I've always been instinctively compelled to write about what, to me, is the lesser known side of my culinary immediate horizon: Rome. I'm still pinching myself at the idea that I'm currently working on something that is soon to become an entity of its own: with a cover, hundreds of idyllic scented pages (I love nothing better than smelling through the inside of a new book) and most of all, my name on it. "I mean, really really? " (that's what my supercute 6 years old stepdaughter answered me when I told her that I'm conceiving a work that might inspire moms, amongst all kind of people - potentially all over the world - to cook & travel for/with their daughters).
However, my story doesn't sound as fairytale like as many of my colleagues', who often talk about being picked up at food events or, even better, being directly sollicited by publishers in order to write a book. Nothing of the such happened to me, at least not on an international level. In the past, I had been sollicited by an Italian publisher who pictured me the less than tempting idea of autopromoting my own book - and If you're not Dante Alighieri, that's just standard procedure here in the Bel Paese.
Since by then, I already did my own publicity & marketing and am used to barter html programming for a pan of lasagne, I figured that was not where I intended my message to be delivered. After years of cooking workshops, food festivals and collaborations with brands, I felt like I deserved a softer, editorially competent pillow to provide me with a peaceful night's sleep.
I'm Italian, and certainly the fact that the English language is not my mother tongue didn't exactly help endorsing my candidature.
I knew I had an authentic message to deliver and I also knew that, in order to do so, I needed to pass through the UK market, one of the most globally sensitive to all things foodies. So I scratched my book idea, being at the same time extremely reserved for fear of being withdrawn and terribly open in order to transmit my very own philosophy on #romanity.
So there I was, over a year ago, sitting down in my working space - the kitchen - and loading my phone with phonecalls to the most eligible literary agencies in London. After 10 failed attempts I thought that my Mary Poppins side (constantly thinking "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down") was officially out the window. Over the weeks that followed my first shots at finding an agent, and after the 35th failed attempt, I changed bed positioning as I thought that there might have been some serious feng shui turmoil going on with me. At the end I got, wretchedly, to agency pursuit n.45 and went directly in front of the mirror, my hands miming a gun ready to shoot, my intuition yet determined to keep that smile on.
Much to my surprise, I got 2 agents offering to represent my work, and from the most respected literary agencies too since, for fear of approaching too high and fall down with an unpleasantly burning bump, I left the biggest numbers at the end of my: "I want to become a food author" marathon.
This sorcerer's apprentice, by now my very lovely and charmingly tyrant agent, stood by me step by step before entering my book deal. She helped me compiling a book proposal and waited (oh, those months and my restlessness) for the right moment to introduce it to the most appropriate contending.
Then, it was a matter of a few, incredibly hectic days, where I jumped on a train to London and met with a few publishers. With all due respect to all, only one was truly extraordinaire, though. And I' a firm believer in instincts. Oddly enough, the love at first sight happened to be mutual and, after receiving a wild-eyed courtship, I decided I met my match.
While I may not be writing here as often in the next couple of months, just imagine my busy self all dedicated to test and write for my book, to be published in May 2016 by Octopus Publishing Books (part of Hachette) with the envisioned title "As The Romans Do".
So when in Rome... keep tuned.
With love and an incandescent keyboard,