I began writing FEAST OF SORROW in 2007. I had about five or six chapters when I joined Lisa Border's Grub Street summer Novel in Progress class and began workshopping it. In it I met one of my writing partners, Anjali Mitter Duva. When I took the fall class, I met another writing partner, Jennifer Dupee. I was off and running.
It didn't take me ten years to write the book. I wrote off and on, mostly on weekends, finishing the first draft in the early part of 2011 and then revised it multiple times for potential agents over the course of the next few years. It took me another four years before I began working with Amaryah Orenstein at Go Literary. And then, from the time that Touchstone Books expressed interest in the fall of 2015, a full eighteen months to publication.
A decade! I'm fairly sure that future books won't take so long. Whew.
There are a few wonderful things that writing this book has given me:
I've met some really cool and incredibly interesting people. Scores of authors, best-selling and not; food historians; generous Romans; chefs and restaurateurs; librarians; art historians; journalists; other food writers and many many kind readers.
I've also reconnected with many people that I haven't talked to much in years which warms my heart.
The chance to fall in love with Italy, its culture, language and its people.
I get to do the other thing I love (and get paid for in my professional life), social media, PR and marketing. But this time I am doing it for myself and my own product, which is immensely cool.
I've explored all sorts of foods I would never have thought to try, expanding my palate and my cooking skills both!
I learned that putting together a cookbook is a crazy beast and I have the utmost respect for people who create them.
I am constantly meeting new people and I have a bevy of new fun experiences (readings, cooking events, literary festivals) ahead of me.
I've discovered so many new books, may of them outside of the genres I normally read, as a result of connecting to dozens of other debut authors. All of these books help me expand my world-view even further.
I'm sure this is the tip of the iceberg...I hope it's a monster iceberg too!