One of the best parts of Ciao Amalfi has been the way it’s brought so many incredible people into my life. Some of them have even become my closest friends over the years. A decade ago that happened via blog post comments and connections with other bloggers. These days it seems most likely to happen via social media, which is exactly how I first “met” Lucy and Kelly, who go by the name The Blossom Twins. After seeing a mutual friend share about Lucy Knott’s books, I started following their fun Instagram account @theblossomtwins and quickly realized that we have a shared love of the Amalfi Coast. It’s been such a joy to get to know Lucy and Kelly over the past couple of years and to even have had the chance to meet in person last year when they were on the Amalfi Coast.
I love books set on the Amalfi Coast and Lucy’s first two books, How to Bake a New Beginning and its sequel The Ingredients for Happiness, both take place in part on the Amalfi Coast. These books follow three very close sisters–Amanda, Sabrina, and Louisa–as they navigate life’s ups and downs (and sweet surprises) while dealing with the difficult loss of their grandfather in the fictional town of Orzoro located on the Amalfi Coast. The Ingredients for Happiness sees the sisters discovering new love and taking big risks to follow their passions while savoring the moments together with their Amalfi Coast family. The Ingredients for Happiness continues their stories, including sister Louisa’s fashion adventures on the Amalfi Coast. Both are incredibly sweet and enjoyable reads and How to Bake a New Beginning is even set during the holidays on the Amalfi Coast, so now is the perfect time to dive in.
Getting to know Lucy, it has been interesting to hear about her family’s roots on the Amalfi Coast, the memories and stories, and how it has all inspired her writing. It’s a wonderful story of family and connection, which is something that Lucy captures so beautifully in her writing. To share more of her story, we virtually sat down together to talk about her love of the Amalfi Coast and give us a fun glimpse into the author behind the books.
So many people love the Amalfi Coast, but you have a close connection to this area. Can you share more about that?
Absolutely. My Nanna and Grandad (on my Mum’s side) were born along the Amalfi Coast in the small towns of Praiano and Vettica. They moved to England just after they got married when my Grandad was in his 30s and my Nanna her late 20s. My Mum spent her summers there as a child and we often visited when we were younger. My Nanna had 11 brothers and sisters, so it was always a loud and happy house. I remember visiting as kids and helping our Aunties in the kitchen cleaning fish as laughter filled the kitchen. Kelly and I actually shared a video of that over on our Instagram not long ago (you can find it in our highlights). We just used to pick up the large fish and walk around the kitchen singing songs.
We have been fortunate to visit many times over the years. The house our Nanna grew up in, and where our Auntie still lives, might just be my most favourite place on earth.
From my late teens I really started to appreciate where my Nanna and Grandad came from and their traditions. It’s something me and my siblings take great pride in. We love all things Italy and the Amalfi Coast will always hold a special place in my heart.
The Amalfi Coast featured heavily in your first two books and you captured the beauty so sweetly. What inspires you most about the Amalfi Coast?
I believe the Amalfi Coast is magic. Every time we go, I fall more and more in love with it and that’s what inspires me. There’s always something new to appreciate and be grateful for. For me, I love that when we go it’s all about family. We love helping our Auntie and cousins cook. We sit around the table for hours practicing our Italian and life all of a sudden becomes so simple. We sit on the balcony that my Nanna sat on when she was a little girl and we look out to the sea and that’s it. And every time I look across the sea it fills me with appreciation and joy. It’s stunning and beautiful and always makes me think of my family.
Is your town of Orzoro based on one particular town on the Amalfi Coast or several? What made you decide to create a fictional town?
I wanted to create a fictional town as I wanted to have a little freedom in writing and not have to worry about everything being exact. I like being able to do that when I write and also because there was an element of writing about Italy the way I remembered it that came into play when writing my first two books. When I started writing How to Bake a New Beginning, I hadn’t been to the Amalfi Coast for, I think, 15 years. I really enjoyed doing that and being able to blend my imagination and memory. Furthermore, Praiano is such a tiny place that at times it felt very personal when writing about it and so I wanted to create a little distance between real life and my book.
Three of your books are set around Christmastime. What do you love about the holidays and how do you incorporate Amalfi Coast traditions into your holidays in England?
I think I love everything about the holidays. I love the sparkle, the crafts, and the traditions. I know it’s not a happy time for everyone, and I wish I could make it so for all, but I always love the extra emphasis on cheer, goodwill, and people making a little extra effort in coming together. My Christmas has always been family and food orientated, ever since I was little. We always eat early and have a big lunch and sit around the table for hours after, which I think is very much an Italian tradition that has been passed down for every special occasion, and in our house, it’s pretty much an every meal time, every day of the year, kind of thing.
We always have the antipasto, which has changed over the years, as me, my Mum and sisters haven’t been eating meat for a while now. Our meals were always different depending on what Nanna and Grandad might fancy, it wouldn’t be uncommon to have lasagna or a pasta dish or maybe lamb. We’ve never really done turkey. And, of course, there’s never been a year where our Nanna and Grandad’s house hasn’t been stacked with Pandoro and Panettone. We love our Italian sweet treats and will make Nanna’s Pandoro cake and Grandad’s chestnut pastries. This year will be our first without both Nanna and Grandad, and though it’s going to be incredibly strange and difficult, we are still planning on baking all their favourites and have already started on the Pandoro for breakfast every day in December routine as Nanna would always give us a Pandoro each to take home the minute they were available in the shops.
Ooh we also loved watching Zecchino D’oro on Italian TV at Nanna and Grandad’s, as they had Rai Uno on their TV. We are going to have to figure out how to do that this year as that was one of our favourite things to do with Grandad at this time of year.
Do you think you might return to see what sisters Amanda, Sabrina, and Louisa are up to with another book? Or perhaps set another novel with a different cast of characters on the Amalfi Coast?
I have written a short novella for the sisters that follows on from what happened in The Ingredients for Happiness, and that I had so much fun writing. It’s still a work in progress so we will see. I do love and miss the sisters so much. I absolutely adored writing their stories.
I’d love to explore different places in Italy that I’ve never been to before. I have ideas of what I imagine certain places to be like, say Tuscany for example, and then I get story ideas in my head. But I think I would need a trip there to really capture it in the way I feel I can capture the Amalfi Coast.
Many thanks to Lucy for sharing about her family traditions from the Amalfi Coast and writing inspiration. I hope you’ll read her books and enjoy them as much as I do! If you’re looking for a holiday read, Lucy has two more books out that are full of winter magic. I personally loved Wishes Under a Starlit Sky, which I read during the Christmas season last year. Lucy’s latest book, One Snowy Week in Springhollow, was just released and is packed with Christmas merriment, lots of holiday sweets, and a fun love story set in a charming village in England. Although it was my Christmas read this year, I’ve already devoured it. Lucy’s books are available on Kindle and as paperback on Amazon (and Nook in the USA), so get your hands on her books for a much-needed dose of cheer this holiday season!
Note: This post contains Amazon Associates affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you purchase after clicking on the links. There’s no additional cost to you, but the commission helps support Ciao Amalfi. Grazie!