Q & A with Tanya Bartolini

Why did you decide to write your book?

Initially I wanted to capture my family's story and food, but then, as I got deeper into the concept, I realised that there is a real need to share this with others. I want to encourage the belief that food creates memories – it is more than just something used to satisfy hunger. It is about bringing friends and family together. My story shows how food for my family and most others is a reflection of who they are and what they are all about. I want to encourage others to learn more about their family stories and to cook with their family and friends to create memories.

Who/what inspired you to write?

My love for family and Italy inspired me to write this book. Italy feels like home for me, and that is not because I have lived there, but because of what it represents – simplicity, family, food and culture. A good friend of mine also inspired me to take a chance and follow my dreams.

What was the most rewarding part of the writing process?

Giving the book to my grandparents, parents and family. Having my nonna cry when reading the story and telling me that she is proud of me has made this whole process so rewarding.

What are your top tips for writing a book?

Just start writing. You feel like you are getting nowhere, especially if you are an extroverted person like myself, who hates to be stuck behind a desk and computer, but trust me, just start writing. You will be surprised what you can accumulate over a relatively short period of time. I found if I stopped putting pressure on myself and just allowed myself to get lost in my words and story, then I could write a huge amount in a short space of time.

Which books/authors have inspired you?

Cookbooks in general and the authors of those inspire me. There is a book called Light of Lucia written by Luciana Sampogna, and also another book called Mezza Italiana written by Zoe Boccabella, which inspired me.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I decided to self-publish because initially I was not sure how big I wanted to make this. What I mean is, initially I just wanted to capture my story and food and then as the project went on, I realised that I wanted to share this with people – I wanted to help inspire other everyday people just like myself. I felt that by self-publishing I had complete control over many aspects of the process which suited me at the time. Palmer Higgs was a good fit for me as I needed direction in various stages for the process. Not having ever written a book before, I felt that I needed someone or a business with industry experience that could guide me through the process and give me honest advice. I needed someone I could trust.

What do you hope your readers get out of your book?

A couple of things I guess. Firstly, I hope to encourage them to cook for their family and to want to learn more about their family stories and food. Secondly, I want them to realise that cooking good, homely Italian food is easy and it is not all pizza and pasta.

Would you consider writing another book?

Yes absolutely. I have so many more recipes I want to share with people. There is so much more to share when it comes to Italian food that can be cooked at home by everyday cooks like you and me.

Do you have any other tips for new authors (ie. book launch, research, marketing etc.)?

Just because you have finished writing the book and publishing the book, don’t think the work has finished there. Stage 2 of the process begins which is marketing and selling the book. Be prepared to do the foot work to get your book on the shelves and to get people talking. Utilise the wonderful beast that is social media.

Books by Tanya Bartolini: