Aime Austin, Fiction Writer in Budapest

  • 16 Jun 2023 2:55 PM
Aime Austin, Fiction Writer in Budapest
Jessica Gadsden, who writes fiction under the pen name Aime Austin, was born in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Smith College and Cornell Law School in the US.

She is the author of the Casey Cort and Nicole Long series of legal thrillers, and is also the host of the podcast, A Time to Thrill. When she’s not writing crime fiction or interviewing brilliant creators, she’s in a yoga pose, knitting, or reading.

Before writing, Jessica practiced family and criminal law in Cleveland, Ohio. These days she splits her time between Los Angeles and Budapest.

Click here to visit her Instagram page

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?

I arrived in 2013. For several years I was looking for a European country to settle in part-time, and ultimately full-time for retirement. I was in Prague for business in 2012, and having flown a long way from Los Angeles, with a two year old in tow, I wanted to extend the trip.

I decided to visit the Danube and had to choose between a train ride to Vienna or one to Budapest. At the train ticket counter in Prague, I mistakenly thought the Budapest trip would be shorter (see aforementioned two-year-old).

It wasn’t. Seven long hours later I emerged from Keleti pályaudvar, took a look around and immediately felt like I was finally home. Four months later, I bought an apartment.

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?


3. What surprised you most about Hungary?

I was most surprised that so much of the culture was familiar because of the large number of Hungarian immigrants I grew up with in New York, and lived with in Cleveland, Ohio.

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do? 

We must have a great local meal. I usually take them to a small vendéglő. I suggest a museum visit or even a tour of parliament, then a walk along the Danube at night.

5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?

There are so many to choose from. Probably székelykáposzta, if I had to pick only one.

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?


7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?

Magyarazni. C’mon, if that isn’t the most prefect word.

8. What do you miss most from home? 

The sheer variety of Korean food available in Los Angeles.

9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?

If I wasn’t a writer, I’d love to be a professional photographer or journalist.

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?

I’d never want to be a veterinarian. Patients that don’t talk doesn’t appeal.

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?

Iceland. It was an amazing otherworldly experience.

12. Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?

In two weeks, I’m finally going to Belgium. I wanted to go more than a decade ago, but got pregnant and wouldn’t have been able to enjoy Belgian beers. I’m also taking my son on a tour of European parliament.

13. Apart of temptation what can't you resist?

Hungarian pastries. Even my doctor here said I should resist more. But the smell of pastry is everywhere, even in train stations. I may have bought túrós pastry in Nyugati pályaudvar just yesterday afternoon after running errands.

14. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?

My favorite hobby as a teen was reading - mostly romance novels.

15. Red wine or white?

Red, unless Prosecco is on the menu.

16. Book or movie?

C’mon, I’m a novelist. Books for the win!

17. Morning person or night person?

Morning, definitely. I did take a night bus once in 2018 from Deák Ferenc tér to my apartment. 

18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?

The eradication of racism in America. 

19. Buda or Pest side?


20. What would you say is your personal motto? 

“When people show you who they are, believe them, the first time.” -Maya Angelou. I wear the saying on stacking rings on my right hand every day.

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