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Meet Francesco Iovine

Franceso Iovine was born and raised in NYC where food has always been a huge part of his upbringing and life. His love for cuisine started when he was very young in his Nonno and Nonna's kitchen and continued to grow when he started working in a German deli owned by a man named Bruno, a chef who escaped from East Germany. Bruno taught him how to use a knife and everything else was self-taught by observing

his grandparents and others who specialize in Italian regional cooking.

Franceso developed his own style of cooking by using his senses, such as taste and smell, as they are more important than the sense of sight when it comes to food and eating. Ask yourself; does a blind person not know what tastes good? The sense of smell tells you what's quality!

Presentation has a lot to do with the final step of preparing a meal, but it can also impede you. If you prepare a dish and it doesn't match the photo you were trying to follow, you may tell yourself it won’t taste good when it could be delicious. That's why we intentionally did not include any photos of the final dish in this book and only the ingredients.

Franceso wants you to fully enjoy the recipes in this book by using your sense of smell and taste. Use your sense of sight mainly so you don't cut your fingers off and so you don't miss your mouth trying to eat. Yes, we eat with our eyes but as Francesco says it's only to make sure the food gets in his mouth so he can taste it.

I love that Meals and Memories with Nonno is not just a cookbook filled with recipes, it’s a book about a man and his cooking style that’s filled with poignant recollections and passion. Please tell us

about that.

Meals and Memories with Nonno is a Mediterranean cookbook with a biography component, it gives the reader a glimpse of Nonno's life along with a cooking style that helped him live to the age of 101. The book has 55 recipes that appeal to vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters. There are no fancy cooking methods or utensils needed, just a passion to enjoy food. The book has two sections, so to speak, the recipes spread throughout the book and memories of my Nonno and the food he prepared.

What inspired you to write Meals and Memories with Nonno?

Angelo Iovine (Nonno) was an Italian immigrant who came to the United States at the age of 17 and lived to be 101 years old. He was a remarkable cook who used techniques from the Old World and the freshest ingredients, usually from his own garden or local market, to create delicious meals for everyone he loved. His ability to overcome and conquer every challenge in life, including never seeing his family in Italy again after he came to the US, and almost losing his leg in a trolley car accident, inspired me, his grandson, to tell his story.

How long did it take you from concept to having the published book in your hands?

The idea started about 6 years ago but did not come into fruition, until I met Ashley. So, that leads right to your next question.

Tell us about your coauthor, Ashley Carr, and what your collaboration was like. Did you work together in the same place, through email, or phone conversations?

So, I was introduced to Ashley from a mutual friend, Chris Sciacco, an Independent Film Producer. I was looking for a writer for an email campaign for my Speaking business and Chris introduced me to Ashley. After finishing the email campaign, I mentioned to Ashley about my book and as fate has it she is a vegetarian and also writes blogs on nutrition. It was set, she would help me write the book. We began with emails and phone conversations so she could get to know my grandfather and his ways, and she truly did. If it was not for Ashley this book would still be in my head!!!

What are your personal writing habits? Do you have a specific writing spot? Any quirks? Did you set aside time each day to compile your book?

I have a chair that I like to sit in when I read or write. I write best in the morning after my coffee and before the noise of the day takes over.

Outlines are sometimes an integral part of drafting a book, whether fiction or nonfiction. Did you work off an outline?

Yes, Ashley and I came up with the idea of an outline of stories and recipes, we then worked on the rough draft of each story via email and phone conversations, which Ashley finished up amazingly, while I worked on the recipes and the comments.

You must have sifted through numerous photos when compiling your book and it must have been difficult to choose just the right ones. How did you narrow down those that made it into the final copy?

We used a timeline. Nonno was born in 1903 and came to the US in 1921 so the stories start there, and the pics started from that time and worked towards the present time using pics that matched the theme of the stories. Some of the stories were picked because we had photos.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned when creating your book?

The information about my family along with the recipes have not changed over time.

Aspiring authors are often torn between self-publishing or finding traditional representation. Is Meals and Memories with Nonno a self-published work? If so, can you briefly explain the process?

Yes, it is self-published. We started out going the fully self-published route. I then decided to go with what they call a Hybrid.

Did you hire a company to help with your project or did you handle the process on your own?

We used Gatekeepers Press they are amazing! I also hired a designer who help with the layout.

Upcoming authors are told to create a website as an important part of getting their name out to the public and establishing their brand. Your website for Meals and Memories with Nonno is visually appealing with soft colors, pleasant images, and interesting photos. Did you hire someone to create your website? If so, what type of input did you have? If you created it on your own, how difficult was the process?

We had a concept of the type we wanted, we then hired someone to design the website and cover of the book, so that they were on the same design aspect.

What is your favorite recipe from the book and why?

String beans and Potatoes Pg 81, because of the memories it brings, and the flavors are just amazing.

Are there any more books on the horizon?

Yes, there are more Meals and Memories to come. One of the concepts of the new book is that a portion of the proceeds will go to charity. Our website is interactive, so, one can go there, submit a recipe and memory, and our future books will draw from those submissions to create new cookbooks. A portion of the proceeds, for each person’s submission, will go to a charity of their choice.

To learn more about Francesco Iovine or to purchase his book, visit:


Hi. I'm Liz Ambrico, freelance proofreader and aspiring author. I too am querying agents, editors, and publishers in hopes of becoming a published author.



Wordy is the get-in-the-know hotspot for writers. From grammar to publishing find info, tips, and inspiration to take your WIP (Work In Progress) to the next level.


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I co-founded and managed a successful author and writer group on Long Island for five years. During events with publishers and authors I learned what matters, what agents are looking for, and the benefits and pitfalls of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.

I've gained a lot of tips and tidings on my writing journey and want to share what I know.

Besides my passion for writing, I'm a fitness enthusiast, and I love coffee, chocolate, and animals. I'm mom to two amazing young men, and I live on Long Island with my husband, four zany cats, and the sweetest dog ever.

Whether you're new to writing, ready to query, or about to submit your manuscript,  welcome, you've come to the right place.

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