Street Food and Love by H.A. Enri
Published by: Martin Sisters Publishing
Publication date: Summer 2014
Sole Eaby, seventeen, has a few complaints he’d like to lodge against life, the main one being that his dad, Cedro, has recently quit his job and withdrawn his entire life savings, which included Sole’s college fund. Why? To launch a food truck business he knows nothing about.
To cope, Sole uses his knifelike wit to moonlight as a stand-up comedian, and so far, it’s paying off. He’s not only replenishing his college treasury, he’s making people laugh; but it’s one person in particular he performs for. Her name is Ava. When the fated bond of humor joins the two, and they begin a sort of quasi-romance, things begin to seem somewhat bearable. Of course, that’s when an ill-timed event decides to put another spin on things. Just when Sole is ready to move on with his own life and disconnect himself from his father and the family business, he suddenly finds himself in charge of the food truck he desperately loathes. Here is where Sole must realize that the answers to love and life are not to be found apart but, rather, are more like a savory recipe: only by combining the ingredients will the wonderful flavors reveal themselves. When comedy isn’t enough, the future seems ever bleak, and a fledgling love has barely had a chance to bloom, where will Sole turn?
Why did you write this book?
I wrote this book because this idea had never been pursued in YA lit, let alone fiction.th When the idea came to me, I thought it was worth telling for others out there. Of course, now there’s a film about a food truck owner operator, but not when I wrote the novel. I wanted to explore the concept of the food truck operator as a person with issues, so that’s when it turned YA because my teenage protagonist Sole became the focus. You can watch The Great Food Truck Race or Eat St. if you just care about someone and their food truck, but life as an owner operator is not the star idea of this narrative.
How’d you pick the title of the book?
It’s the material clashing with the existential. The truck is a symbol for all things wrong with the world for Sole, the novel’s main dude. Street food is what the truck is all about, so I used that terms versus “food truck.” Since the food truck or “street food” are always at odds with Sole and his heart (yes, it’s okay to sigh and say “aw.”), I chose to capture that with “love.” Until these two opposing forces learn to coexist, neither of them has a chance to make it. The title, in a simple way, somewhat epitomizes those novel’s major motifs.
Why did you pick LA as the setting?
My character, as an aspiring comedian, inspired all that is L.A.—someone who wants to get into showbiz and has the chops to do so. Sole thinks, like many, that achieving his celebrity plan is his exit card from all things painful. From there, I wanted to unveil of a story of someone whose greatest obstacle is not external—abuse, violence, etc.—but rather is the soft issues of the heart that are sometimes more detrimental than the obvious ones. There is this individual surrounded by the giant of possibility that is L.A., and his world is just this tiny, fading echo. I liked the contradiction.
How often do you write?
As often as I can but not as often as I’d like. This is where you probably want to hear my writing process and such. Really, some days it feels like I’m hacking away like a lumberjack at a petrified tree other days it feels like I’m driving up the 101 outside of L.A, ocean to my left, top down, music son, and the sun holding back some of its heat just because I’m on the highway. Do I go at it daily? At least four days out of the week, but I aim for seven. Writing doesn’t currently foot the bills fully, so I have another gig. I know, I know: when I say that I leave myself open for comments like, “Good thing, then I don’t have to worry about reading too much of your work,” or, “I can see why you keep your day job.” Sure, I get that I’m vulnerable to those criticisms, but it’s just the reality of most writers’ lives. Want to buy a thousand copies and change that? Ha, ha. Kidding.
What kind of books do you read?
I’m a social science junkie. I’m talking an obsession beyond obsessions. As for other genres, I do read lots of YA, of course, lots of it. And, I take in about four literary adult novels a year, one per quarter. I read that in parts between my others.
How important are names to you in your books?
Sometimes too much, so I try to back off. Many of my first drafts start off with names looking like this: ________. Yes, really. Then, when I finally give them a name, it’s nothing as potent and floral and full of atmosphere and meaning like I thought it would be. Someday, I’ll name my characters Jim, John, Jen and things like that.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
I’m sort of just lifting off the launch pad. That’s a flattering question, but I’m not quite in a position to answer that yet. One might say, “I’ll take his advice and do the opposite.” Ha. I’m kidding about the mini joke. But really, I feel like I’m still aspiring. I’ll answer better when I’m past the aspiring level.
What secret talents do you have?
You mean writing isn’t one of them?
Your main character’s defense mechanism against pangs of the soul is comedy. It seems like you can relate.
That is maybe one trait the novel’s main dude and I share.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Time travel with knowledge retention. I would continually perfect my life, constantly updating it with the new life lessons I am learning.
What is the biggest lie you've ever told?
If I answered that, then that would be it. The biggest one hopefully was my best and hopefully I got away with it (last time I checked, that was still the case). So, yeah...
Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
That’s up to the reader to decide. If it doesn’t work, they’ll probably say that scene is my trouble spot. As for love and romance: I like to trace the scene and use allusion. Most writers, if honest, probably like scenes that the editor said, “Eh.” So, I just go where the character needs to and try not to worry about the words, like real people do in real life in difficult situations.
H.A.'s love for all things caffeinated is what keeps him awake and alert so he can pursue that glorious tyrant called Nostalgia. And after all, isn't that what provokes most adult authors to write stories about the teenage years they long ago left behind (referring to Nostalgia, not the caffeine...he hopes)? When he isn't writing, H.A. can be found quaffing coffee (Yes, he might be addicted--don't judge) reading, riding his bike, snapping photos, making music, working on his theory of everything, and, on rare occasions, attempting to discover the elusive, and maybe impossible, secret to time travel. H.A. lives in So Cal. Street Food and Love is H.A.'s first novel.