I’m so excited to re-visit one of my favorite books called, All the Way. It has all the elements I love in a good romance, and for a limited time, it’s only .99! I truly hope you take the time to grab it at such a good price and take a little trip with me to a little Italian restaurant in Manhattan and meet some very colorful characters.
Plus a to-die for hero and badass heroine food critic.
Plus music by the one and only Frank Sinatra.
I thought it would be fun to reprint a blog I particularly loved called, Why I Love To Write Italian, to celebrate the sale. Enjoy!
I remember when I was an English Literature student and read a wonderful short story by Helen Barolini, “How I Learned to Speak Italian.” We discussed it at length, spoke about the way it was written, the prose, and the way the narrator vividly portrayed the desire and love of the language, and how Italian connected his way to the ones he loved.
I come from an Italian family-my grandmother was from Naples, and she used to live with us for a short period. We’d sit at the small kitchen table, sipping coffee and nibbling on sweets, chatting about our day. I was excited about learning her culture and the language, and we’d have sessions where I’d ask about certain words, and she’d write down the translation. Every word was magical when spoken in Italian. She asked me to do two things for her when I grew up: learn to speak Italian and visit Italy one day. I promised her I would.
I’d watch her cook fresh escarole and beans, delicious hearty soups like pasta fagioli, simmering pots of fresh gravy with hefty neckbones and homemade meatballs simmering over the flames. She wore a well used, freshly laundered apron with pockets, and wielded wooden spoons like a pro, while she danced around the kitchen in a well rehearsed waltz of grace and beauty.
I grew up to be a lot NOT like her. I’m not a great cook, and prefer the easy way rather than the homemade way. I took five years of Italian in college and hardly learned a thing. I travelled to Italy on a whirlwind tour, and my feet stood on the humbled ground of Napoli, and I looked at the sprawling landscape and thought of my grandmother. But in many ways, I feel like I failed. I’m not adept at the language, and only spent a brief hour in her homeland, not enough to stroll the streets and eat the food and steep myself in the culture.
But I write Italian. I love creating an old fashioned Italian family, and bringing in aspects of my childhood, twisting fiction with reality in a way that becomes seamless and real. In my novel, All the Way, I crafted an Italian restaurant in Manhattan as my center, revolving around good food, great drama, music, language, and the core of it all: love. My Italian papa speaks in Sinatra-isms, my cook bends to his emotional landscape when it comes to seasoning his food, and my hero needs to reign it all in and somehow save the family business on the verge of bankruptcy. It is a rich world, full of flavor and texture and emotion, and I am more comfortable here, as if I’ve always lived this life.
And I have. Through my grandmother, through stories of Italy and family. Through my heritage.
I hope my readers get a hint of this flavor in all my books. A good laugh. A longing for hearty food. A fluttering of the heart from pure emotion.
That’s why I love to write Italian.