Return to site

2023: The Year in Review

A Behind-the Scenes Glimpse of How a Book Is Made

This was the year that Slow Noodles transitioned from potential energy to a real, physical book. The year we ceased working in isolation and gained a team of dedicated editors, publicists, marketers, designers, and recipe experts to back our play.

It was the year we got our first taste of feedback from the outside world, via the generous blurbs, glowing trade reviews, and "most anticipated lists" that so kindly included us.

Here's a sampling from one review that really floored us:

"This memoir of food, family, feminism, and Cambodian history, which includes enticing cookbook-quality recipes, is breathtaking in its emotional resonance and lovely writing." Shelf Awareness

Wow. We feel ... seen.

But here's the thing: We can't control the reviews and "best of" lists, or whether this book becomes a bestseller or languishes undiscovered. Kudos and sales are bonus material, and they require a good publicist and an avalanche of good luck. Yes, if we "succeed," we can argue that we worked hard for it. But so did a lot of authors whose books never got discovered.

So we hereby deem it a "success" simply to have gotten this far. Anything more is icing. Yes, we are grateful for each of these units of recognition. They represent someone's time, work, and attention, and they are gifts that help propel Chantha's message. But we don't take a single one of them for granted.

We'll take all the help and gifts we can get, because this process has not been easy. Looking back on a life story that includes war, genocide, and immense loss can be extremely painful. Sometimes, it can be healing. But for 10 years, we persevered through this often-difficult work of remembering and documenting, because we believe that it's important to safeguard personal and cultural history. Many Cambodians and diasporic Cambodians of Clara's generation don't know much about the world that made their parents who they are. Maybe no one told them, because the remembering was too painful. Maybe they were afraid to ask. But with every story shared, the world of the Year Zero generation comes a little bit more into focus. Hopefully, it helps us all understand each other better.

That said, here's a quick wrap-up of how far our book has come this year:



✍️ We edited! And edited and edited and edited.

📲 Lots of long fact-checking calls between Nashville & Phnom Penh.

👩‍🍳 We tested recipes, with the help of a fabulous team of food-expert allies.


broken image


✍️ More editing!

📚 The first MS drafts were beamed out to fellow authors for possible endorsements. We crossed our fingers.



✍️ Copy editing. Recipe editing.

🙏 Wrote acknowledgments and a glossary of Cambodian ingredients and techniques.

👍🏽 Wonderful blurbs rolled in — the first “outside world” feedback, thrilling and surreal.

📕 Got a gorgeous cover!



✍️ Final copy edits. (HUGE props to our editors for brilliance & diligence!)

⭐️ The first review came in from Kirkus Reviews, and it was lovely!

🎤 Clara Kim landed the gig as audiobook narrator and recorded the whole book in 5 days! (Props to our fab producers at Hachette Audio!) 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

🎥 Kim & Clara shot a book trailer in London (stay tuned).

🎨 Plotted and schemed with Julia Martin Gallery to throw a fabulous launch celebration and women’s group exhibition at her gallery.

✈️ Bought tickets for Chantha and Clara to come to Nashville for the book launch!

📕 Subtitle changed — from "A Recipe for Rebuilding a Lost Civilization" to "A Cambodian Memoir of Love, Loss, and Family Recipes"

broken image



⭐️ Great reviews from Publishers Weekly, Shelf Awareness, and Booklist!

👍🏽 SN appeared on several “most anticipated books of 2024” lists, such as SF Chronicle, Readers Digest, Zibby Owens's book blog, and Debutiful.

😃 We started to believe this thing was really happening.😃

Now it's time to shift our gaze to the future. Seeing Slow Noodles gradually enter the world via blurbs, early reviews, and 2024 book lists is a lovely way to look ahead. Next year, Chantha's book will become part of a broader shared heritage and cultural memory. It won't be solely ours anymore. We are ready to release it to the world.

Happy New Year, everyone! We're pretty excited for 2024. We hope you'll be a part of our story this year. —Chantha, Clara, & Kim