I have written two books in my Meet Me In Italy series, Our Italian Summer and The Secret Love Letters of Olivia Moretti.
I have my newest release coming next year called, A Wedding in Lake Como.
And Unbreak my Heart is full of Italian flavor – from the family to the restaurant.
Why do I write Italian?
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 great grandmother was from Naples. My grandmother lived with us for a short period of time. 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 simple 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 Unbreak my Heart, 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.
And that’s why I’m doing my very special Kickstarter for Unbreak my Heart!
I wanted to create a custom art scene from the book, and was humbled to work with an artist from Ukraine. During one of our chat updates, he let me know he may be a bit late delivering because the city he was in was currently being bombed, and he wouldn’t have internet for a while.
I was completely shocked. Everything after that conversation had new meaning. Not only did he create something memorable and beautiful for me and my readers to enjoy, he did it with pride, and on deadline.
I approached every day with a new mindset after that, and think of him often.
It’s only available for purchase until February 10th at the Kickstarter.
Here’s the link:
I also announced a huge stretch goal today – here’s a peek at the update I just shared with all my backers:
STRETCH GOAL UNLOCKED!
Receive a FREE sticker!
Aren’t these beautiful?
**I love a little spice, don’t you?**
Use them for your water bottles, your planners, your totes—anything goes! Shipping included, USA only for this reward. It’s a great time to upgrade and grab the paperback with bonus scenes! Or go for the hard cover and enjoy a special VIP Zoom call where we can really chat one on one.
If you love my Italy books and Italy themed swag, there’s a place to order a very special book box, too!
Thank you so much for helping me with this special project – please share or consider backing.