We hosted a live Questions and Answers session with Nicky Pellegrino over on our Facebook page last week.
To coincide with our first book, Under Italian Skies, writer Nicky Pellegrino joined us on the EziBuy Facebook Page to answer your questions. What motivates her? How does she get her ideas? What is she reading at the moment? We’ve collated the answers from Nicky below for you to enjoy reading.
Q: What do you use for inspiration? – Carne
A: The obvious thing is a trip to Italy – nothing is more inspiring than that. But for Under Italian Skies I was also thinking a lot about change and how I’m quite bad it but sometimes life comes along and changes things for you whether you like it or now. That’s what happens to the main character Stella and is why she ends up doing an Italian house swap.
Q: Hi Nicky, your books make my mouth water. Does writing those descriptions of Italian food make you really hungry? – Gemma
A: Yes starving. My desk is piled with recipe books for research. Not ideal if all you have in the fridge is a couple of eggs for lunch.
Q: Hi Nicky! I recently read Under Italian Skies and loved the setting… How do you choose your locations? Do you check them out in person? – Penelope
A: Yes I’ve spent time in all the locations I’ve written about. The setting for Under Italian Skies is really special to me. In real life Triento is a town called Maratea where one of my father’s cousins has a holiday home that I’ve based Villa Rosa on. That’s probably the place I’ve spent the most time in which is why I write about it so often. I’m working on a book about Venice at the moment but haven’t quite plucked up the courage to book that pricey airfare!
Q: Are you writing a new book right now? – Sally
A: Yes, it’s called A Year At Hotel Gondola – at least it is at the moment. It’s about that point in life when you realise you’re not exactly young anymore! Can’t say much more at the moment because it’s very much a work in progress.
Q: Hi Nicky, when I read Under Italian Skies I was hungry after reading only a little way into the book. When you write your novels, do you test the recipes too? – Penny
A: Actually not always….sometimes I just read about them and imagine the way they taste then write. But for the last book One Summer In Venice I spent 10 days there and a lot of time was devoted to trying delicious local dishes.
Q: It’s obvious you do a lot of research … any of the research topics, besides the food, that stands out as a real pleasure to do? – Kelly
A: I love watching Italian film. There is a festival every year in Auckland and there are always a couple of brilliant comedies.
Q: Do you have a favourite place to do your writing? – Penelope
I quite like the sofa but can see it’s a slippery slope (what next, the bed?) so I try to stay at my desk in my little studio in the garden
Q: Is there anything in NZ that reminds you of Italy? A home away from home? – Luis
A: There is a pizzeria on Pt Chev Rd in Auckland called Francesca’s and they do very simple wood fired pizza to take away. When I have one on the back seat of the car it smells exactly like Naples!
Q: Are you reading anything at the moment or have any good book recommendations? – Anna
A: Yes, one I really really loved is To The Bright Edge of The World which is set in Alaska and totally different to my books. Right now I’m reading a novel about Phar Lap the racehorse called Daylight Second which will be out next month.
Q: Can you let us in on what your next book holds for us? I loved One Summer in Venice – I couldn’t put it down I really felt like I was there! – Kloe
The one I’m writing right now? It’s Venice again and it’s a story about a woman who has led an adventurous life but never really had a lasting relationship. So love is her last real adventure. Also if you liked One Summer In Venice you may be pleased to hear that Coco has gatecrashed this new book and is behaving in her usual flamboyant fashion!