Please welcome the author of The Chef’s Secret. Be sure and add it to your Goodreads list!
What author do you compare your book(s)/writing style to the most?
Madeleine Miller. I strive to bring the lost history of food to life in the way that she brings the ancient myths to life.
What is your favorite book genre? Why?
I read very widely across a bunch of different genres. I really want a wonderful story to grab me, overall. But I do tend to drift toward magical realism and fantasy quite often. I love the idea of escaping into different worlds, which is also why historical fiction is so fun for me to write.
What is your favorite television show? Why?
I don’t watch much television, to be honest! When I do, I could fall way too easily into the world of binging, and I have books to write! But I do watch Dr. Who, The Magicians, and I love Stranger Things.
If you could have written a popular, well-known book, what would it have been and why?
I don’t find myself envious or jealous of books or authors like that, so this is a hard question. We can only write the books inside of us. But I would love it if my novels eventually find the success and love of say, M.F.K. Fisher’s food writing, or the fandom of Phillipa Gregory, or the popularity of books that find themselves on Reese Witherspoon’s nightstand.
Using your most recent book, who would play your main character(s) in a movie?
Kit Harrington has the look closest to what I had in mind for Giovanni in The Chef’s Secret, although he’d need to acquire an Italian accent to pull it off, I’m thinking.
Why should your readers pick your book over a well-known author’s book?
So many factors go into how publishers decide to promote their books and readers don’t realize that only 5-10% of a publisher’s catalog gets any real promotion. So many incredible books are published, even by the big houses, but don’t get the same love on the shelf as those books. By only going with what is popular, a reader is missing out on some fantastic stories that might appeal to them even more.
My books are about the unsung heroes of culinary Italy. My latest novel, The Chef’s Secret, is about the world’s first celebrity chef, Bartolomeo Scappi, whose 1570 cookbook L’Opera di Bartolomeo Scappi, was a bestselling cookbook for almost 200 years after its publication. We don’t know much about Scappi’s life, so I had a lot of fun making some of that up. It’s a mystery and a love story. Feast of Sorrow is the tale of the world’s first gourmand, Apicius, whose name is on the oldest known cookbook. He died in a totally crazy way and I wanted to tell the story of how he got there.
If a reader loves diving into the historical past, loves Italy, or loves food, they will likely find some kinship with one of my novels. The trick is to not read one when you are hungry!
What is your go-to snack?
Snack? Hmm. I don’t snack much, actually. But if I could, I’d down a bit of gelato or ice cream, every day. My go-to flavor is something with chocolate and peanut butter!