You all, I’m having way too much fun getting to know some of my new favorite authors. There is no way you can see a Pizzoli book cover and not stop to find out more. I read Ghanaian Goldilocks with my kids and wanted to know what other work she published. I came across an interview of hers discussing her journey. I found out she’s a black woman from Texas living in Rome and I immediately wanted to know EVERYTHING. Her story is so interesting, I said where is her movie and autobiography? I was told, it’s on the way! Dr, Tamara was recently featured in Blavity and Afropunk for her popular book “K is for Kahlo”. We just read that and let me tell you, it’s not your ordinary alphabet book. I won’t post her entire biography here, but I will say, heartbreak and being fearless can lead you to something amazing. She really did turn lemons into lemonade and I’m all the way here for seeing her story told on the world’s stage. Read my interview with Dr. Pizzoli to find out something new about an amazing author!
Was being a Texas girl living in Italy a hard adjustment to make?
Yes, absolutely, but it was so long ago and I was a much different person then. I first moved to Rome in 2007, and it’s the only Italian city I’ve lived in. The city has changed a great deal over the past decade, but some things are exactly the same now as they were then. I think the most difficult adjustments for me at the time included the language (I didn’t know any Italian when I moved and it’s a place where you need to know the language if you’re really going to live here full-time), the people (Romans are nice, but incredibly direct, and it’s not uncommon for a normal conversation to be peppered with curse words), the salary cut (when I moved, I went from making a comfortable salary as a bilingual Kindergarten teacher with a doctorate to making 9 euro an hour–under the table–teaching English at a language school. That same language school, by the way, still pays that wage a decade later–and they still pay under the table. I’d also list food and travel as two of the most positive adjustments. Italy and all the delights it has to offer really changed my palette. When I moved here so long ago I didn’t cook at all, and I certainly wasn’t a picky eater. I’d get fast food on the way home from work most days. Now I really enjoy preparing meals for my family and friends with love and produce I’ve purchased from Antonio or Gianluca at my local market that’s a five minute walk away. As far as travel, some of the most splendid sights are right here in Rome, but exquisite destinations like Cairo or Morocco are just a couple of hours away by plane. I’m grateful I’ve gotten to see a lot of beauty over the years.
I read about you working on a web series about brown girls thriving in Rome. Any recent updates?
Yes! That is still in the works. I have been pregnant for two years in a row. I have an 18 month old and a 2 month old, plus my eldest sons who are 8 and 5, so a few scenes that I’d wanted to reshoot or change had to be put on hold because being pregnant wasn’t at all in the show’s storyline. I’m shooting to release In Nero: Black Girls in Rome the web series in the fall…once the last little bit of this baby belly has gone down and some of my other projects that are at the forefront of my to-do list are complete.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I think I’ve always been drawn to creative writing. I kept a journal for a long time in my twenties, but it was never something I did consistently. I’d just get inspiration and then write down my thoughts and feelings and I enjoyed going back and reading what I’d written. What prompted me to professionally act on a pastime I enjoyed was my eldest son Noah. Watching him play in his uncle’s house a few years ago inspired me to write The Ghanaian Goldilocks. I think that was the beginning of a decision to honor my ideas as a practice. That’s really all it is. When I wrote The Ghanaian Goldilocks, I’d found out about self publishing and just decided to put it out there. I found the illustrator for the book, Phil Howell of Howell Edwards Creative, on Twitter. I certainly didn’t think that not even four years later I’d have multiple books and a boutique publishing house. The English Schoolhouse was the name of the language school I owned and ran in Rome before I closed it to write and publish stories full-time. Phil and I have a total of eight books together–the latest will be published this month. I’ve penned 10 gorgeous children’s books to date, and I am publishing ten more this year. I’m now offering consulting services for aspiring writers and self-publishers to share what I know and what I’ve learned so far. It’s all so fun.
I want to give a special thank you Dr. Tamara Pizzoli for taking some time out to answer my questions! She is so warm and approachable. I can’t wait to see what’s next for her. Keep your ears to the streets!
Here are some new projects coming this month–
Z is for Zora: An Alphabet Book of Notable Writers from Around the World illustrated by Howell Edwards
Lotus and the Baby Bird illustrated by Elena Tommasi Ferroni
The King and the Flute illustrated by Maya N’Diaye
You can find out more about her here:
For information about books or writing consultation services: firstname.lastname@example.org
FB: Tamara Pizzoli
You can purchase the books I featured by clicking the pictures here: