I’m so happy to announce that The Violinist of Venice has been published in Bulgaria – check out the gorgeous Bulgarian cover!
It is also being published in Croatia and Slovenia.
On Sunday, January 24th, I took part in the A Movable Feast event, hosted by Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I had been invited to participate back in July or so, and had been very eagerly anticipating the event since then.
Described as “speed-dating with authors”, attendees were seated at one of several round tables, and each author would sit at a table for ten minutes, talk a bit about their book(s) and themselves, and then take any questions the attendees had. Then, after ten minutes, the authors got up and moved to another table, and started over. Many of the tables were book clubs looking for future picks, and many others were just avid readers from the community. Books by all the authors in attendance were for sale, and we were available to sign them after the event had concluded.
In short, I had an absolute blast at the event. I love talking to readers, and talking about books and writing – it’s one of my favorite parts of this job. The readers I spoke to all asked such wonderful and interesting questions, and were so engaged with what I had to say. Several of them had been very much looking forward to speaking with me, which was extremely flattering!
Too, everyone at the Bookmarks organization was just wonderful, so happy that I could make it and so helpful and welcoming. Not to mention that the hotel they booked for me and the other authors – The Brookstown Inn – was one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in. My room was gorgeous, and huge! It was a little tempting to just stay in and hang out in the room, haha! 🙂 But in all seriousness, everyone at Bookmarks was just lovely, and I will take part in another event with them any time that they ask me.
It was also nice to meet so many other authors, and authors of all different kinds of works: memoir and women’s fiction and historical fiction, etc. I was definitely the newbie of the group, so it was very interesting and helpful to listen to the experiences of other authors when I got a chance to talk to them. They were all wonderful to me as well!
Then, of course, I did lots of book shopping. I only just fit all the books I bought into my suitcase to take home with me, but fit them I did! It was a heavy suitcase to drag around, but I HAVE NO REGRETS.
Of course, getting to and from North Carolina in January couldn’t be without its issues, but for once it wasn’t Buffalo that was the problem! You may recall that that was the weekend that Winter Storm Juno pummeled the East Coast, and for a while it didn’t look like I was getting to the event at all. My original flight there was canceled the Thursday before the event (it connected in Philadelphia, which of course was one of the hardest-hit cities). I was frantically emailing with the kind folks at Bookmarks most of the day Friday, trying to see if the event was still being held and if transportation from the airport could still be arranged even if I could find another flight. In the end the airline put me on a much later flight for Saturday night that went off without a hitch. Then, of course, my flight home Monday – which connected in Newark – was canceled as of Sunday night, and so I had to spend a great deal of time on the phone trying to find another. Yet again I was able to be rebooked, and so even though the weekend was not without its travel stresses, I was able to get safely there and back! Many of the authors who were scheduled to be there couldn’t make it in the end due to airport closures and flight cancellations, but there were enough of us there that it could go on ahead, and I’m so glad it did. It was truly a wonderful experience, and I’m so glad and thankful that I had the opportunity to participate. And hey, selling a few books never hurt either! 🙂
I know this post has been a long time in coming! What with the holidays coming immediately after the release of The Violinist of Venice, then working on edits to my second book, then doing a few events to promote Violinist, I have certainly been busy. But I did want to blog about the release of Violinist, and what a wonderful and amazing and crazy and stressful experience it was.
On 12/15/15, The Violinist of Venice’s official release date, I had a book launch party at my alma mater, Canisius College. The head of the creative writing program, author Dr. Mick Cochrane, was kind enough to book the Montante Cultural Center for me. It’s an absolutely GORGEOUS space, and lots of concerts and performances take place there. As a student at Canisius I sung many times from that stage – including singing music by Vivaldi. So even though it was a bigger space than I strictly needed, it was so amazing and fitting to have it there.
The Montante Cultural Center used to be a church, as you can maybe tell. And they put my book cover up on a screen!
Dr. Cochrane introduced me before the reading. This was another dream come true in and of itself, as he introduces all of the visiting writers who come to speak at Canisius and gives absolutely the best introductions – all the students in the creative writing program aspire to have him introduce them someday, and I was no different. I got pretty choked up during that part, and it just meant the world to me that he did that.
Dr. Mick Cochrane introducing me.
After the introduction, I got up and read the first chapter of the novel – I felt that, for a book launch where I was introducing the book to the world, it was appropriate to start at the beginning. After reading, I took questions from the audience for a bit.
After the reading and Q&A, I went to sign books in Montante’s reception room. Jonathon Welch, the owner of Buffalo’s indie bookstore, Talking Leaves, sold books at the event – he brought 80 books to sell, and sold every last one!
Jonathon Welch of Talking Leaves selling copies of The Violinist of Venice.
I had quite a long signing line! So many of my family and friends came to the event, and it just meant the world to me that they did. Also really meaningful to me were that some of the teachers who had influenced me the most came as well – my freshman English teacher from high school, my piano teacher from Canisius, and my creative writing professors from Canisius. It was amazing and humbling to have so many people there who were happy for me and proud of me. So far I’ve gotten good feedback on the book from everyone, and that means a lot to me as well!
All in all, it was an incredible night, and everything I could have dreamed of. It’s definitely stressful to have a book go out into the world – in the days leading up to the release and after, I was pretty anxious at the thought of the book out there where everyone could read it. But once I got over that hurdle, published author life has been pretty good, albeit not all that different from pre-published life 🙂 Here’s to The Violinist of Venice, and here’s hoping this is only the first of many book launches in my future!
I am so excited to be able to announce the title for my second historical novel, forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press. Drumroll, please! The title is:
The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli
I hope to be able to share a release date and description soon. And, quite frankly, I already can’t wait to see the cover for this one! In the meantime, I can tell you a bit about the title and how I arrived at it, though.
This is actually the third title the novel had – it had two working titles before I settled on this one. The protagonist/narrator of my novel, Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci, was an actual historical figure, and she was considered the most beautiful woman in Florence in her day – so much so that men used to fight duels if someone else said another lady was more beautiful than she. So the title is literal in that sense, but what I also love about it is the darker underside that will become apparent in reading the novel. Simonetta often wonders what being the most beautiful woman in Florence means, and if, in the long run, it really puts her any further ahead in life than anyone else – or if it even puts her further behind, in some ways. The novel deals with questions of female beauty and objectification, and so the title reflects that side of it too.
I can’t wait to share more information about this book with you, and I truly can’t wait until it’s out in the world!