Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Hi guys! Today we're featuring one of the contemporary debuts that I'm looking forward to this year. I'm primarily looking forward to it because it deals with two things that I like: Gelato (I love all types of ice cream, especially gelato since it's generally sweeter.) and Italy (Who doesn't want to go to Italy?) I'm grateful for the opportunity to feature Love & Gelato and Jenna. We are going to end this event in two days time. I hope you guys would take the time to check the other debut authors and titles we're featuring by clicking here.

What or who inspired you to write Love & Gelato?
My life! When I was fifteen my family moved to Florence, Italy where I attended an international school, rode scooters, and ate more gelato than I had any business doing. Florence was and is a very magical place to me, and I wanted to show it through a teen's eyes--exactly the way I experienced it. Also, Lina's living circumstances are based on a friend of mine that I met while living there. Her father was the caretaker of the American Cemetery of Florence, and she grew up in a house on the grounds. Every morning she'd go on runs through the rows of headstones, and I guess that image stayed with me, because 8 years later I found myself writing a book about a girl running through a cemetery in Florence.

Could you tell us what kind of research you did to establish the atmospheric quality of Love & Gelato?
Lucky for me I had a lot of first-hand experience to draw upon, but I did end up doing a LOT of research for this book. There was the Italian language portion of the novel (mine has gotten rusty), lots of reading about art (which was very fascinating to me), plus a lot of time spent learning more about the "secrets" of Florence--things that most tourists don't know about. It made me want to go back there ASAP.

Just for fun - what are the things you like most about Italy that actually ended up in the book?
I love Italy so much, I tried to cram in as much of its charm as possible! There's the food, the art, but most of all I tried to capture the atmosphere of walking down a street in Florence. Also, from the beginning I knew I'd have a scene at a bridge in Florence called Ponte Vecchio--it is my most favorite place in the entire world!

Do you see yourself reflected in Lina as a character?
Somewhat! In my early drafts I based Lina on my own personality and experiences, but as I continued to work on the book I found her taking on a life and personality of her own.

All the Ren's of YA that I have met are gorgeous characters. Could you tell us about Ren?
I love Ren! He emerged in my mind much like he does in the novel--loud and very much himself. The thing I like about him is that he isn't quite the typical *perfect* heart throb, but he's a great friend and someone who Lina could really trust.

How did you develop the romance in the book, especially since you had to work with two budding relationships (Ren and Lina and Lina's parents) at the same time?
Two love stories was a little tricky! It was helpful to look at Lina and Hadley's stories as separate before intertwining them, and of course it was helpful that I loved both of those relationships!

Asking something based on the title: What is your favorite gelato flavor?
Bacio! Creamy dark chocolate with bits of hazelnut....mmmm.

Thank you, Jenna!

About the Author:

Jenna Evans Welch spent her high school years in Florence, Italy, where she drove a scooter, danced in fountains, and ate entirely too much gelato. She now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and young son. Read her blog, The Green Lemon, at JennaEvansWelch.com.

Find Jenna: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Pinterest

Book Description:

Hardcover, 390 pages
Expected publication: May 3rd 2016 by Simon Pulse

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.


Thanks to Jenna and Simon Pulse for this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Finished Copy of Love & Gelato
Scope: US

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full schedule and links to the posts!


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