Who’d like to win a story of passion, music and ambition?
Up for grabs today a book giveaway. A sweeping historical novel about composer and priest Antonio Vivaldi, a secret wealthy mistress, and their passion for music and each other.
Alyssa Palombo is a published writer and this is her first novel. She lives in Tonawanda, New York.
But first I though it would be interesting to find out a little about Alyssa, and so I set forth to ask her a few questions.
What made you want to become a writer?
I don’t remember ever making a conscious decision to become a writer. From the time I was very young I loved books and I loved to read, so writing and making up my own stories just seemed like a natural next step. I was writing short stories and poems for my family and friends when I was eight or nine, and it just continued on from there until I worked my way up to novels. With that said, the first time I read Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl was really the moment I first knew that I wanted to write historical fiction.
How long did it take to write The Violinist of Venice?
About five years, though I wasn’t working on it continuously that whole time. I started writing the first draft while I was in college, and so of course there were times when I couldn’t work on it and had to do my schoolwork instead. There was also some time within that five years where the manuscript just sat, without me looking at it or working on it – I always let a project sit for a while between drafts so I can come back to it with a fresh eye. Also, I’m something of a perfectionist, so once I realized that I maybe had something with this book – something I wanted to publish and that I thought might be publishable – I purposely took a lot of time with it to make sure it was just right. Plus I just loved working on it!
What advice would you give to other people wanting to write a book?
If writing a book is something you really want to do, make sure you’re making the time to write. A lot of people say they’ll write a book “someday” or “when they have more time”, but the reality of life is that you will likely never reach a point where you have large chunks of time sitting around, unaccounted for. So find the time in between work and family obligations and errands, etc., even if it’s only half an hour here or there. Get up early or stay up late. Write on your lunch break. Designate an evening or weekend day as a writing day and don’t let yourself make any other plans. Carve out the time in whatever way works best for you, and after a while you’ll get in the habit of doing so. Writing a book takes a lot of time, and finding that time does take work – it isn’t easy.
When you are 50, what would you like to be doing?
I’d like to still be writing novels, of course! I hope by the time I’m 50 I’m able to write full time. Other than that, who knows! My life seems so filled with possibilities at this point, and I’m excited to see what else might come my way.
What is the best piece of advice your Mother gave you?
My mother has always said “Take the time to do things right, and you’ll only have to do them once.” I used to tell myself that a lot when I was younger, when faced with some sort of chore or task or even homework assignment, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve found that it’s become second nature to me, so I don’t need to repeat it to myself as much. There’s always that temptation to take a shortcut, of course, and sometimes you’ll get lucky and it’ll work out, but it’s usually better to go the surefire route.
What is your favourite quotation?
Given the book that I wrote, it’s probably no surprise that music is a huge part of my life, and as such my favorite quote comes from my favorite song, “Shudder Before the Beautiful” by Nightwish: “We are shuddering/before the beautiful/before the plentiful/we, the voyagers”. I love those particular lyrics because they remind me to always stop and appreciate the beauty in the world, whether it’s the big, wonderful things that happen, or just all the little, perfect moments that can happen any day and every day throughout the voyage of life.
What would you tell your 18 year old self?
I would tell 18-year old me to keep working for the things she wants, because it pays off. I would also tell her to listen to her parents, because it turns out they knew what they were talking about when they would give her advice!
As the novel is set in Venice, could you give any tips about what to see and where to go in Venice?
Go and stand on the Accademia Bridge and look down the Grand Canal towards the lagoon – that is absolutely my favorite spot in the world. The view is like nothing else. Of course, you should try to see the big tourist sites – Piazza San Marco and the Basilica di San Marco, the Doge’s palace, the Rialto bridge, etc. – but one of my favorite things to do in Venice is just wander around through the streets and get off the beaten path a little. Around every corner is a beautiful old church or a lovely, picturesque canal, and you can literally spend a day walking around and simply feasting your eyes. Also well worth a visit is the quirky Acqua Alta Bookshop on Calle Longa S.M. Formosa. It’s tucked away a bit but is well worth the effort to find – books in a variety of languages are piled all over the store, and there are some gorgeous views out the back of the store as well.
About the Novel
Like most 18th century Venetians, Adriana d’Amato adores music – except her strict merchant father has forbidden her to cultivate her gift for the violin. But she refuses to let that stop her from living her dreams and begins sneaking out of her family’s palazzo under the cover of night to take violin lessons from virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. However, what begins as secret lessons swiftly evolves into a passionate, consuming love affair.
Adriana’s father is intent on seeing her married to a wealthy, prominent member of Venice’s patrician class – and a handsome, charming suitor, whom she knows she could not love, only complicates matters – but Vivaldi is a priest, making their relationship forbidden in the eyes of the Church and of society. They both know their affair will end upon Adriana’s marriage, but she cannot anticipate the events that will force Vivaldi to choose between her and his music. The repercussions of his choice – and of Adriana’s own choices – will haunt both of their lives in ways they never imagined.
Tell me about the best book you’ve ever read and why. Write your answer in the comments section below. The most creative answer wins.
This Giveaway is on for one week only – Entries must be in by 5pm Perth time, Thursday May 12th. Open to Australian residents only (sorry postage applies). The winner will be notified by email. You can enter up to three times. Further conditions can be found in Entry Conditions here.
12th May 2016: This competition is now closed: Well done Raychael! The book is winging its way to you. Rachael has been notified by email.