Meet the Authors

Meet the Authors: Amy Halloran

Eliza Tudor
Eliza Tudor
August 16, 2023
10 min read
Meet the Authors: Amy Halloran
Welcome back to our special Q&A series with Old Iron Press authors.
We are thrilled to present Playing Authors contributor, Amy Halloran.
Amy Halloran, Playing Authors contributor
Amy Halloran is the author of The New Bread Basket, a book about the revival of regional grain production. She is working on a lyrical history of Troy, New York and bread in America.

Welcome, Amy!


At OIP, we love the fact that everyone has their own set of “classics” (i.e., books, songs, recipes, comics, food, objects, movies, shows, etc. that shaped you). What were some of your favorite childhood classics?


I loved Little House on the Prairie, both the book and the series. I wanted to be on Zoom, the PBS tv show, not the Hollywood Squares on our home computers we have now. I read biographies of inventors and the hefty -- historically speaking, not physically -- fellows who invented America.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Garth Williams

What inspired your piece for Playing Authors?


When I read the call for Playing Authors I had a distinct memory of sitting at the oval oak table in our dining room, under its opaque white dome of a chandelier, with my family. My dad was an English teacher and I remember wanting to be one of those authors on the cards! My idea for a submission came from the material I've been wrestling with for a couple of years, considering who we want to be and how writing puts flesh on the bones of our imagination; all this stuff is leading to a memoir about my dad, and a biography of American bread.


Favorite word / font / letter?


Oh, choosing a favorite word is tough! Maybe I'd say flour. Font: Calibri. A is my favorite letter, the beginning of my name and the beginning of the alphabet, the beginning.


Where would your adventure be set: underwater or in space?


I'm not going underwater or out in space. NOPE. Take me back to America of many moments. In this wishing instance, I'm going to Chicago 1893, for the World's Fair. And I'm hanging out with Nancy Green, the OG Aunt Jemima in her flour barrel shaped pancake stall. I'm in the agricultural building, marveling over the displays each state made, especially the ones that have wheat stalks. I'm listening to the speeches that women made in their very own building, and trying to understand the vernacular and issues.


Snacks while you work? If yes, what’s your go-to?


Nuts, in a roulette of types.


What are some of your favorite tools-of-the-trade?


I love dictation tools because I gave myself a tragic typing injury hammering out my first book. Also, I love notebooks, little ones that fit in my pockets, and bigger ones that I use -- one as a journal that I very occasionally write in, and one for notes on classes I'm taking, books I'm reading, thoughts I'm following -- I write in this one more often.


You are hosting a party. Who’s coming? Where and when? What’s being served? (Fictional characters and locales are welcome.)


Ideal party: Invites to Kurt Vonnegut, my Dad, Olivia Laing, and Minnie Greenaway -- an obscure writer who went to elementary school with my grandmother, and lived in the house behind mine in 1924! At a separate table, I will put Herman Melville and Charlotte Bronte. I don't think they'd be as raucous as the rest.

I will make a chicken pot pie, nothing too odd, and nothing too special, because the people are the focus, not the food. We eat here at home, and my kids, Francis, 24, and Felix, 19, are with us, as is my husband Jack. We talk about reading and tell jokes, and after dinner, everyone at the big table plays a game while I eavesdrop and get dessert together -- apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. I sit down with Melville and Bronte and we play exquisite corpse.


What mashups do you wish existed?


Well, how about a TV series based on The Secret Life of Home Economics? And a radio minute daily featuring letters by American writers?


What are some things you enjoy doing off-screen?


I really like sewing and making collages. Plus biking when the weather is nice.


Any recommendations for the OIP community? What have you been enjoying lately?


Hmm, this took a while to figure out, because addressing the anonymous crowd is not so easy as entertaining people right in front of me. If you were here, I'd give you tea and toast and recommend what books you need to read, like a library nurse. Since you are not, I'm going to recommend everyone find something lovely to look at -- could be a tree out your window, a casual collage journal that becomes part of breakfast, or the flowers you will plant this spring. Zinnias. I prescribe plenty of zinnias, and calendula. If you can't plant flowers, get a book about them out of the library and love them with your eyes.

Thank you so much, Amy! We love what you make, and we’re so excited to publish your work.

(*Wube lubovube ubevuberythubing yuboubu mubakube uband wube'rube subo ubexcubitubed tubo pubublubish yuboubur wubork!)

Make sure to check out Amy’s stories and recipes at Civil Eats, The Counter, & The Kitchn. Subscribe to her newsletter, Dear Bread, and follow along @flourambassador.

This fall, you can find Amy Halloran’s work in Old Iron Press’s inaugural anthology, Playing Authors!

Gutenborg...On the Road
Continue to follow along all summer with Gutenborg, our favorite one-wheel wonderer, as we roadtrip to meet Old Iron Press authors near and far. Look for Playing Authors, coming out fall 2023.
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