We recently chatted with Emily Belden about her debut novel, Hot Mess, available now wherever books are sold.
1. What inspired you to write Hot Mess?
When I was in my younger twenties, I dated a hot, up-and-coming chef. Though we were not together very long, it exposed me to some of the more interesting ins and outs of the culinary industry. So many aspects—the food, the drug use, the awards, the business side—were inspiring to me and made the book easy (and fun) to write!
2. How does Allie Simon’s life change when she begins to date celebrity chef and bad boy drug addict, Benji Zane?
It becomes incredibly unlike Allie. Because Allie loves hard and unconditionally, she starts to have tunnel vision and not really see the warning signs or red flags associated with being Benji’s girlfriend. Because she is so distracted by the love and adoration for/from Benji, everything feels fine. Better than fine, even. Additionally, she is gallivanting about Chicago eating the best meals and living the craziest life. It’s hard to pump the brakes on a set-up like that.
3. When Benji asks Allie to invest in his future, how does she react?
She knows, deep down, that it’s probably a bad idea—that it’s an inappropriate ask. But because she is so into Benji and believes that maybe this is the thing that will set him on the straight and narrow for good, she ultimately agrees to do it and is okay with it.
4. How does Allie adjust to the pressure of being in charge of the restaurant?
Not very well at first. In fact, her first inclination is to get the hell out, but once Angela shows her that’s not an option, she has to buck up and take control of her career and her life. At first, that’s clunky and frustrating, but with the leadership of other strong women (including Chef Tabitha), she slowly realizes she’s good at it and even likes it.
5. As moms with busy careers, what lessons can we learn from Allie’s predicament?
There are days that you’re going to want to pull an Allie and look for that out-clause—where it feels like quitting is the only option. But trust the process and lean on others around you for guidance, inspiration, and help in the most desperate of times.
This is not a sponsored post.