Published by St. Martin's Griffin on December 15, 2015
Genres: adult, Historical, Fiction, Romance
A sweeping historical novel of composer and priest Antonio Vivaldi, a secret wealthy mistress, and their passion for music and each other
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 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.
Spanning more than 30 years of Adriana's life, Alyssa Palombo's The Violinist of Venice is a story of passion, music, ambition, and finding the strength to both fall in love and to carry on when it ends.
Today I have Alyssa Palombo here to talk about her first passion in life- music. I really enjoyed this guest post and I hope you do too. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below to win a copy of Alyssa’s book- The Violinist of Venice. 🙂
The music of my life
By Alyssa Palombo
Given that I wrote a book called The Violinist of Venice, and that that book is largely about music and its effect on a life, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that music is and has been a big part of my own life. I heard lots of great music growing up thanks to my parents: Led Zeppelin and The Who and Fleetwood Mac and Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughn and Sarah McLachlan – the list goes on. Another really formative musical experience for me was going to see the movie Nightmare Before Christmas when I was four years old. To this day it’s still my favorite movie and soundtrack/score of all time, and it was my first lesson (that I can remember) in how music can be used to tell a story. My mother is a big fan of musical theater, and when I got a bit older she started taking me to musicals that were playing in the area. To this day she’s still my go-to musical theater buddy (new project: convince her to make the trek to NYC with me for Hamilton! J)
As a teenager, I started to get bored with all the music I was hearing on the radio – I realized it wasn’t quite my cup of tea. Via the Internet, I started discovering bands that I wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to: mainly metal bands like Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Epica, Kamelot, Delain, Serenity, and lots of others. Turns out I’m a metalhead, and heavy metal remains my favorite genre to this day, though I listen to many different genres.
Given all this music I was listening to – and just like now, I would be rocking out via either my headphones or stereo at every chance I got – you might also assume that I grew up as a musician as well, but you’d be wrong. When I was in fourth grade I made a failed attempt to learn to play the flute, and as a result I spent many years thinking that I didn’t have any musical talent, when really the flute just wasn’t my instrument. In middle school and high school I took choir class for my arts credit, and I started to really love singing, even though I thought I was terrible at it.
When I got to Canisius College – where I double majored in English and creative writing – I had the opportunity to take music lessons for credit, so I signed up for voice and piano lessons. (I later took violin lessons for a short time as well, as research for the novel. I was not very good at it, but I had a ton of fun and learned a lot). I loved the piano, and I learned quickly and turned out to be not completely hopeless. But it was in the voice lessons that I really found my groove. My voice teacher quickly realized that I should be a classical singer, and started teaching me how to sing that way. I really took to it, because of course she was right – that style of singing is what my voice is best suited for. I dove into the classical repertoire – opera, art songs, and sacred music, in several different languages – and from there got really interested in music history. I ended up adding a music minor to my degree program and took classes in not only performance and history, but music theory as well. I’ve performed as a vocalist in several different recitals and also in some opera performances, and got to solo with my choir on Vivaldi’s Gloria in D.
Of late I haven’t had the time to study voice regularly, but I’m hoping to get back to it soon. In the meantime, I sing whenever I can – to practice, or just because I like to sing, and it feels good to sing. I like to play around with different ways of using my voice; lately (inspired by Floor Jansen and Charlotte Wessels, two of my favorite singers) I’ve been working on developing more of a belting voice, which is very different from singing classically but uses the same fundamental techniques.
It makes sense, therefore, that I was hit with the idea for The Violinist of Venice while in college, when I was in the midst of my own musical Renaissance. I was pouring the bulk of my energy into either writing or music, and so it was only a matter of time before the two came together. As a music lover and a musician, I couldn’t resist the idea of writing a novel about music, and music was truly my way into the story and the characters and their relationship. I started writing before I really knew anything about Vivaldi or Venice, but I loved the idea and the story so much that I couldn’t not start writing. I ended up doing the historical research as I went.
As is perhaps obvious by now, music is my biggest passion in life after writing. It is a big part of my writing process as well: I always have music playing when I write, and I make playlists for all my projects. Music inspires me, cheers me up when I’m feeling down, and has provided me with moments of transcendental beauty, as both a listener and a performer. It has worked its way into just about every facet of my life. This is one of the main reasons that The Violinist of Venice means so much to me, and why I’m so excited that it’s going out into the world as my debut novel: it’s my own personal testament, in a way, to the power of music. I’m definitely not done writing about music, either. It’s a theme that I’ll always come back to, as much as I can, because it’s something that my life always comes back to, and I consider myself very lucky to have it so.
@AlyssinWnderlnd talks about the Music of her life & has a #giveaway for a copy of her book #TheViolinistOfVenice @StMartinsPress Click To Tweet
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