This is the first in a series of interviews with authors who write about Italy, food, or both! My first interview is with Lucy Knott, the author of “How To Bake A New Beginning”,”The Ingredients For Happiness” and “Wishes Under A Starlit Sky.”
Lucy is one half of The Blossom Twins, the other half is her sister Kelly.
Why The Blossom Twins?
As they say on their blog
“The Blossom Twins name was born back in 2007, when we were figuring out who we were going to be in the world of professional wrestling. Our trainer thought ‘Blossom’ was perfect because it sounded happy and cute. Twelve years later and after a wrestling career … the name stuck. We like it!
We were born in Stockport, England but have spent the last 8 years in the States, because of wrestling. Recently we returned home to good ol’ Stockport and couldn’t be happier.
Family is everything to us, books are a close second and there is not a minute that goes by where we are not thinking about food. That would be the Italian in us.”
Lucy kindly agreed to answer some questions, and these are her answers…
What inspired you to write your books?
I’ve always loved writing and knew that one day I wanted to write my own book. Back in 2013, I was reading a lot of gorgeous books from the likes of Holly Martin, Rebecca Raisin and Lindsey Kelk and adored being wrapped up in their wonderful stories.
I felt inspired and got the idea for a book and just started putting pen to paper. I’ve always known that I wanted to write about Italy. With living in America at the time, I was missing my family in the UK so much. So writing about Italy made me happy and feel connected to them. (I’m half Italian on my Mum’s side.) I thoroughly enjoyed writing Amanda, Sabrina and Louisa’s stories in ‘How to Bake a new Beginning’ and ‘The Ingredients for Happiness’. The girls hold a special place in my heart, as do their journeys of dreaming big and loving their family so much.
I believe that my books come to me when I need them and my characters always teach me something or make me feel less alone. That’s how I felt with Harper in ‘Wishes under a Starlit Sky’ and with the books that I am currently working on now too. I can’t wait for you to meet Scarlett in ‘One Snowy Week in Springhollow’ 😊
What do you love about Italy? Any favourite memories?
I love Italy because just thinking about the place! Even just typing out that sentence gives me butterflies and fills my heart with so much love. I’m getting a bit teary eyed just thinking about it. My main reason for loving Italy is that it gave me two of my most favourite and treasured people that I have had in my life; my Nanna and Grandad. We grew up with Italian traditions, watching Italian TV and eating all the Italian food.
… Our family in Italy
We loved spending time with our Aunties in Italy. I specifically remember our times cleaning fish in our Aunties kitchen at the age of four and grabbing freshly caught fish. We ran to our Dad to show him while our Nanna and her sister’s filled the kitchen with laughter. The older we got the more we appreciated where our Nanna and Grandad came from and their beautiful culture. We continually feel honored to have that connection with Italy.
I have so many memories that it is incredibly hard to pick just one. Running up a hundred steps and hugging our Zia Rosetta at her front door always makes my heart happy when we haven’t seen her in months. Walking around Amalfi with new friends (Hi Laura!) Getting to visit Pasticceria Pansa for the first time after eating cakes from there our entire lives was extremely special. Every time we sit around the table to eat with our family is a precious moment. I could go on, but Italy definitely has my heart. (Also, when I say ‘we’ I mean me and my twin sister Kelly.)
What is your writing process? Do you have a favourite place to write in, a favourite time, a favourite drink, etc that helps the writing process?
I currently have an office that I like to sit in. I’ve been doing a little redecorating and moving things around in my house. Now I now have a room where I can go and a desk that I can sit at. Before, I used to sit at the kitchen table or on the couch with my laptop on my knee. So really I can work from anywhere. However, I do like having the space now as I think it makes me concentrate and focus a little more.
… My routine
I love to write in the morning as I do believe that is when I am most creative. My every day routine is that I get up at 5am. I make my coffee and get to work at my laptop for an hour/hour and a half or so before I get ready for work. If it’s weekend or a holiday then I will try and just write for as long as I can that day. I will say that of course when on deadlines, I have to write at any time of day just to get it done.
I do find it a little harder to concentrate after work or in the evening. Once I get stuck in (and stop procrastinating) i’m fine, especially if i’m loving the books I’m writing, I enjoy working on it at any time of day.
I like to have my coffee in the morning when I’m writing. If i’m being good and not allowing myself to get distracted, I tend to have my coffee and then just work. Hours can pass without me realizing it. If it’s a day where I have ants in my pants, sometimes I will make another cup of coffee or honey and lemon. After I drink this stretch my legs and get back to it.
Do you have any other hobbies or loves apart from writing?
