Check out my interview with When in Rome’s author, the very lovely Nicky Pellegrino!
You have a new book coming out called When in Rome. Can you tell us what the novel is about?
It’s set in 1950s Rome, which was the glamorous la dolce vita era, and it’s about quite a naive young girl [called Sarafina] who’s growing up in the poor part of the city, and she’s obsessed with Mario Lanza, the Italian-American Hollywood star and opera singer. Mario was a real person, so I fictionalised him for the novel.
When Mario Lanza comes to Rome to make a movie, Sarafina ends up getting a job as a member of his household. When in Rome is really about what happens to Serafina when she comes into contact with this world of fame. The most interesting thing about that was that fame just hasn’t changed! Even though today’s famous people are more exposed, fame was just as destructive and difficult in the 1950s as it is today.
Food plays a huge part in the novel, to the point where readers actually feel hungry while reading the book!
Yes and it’s a real problem when writing, because I often I write out in the shed in my garden and I know there’s no food in the house and I’m starving and I don’t just want a bit of feta cheese on toast, I want really beautiful Italian food. It’s quite torturous!
I bet it is! Does it make the writing process easier or harder to be deprived of the beautiful food you’re writing about?