! Am I allowed to say that here? I hope I don’t get exiled from the garden! But as for my favorite drink… it may sound cliché, but sweet iced tea is a staple in our house, as it is in many southern households. I even like it with lemon and/or orange juice flavorings in it. These are sometimes called “Fling Tea” or “Summertime Tea”.
Mary: It’s okay not to be a wine drinker, lots of my readers, are not. I can’t understand it, but that’s okay. What is your favorite type of food? And why?
Amy: Ah, food! Do I have to pick just one favorite? I’m a major foodie. I love to cook, and I love to try new things. As I said earlier, I’m a big sushi fan. I wasn’t always. I used to think “Eew, gross”! But several years ago I worked up the courage to try it, and the rest is history. It’s usually always my first choice when I get the opportunity to eat a nice dinner out. Aside from sushi, I love Italian food… everything from pasta to dessert! And fresh seafood – shrimp, scallops, salmon, tuna! YUM!
Mary: LOL, I’m a food-a-holic too! If we were to visit you, what restaurant would you recommend? And do you have a favorite place to eat in a vacation spot?
Amy: If you visited me, I would recommend two places. One is called “Little Philly”, a whole in the wall type of place that serves Philly Cheesesteaks, Hoagies, and Grinders. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the sandwiches are great. I’ve never been to Philadelphia and eaten a Cheesesteak sandwich, but my dad has, and he says the sandwiches at “Little Philly” are the closest he’s ever had to the real thing in PA. The second place I’d recommend is Café Bonin – www.cafebonin.com . It’s a locally-owned café with lots of great sandwiches, terrific dinner specials, and to-die-for desserts. It has a real “coffee house” type feel and is a unique place in our town. As for a favorite place to eat in a vacation spot… hands down it’s Rosebank Farms Café (www.rosebankfarmscafe.com) , on Seabrook Island, South Carolina. Each time I’ve visited South Carolina we’ve eaten there multiple times. What’s unique is that much of their seafood and produce is local, and in fact, you can stop at Rosebank Farms and buy local seafood and produce and take it back to your condo and cook it yourself! The restaurant serves only 100% trans-fat-free foods, and it is the absolute best place I’ve ever eaten. It’s on the Bohicket Marina, so the view is breathtaking! Some of the highlights of the menu are Pan Seared Local Shrimp and Scallops and the Grilled Yellowfin Tuna. And I cannot forget the Triple Chocolate Oatmeal Brownie, which is THE BEST dessert I’ve ever had, anywhere!
Mary: Okay now I’m hungry! Anyone need a refill or some more pastries? Help yourselves. Amy, tell us about your bucket list, you’re so young, maybe you don’t have one. But if you do….
Amy: A “Bucket List”… well, I have a few things. First and foremost, I want to realize my dream of becoming a published author. I’m working toward it every day! I also want to visit Ireland and Scotland, and whole bunch of other places like Italy, Alaska, Machu Picchu, Prague, Paris… the list could go on and on and on. I think I’d like to see Antarctica too, though I probably wouldn’t want to stay very long. I don’t have a desire to sky dive or bungee jump, and I already have a tattoo, so most of my “Bucket List” activities have to do with writing and traveling. But I am looking forward seeing my boys grow up and becoming really cool adults! And I suppose at some point, I’ll look forward to grandchildren… but not quite yet!
Thank you, Amy for joining us here in the garden. Come back often and visit.