Unveiling Success: A Journey of Resilience and Creativity with Samantha Picaro

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Step into the world of Samantha Picaro, where baking meets self-discovery, and setbacks are celebrated as stepping stones to success. In this candid interview, Samantha shares the inspirations behind her book “Recipe for Confidence” and delves into her personal journey of overcoming self-doubt and defining success on her terms. From navigating challenges while juggling multiple responsibilities to finding solace and motivation in creativity, Samantha’s story is a testament to resilience, kindness, and the transformative power of pursuing one’s passions. Join us as we uncover the sweet layers of Samantha’s creative process, her aspirations for representation in literature, and the meaningful messages she hopes to impart through her work.

What inspired you to start “Recipe for Confidence”?

My love of baking – and eating baked goods – and my journey to define success for myself. 

Can you share a bit about your personal journey and how it led to the creation of your book?

I have felt like a so-called “failure” lots of times in my life, from repeating a grade to messing up social interactions. I felt embarrassed going for a second Master’s because I felt like I was supposed to stick to one path in life and that 30 was too old to go back to school. But now I know that nobody has to stick to a path if they have the resources to pursue another. I don’t have to adhere to society’s defition of success.

Were there any specific challenges or setbacks you faced while working on this project?

It’s funny you use the word “setbacks” because the fictional bakery in the book makes Setback Cakes, which celebrate and encourage one to get back up from setbacks. I had to juggle writing the book with work, caring for a family member with illness, and preparing to go back for that second Master’s.

How did your background in graphic design influence your approach to writing and marketing your book?

I don’t have a professional background in design; I just use graphics to create flyers and social media posts for work and to promote my book. I try to have each protagonist in my books have a different passion and interest, so I chose to make the main character Bryn passionate about graphic design. This type of skill is beneficial to self-published authors or anyone promoting themselves online.

What role did volunteering play in shaping your perspective and themes explored in your book?

Volunteering encourages the spirit of kindness and giving. I made Bryn care about her goals but also care about her aunt’s success and the success of her friends. Bryn wanted to create a portfolio but also enjoys helping others with tasks.

What motivated you to use desserts as a metaphor in “Recipe for Confidence”?

My love of eating and baking desserts. Bryn mentiosn in a scene that sweets mean a lot to her because her Mom used to take her for snacks before or after appointments with therapists, tutors, etc. to deal with burnout and the embarrassment she felt at being a little different than her peers. I based that on my mother doing the same for me when I was young. Actually, we still treat ourselves to desserts like ice cream when we’re sad or leaving a doctor’s office.

Can you discuss the theme of overcoming the pressure to avoid failure in your book?

I covered this in question two but I’ll reiterate that it was based on my own experiences of feeling like a failure. I also feel like tehre is so much pressure even on teenagers in our society to succeed which often impacts mental well-being.

What advice do you have for women who may be struggling with similar challenges of self-doubt and setbacks?

It’s okay to allow yourself to experience the negative feelings. Don’t pretend you’re fine when yo’ure not because toxic positivity is, well, “toxic,” which Bryn eventually realizes. 

How has your experience as a writer and entrepreneur in New Jersey impacted your work and journey?

Not many books take place in New Jersey – at least afrom my personal reading experiences – so it felt important to make the setting in my books New Jersey. Also, write what you know, and what I know is living in the Garden State.

What strategies or techniques do you use to bounce back from setbacks and stay motivated?

Make a list in my head or on paper/computer about what I have accomplished, including the small things like making dinner perfectly. I escape into video games or TV shows/movies.

Could you share a memorable moment or success story related to your book or creative journey?

When I saw that I sold more preorders than the previous book. It wasn’t by much but it was still something. It made me feel like I was getting better as a marketer and writer.

How do you balance your creative pursuits with other aspects of your life?

I’m guilty of not writng a couple thousand words per day like most experts/writers advise. But I write when I get in the mood and avoid procrastination if I have nothing else going on for that hour or couple hours. I write down to-do lists and text myself reminders so I don’t forget to do something for my non-writing job because I was doing author stuff.

What future projects or goals do you have in mind for “Recipe for Confidence” or other ventures?

I’d love to do a book signing or a giveaway. I’m writing another book and wrote down some ideas for a fourth book. 

How do you incorporate your experiences and learnings into your social media presence on platforms like Instagram and TikTok?

I’m not much of a video person, so I rely mostly on photos or posts or Reels I make on Canva. 

Finally, what message or legacy do you hope to leave through your work and contributions to the creative community?

I’d like people to find important messages but some lighthearted escapism in my work. I’d like to be one of many writers trying to increase representation for autistic, aromantic, and/or asexual protagonists. Finally, I’d like readers to know that success is what you make of it, not how many copies you sell or reviews you get.


by Harness Editor

Harness believes that freedom of expression equals female empowerment. The truth? We’re a badass authentic community of fierce women, and we exist to help your voice be heard. Harness is here to be your safe haven. A place to shed the competition, the insecurities. This is a place to rise by lifting others. This is who we are.


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