TEASER TUESDAY: FOOD OF LOVE COOKERY SCHOOL

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Another Teaser Tuesday with a twist … and a bonus author interview! When I saw The Food of Love Cookery School in the publisher’s catalogue, I knew it was a must-read: Italy and cooking – two tantalising ingredients for me. I’m still waiting for the book but here’s a blurb, followed by a Q & A with author Nicky Pellegrino.

Cover of The Food of Love Cookery School by Nicky PellegrinoIn the sun-drenched Sicilian hills, four women learn the lessons of a lifetime at the Food of Love Cookery School. Luca Amore runs cooking holidays in the baroque Sicilian mountain town of Fasolino. He’s taught many people how to cook the dishes passed down to him by generations of Amore women. As he readies himself for yet another course he expects it to be much like all the others. He will cook, he will take his clients to visit vineyards and olive groves, they will eat together, become friends, and then after a fortnight they will pack up and head home to whatever corner of the globe they came from. But there is a surprise in store for Luca. This time there are four women booked in to the That’s Amore cooking school. All are at turning points in their lives. All want something more than new recipes and cooking skills from their time in Sicily. Valerie has lost her partner of 20 years and is wondering if she’ll ever be loved again. Poppy has split amicably from her husband and decided to create a life of independence and adventures. Moll is passionate about food and is hiding a secret. And Tricia is trapped in a job she hates and will do anything to escape it. Luca doesn’t realise it yet but he is going to fall in love with one of these women. But which will it be? And what are the chances she will love him back?

I can’t wait to read The Food of Love Cookery School – publicity material describes Pellegrino as a “mouthwatering writer”. It’s due out September 10 … so not long to wait now. Sound good? Is this something you’d read?

Here’s a Fast Five Q & A with Nicky Pellegrino, courtesy of the wonderful marketing team at Hachette:

Picture of Nicky PellegrinoWhy did you start to write? Tell us about moving from your previous career as a journalist to writing?

Nicky: I had always wanted to write a book but, working full time as a magazine editor, thought I didn’t have the time. I kept telling myself some day I’d do it but some day never came. Then I had one of those seize-the-day moments. I was at work and received an email that said a woman I knew quite well had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and didn’t have long to live. That woke me up. I realised none of us know what’s round the corner and some day might never come so if you really want to do something you have to get on with it now. I went home that night and began writing my first novel Delicious.

Are there themes or ideas that you particularly want to explore in your writing?

Nicky: I’m interested in the way we connect with other people, the nature of happiness and how we end up in the lives we have. The Food Of Love Cookery School is very much about limits – how we limit ourselves and how the world limits us. Oh and food too obviously!

Structure: Do you plan and plot or do you let it unfold as you write?

Nicky: I sort of know where I’m going but I’m never quite sure how I’m going to get there. I write the way I live my life – organised chaos. But I think if I knew exactly how a book was going to pan out it would be boring to write it. This way I get as caught up in the story as hopefully the reader will.

Who do you like to read? Any favourites?

Nicky: Loads. This year I’ve loved Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life and Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour. I enjoy anything by Rose Tremain and I’m wildly excited that Diane Setterfield has a new novel out this year as The Thirteenth Tale is one of my favourites. My most-loved book though would have to be To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Can you tell us about your average writing day – where do you write and how do you write?

Nicky: I have a studio in my garden that is full of books, a sofa for the dogs to lie on and a desk for me. Ideally I’d be sitting at it early in the morning and write until about 3pm which is when my energy levels dip and I start feeling sleepy. At that point I need to get up and move. Often I’ll go and ride my horses. This provides valuable thinking time and is often when I’ll solve issues I’m having with characters and the story. With The Food Of Love Cookery School my characters got stuck in a café having coffee at one point. I couldn’t seem to move them on. Horse-riding helped!

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!