Absolutely, I love to read and I always have a “to be read” pile. I’m currently reading Katie Ginger’s alter ego K. E. Coburn’s ‘Death Remembered’ which I highly recommend. I also love to watch movies, the more romantic the better. Recently I binge watched all five seasons of ‘Queer Eye’ on Netflix which I absolutely adore. I also love to cook and spend time with my family.
Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time researching, educating myself and learning about different organizations and movements. A lot goes on behind the scenes that I don’t always share on social media. The more recent events that led to the whole world taking note of the Black Lives Matter movement really opened my eyes on using the tools and platforms we have to speak up, learn and listen.
… Educating myself
Every day now I try and research something that I am not fully educated on. I see what I can do to help or how I can be a part of the change. I think sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by the sadness in the world and can feel hopeless in how we can help. However all it takes is one step, one donation, one lesson at a time. You can actually make a difference. A few months ago I learnt about the Stephen Lawrence Trust which is a wonderful organization. This organisation provides tools and workshops for disadvantaged youths. There’s Race Equality, the LGBT Foundation, the Switchboard LGBT+helpline, that are all brilliant too, just to name a few.
… Finding out about autism
Over the past year I have been learning a lot about Autism. This is due to being blessed with certain people coming into my life. The National Autism Society is a wonderful place to learn, educate yourself and help. Furthermore, I’ve worked in schools and nurseries for fifteen years. I love every single child that I have worked with but I never stopped to think about if they could all see themselves in books. The little box of books is an amazing organization looking to get more inclusive books into schools and I think that is incredible.
I’m trying to write a book about my life in Italy, but have found it hard to get going. Any tips?
That sounds wonderful. 😊 Carry a notebook around with you at all times and just write. It sounds simple. It can be anything from a word to a sentence, just pop it in your book. Take a moment when you’re sitting and looking around you where you write down what you see. Just describe what is in front of you. It doesn’t have to be perfect or even anything to do with what you might have planned or wanted to write about. However, it could spark inspiration and get your brain flowing.
…Don’t get overwhelmed!
Also, try not to think about the end result or the word count. Just put one word in front of the other. I tend to get overwhelmed very quickly, even just thinking about getting edits back fills my stomach with butterflies. If I’m totally honest, every time I get edits back I cry. I have a moment where I just panic and immediately think I can’t do it. My brain goes straight to the negative. I tell myself all the reasons why i’m a bad writer and I won’t be able to get it done.
I have to get it all out, then breathe. Then I think of something that makes me happy, maybe watch a little something that motivates me. I remind myself how lucky I am that I get to be editing and how much I love creating stories.Then I can tackle it. You are not alone in your doubts or struggles to get going. However I 1000% believe you can do it!
What are your three favourite books?
Ooh that’s a hard one. I truly believe books find you at certain points in your life when you really need them and so I have so many favourites from different times in my life. But if i’m going to say ultimate favourites I would have to say ‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac, just because it opened my eyes and really gave me this sense of adventure and wanting to experience and see the world. And it was the book that really planted the seed in me wanting to become a writer.
I only recently read ‘Little Women’ and adored every single thing about it. That has to be one of my all time favourites.
… ‘A Kind of Spark’ by Elle McNicholl
More recently I read a book called ‘A Kind of Spark’ by Elle McNicholl and I think that has to be one of my favourites too. The book is about an Autistic girl called Addie and I just adored Addie’s voice. The story is heartbreaking and heartwarming and has such an important and beautiful message on how we are all uniquely and beautifully designed. It highlights the importance of understanding people, specifically with Autism, and shows that when we take the time to learn about others, listen to their story and love them, that they can flourish and achieve and be themselves.
… What is normal?
Society has programmed us to see people who are not like us as different, sometimes even scary, and it’s just not the case. Who’s to say what ‘normal’ is? To Addie, we are the ones that are different. Our brains don’t work like hers, why should she be the one that is made to feel different and like an outsider? I just think it’s a gorgeous book and one that is a must read for everyone.
What are your favourite books about Italy?
I adore Andrew Cotto’s ‘Cucina Tipica’, that book is stunning and I am ridiculously excited because Andrew is coming out with a sequel. My friend Jasmine Mah wrote a gorgeous book called ‘Wanderlust’ that looks at beautiful, romantic travel stories and she writes about Italy in the most magical and dreamy way. I highly recommend you check out those lovely reads! 😊
Lucy will be publishing her fourth book ‘One Snowy Week in Springhollow’ on 5th November 2020.
There will also be more interviews with authors in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
All images copyright Lucy Knott/The Blossom Twins