General Updates

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but there’s been a reason for that: I’ve been working, in the last months, on finishing up a draft of my most recent work-in-progress, and then doing some revisions to it. So all my spare time went to that. But I’ve recently finished up work on that and am (trying) to take a bit of a writing break – though that is always easier said than done for me! I know how important it is for me to rest and recharge for a few weeks between projects, but at the same time I always get antsy when I am not writing or revising something.

Some updates on The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: I sent back pass pages for this one over a month ago, so it is officially done and wrapped up! Also, I have ARCs! Follow me on Twitter (if you don’t already) @AlyssInWnderlnd, as I’ll be doing some ARC giveaways coming up. Also, be sure to add the book on Goodreads if you haven’t already, as there will be Goodreads giveaways for some copies as well, and as many of you likely know, if the book is on your to-read shelf you’ll be notified when a giveaway goes live.

In addition, I can confirm that The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence is also being published in Australia, again by PanMacmillan Australia. I don’t have an Australian release date to share yet, but as soon as I do I will post it, so stay tuned!

I’ve done a few events and presentations in the Buffalo area in the last few months, both book club events where I got to discuss The Violinist of Venice with readers, and also some presentations where I put together a slide show on the historical context behind the novel. I love sharing the rich and fascinating history of 18th century Venice and of Baroque music, and I also love meeting readers and talking about the book with them, answering their questions and getting their impressions of the novel. Sometimes a reader’s take on a certain aspect of the novel is something I never thought of before, and it allows me to see my own work in a new light. I always love when that happens!

At the moment, as I am on my self-imposed writing break, I’ve been doing a lot of reading now that I have a bit more time. Since it’s October I am deep into my Halloween reading, working through a list of dark and creepy reads. Currently I’m in the middle of three books, and I love all of them so far: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey, and Within These Walls by Ania Ahlborn.

That’s all the updates I have for now, but check back for new news as I have it, and also some more writing and book related blog posts in the future!

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The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence – cover reveal!

I am so excited and thrilled to be able to reveal the cover for my second historical novel, The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, out 4/25/17 from St. Martin’s Griffin. Like with The Violinist of Venice, I was having a hard time visualizing what the cover for this book might look like, and once again the creative team at St. Martin’s absolutely went above and beyond and gave me a cover that is just perfect and is everything that I didn’t know I wanted.

Without further ado, here it is!

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There are so many things I love about this cover. The first is the pink color scheme. My notes in my notebook for this novel were all color-coded pink, so it’s very fitting that that’s the color scheme here. I also love how the woman looks just like the real Simonetta Vespucci (whom you can see if you take a look at Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus). The angle of her face/head also reminds me of another Botticelli portrait of her, one that she poses for in the novel. Finally, I love the panoramic image of Florence at the bottom – it’s a beautiful city, and this picture really captures that, as well as capturing its dominant feature, the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (aka the Duomo) with Filippo Brunelleschi’s amazing, enormous dome. This same vista can be seen by climbing up to the Piazzale Michelangelo in the hills overlooking the city, which I did when I was in Florence researching this novel. So to have that image on the cover is really wonderful.

I hope you all love this cover as much as I do! Please let me know what you think. And I just can’t wait for this book to be out in the world for you all to read it.

Below is the synopsis of the novel.

A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo will never want for marriage proposals in 15th century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Florentine Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome, well-educated, and shares her longtime love of reading. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.

Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence – most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici – become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most.

Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her new home, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a dangerously passionate artist and muse relationship, which will lead to her ultimately being immortalized in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.

Alyssa Palombo’s The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence is a story of love and tragedy, of passion and humor, and ultimately, of what happens when love finds us when we least expect it.

Story & Song: Part 5

Welcome to the fifth installment of my blog series that I’m calling Story & Song. Each post will feature two pieces of music: a modern/contemporary song from the playlist of The Violinist of Venice, and a piece of Vivaldi’s music that features in the novel. I’ll describe how both pieces fit into the story with a minimum of spoilers!

For Part 5 of Story & Song, I’ll be featuring a song that was very important in the writing of the book.

Lacuna Coil – “End of Time”

This is one of my favorite songs of all time, and one that really worked its way into The Violinist of Venice. As soon as I heard this song – on my first listen to Lacuna Coil’s 2012 album Dark Adrenaline – I knew that it perfectly fit the relationship between Adriana and Vivaldi: painful, bittersweet, and full of the knowledge that the end would come soon. This particular song, though, had a direct impact on the book. As I was working on draft two and making revisions to the original draft, one night I was listening to this song as I went over a particular scene. Because of this song, what was originally a lighthearted moment became heartbreaking and raw and real. The scene took a complete left-hand turn on me, and changed somewhat the tenor of things that needed to come after. It was inconvenient initially, but what I realized was this song helped me to see what that scene should have been all along. To this day that is one of my favorite scenes in the novel.

Stabat Mater – Movement 1

This is one of the vocal pieces featured in the novel that I’ve actually performed myself. This is honestly one of my favorite pieces that I’ve ever sung; it’s so beautiful and just felt so effortless to sing. I had to include it in the novel, as I came across it in my research and fell in love with it (and tracked down the sheet music as well!)

In the novel, Adriana hears this piece while attending Mass at the Pieta in chapter 53, and it affects her very profoundly. It also, in a roundabout way, leads to us learning something new about Adriana, though of course I won’t say here what that is!

An Ode to Venice: Santa Maria della Salute

In my An Ode to Venice series, I’ll be posting pictures and information about my favorite places in Venice, including those that figure into The Violinist of Venice.

For my fourth An Ode to Venice post, I’ll be talking about one of Venice’s many landmarks, the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute.

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I mentioned the Salute in my post about the Grand Canal and the Accademia Bridge – it is the massive, domed church that sits at the entrance to the Grand Canal. For as large and imposing as its Baroque exterior is, though, inside it is surprisingly small and simple.

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The church’s name translates to St. Mary of Health, and was built in thanksgiving for the majority of Venice’s population being spared from a bout of plague in the 1630s. It was designed by the architect Baldassare Longhena, and was completed in 1687.

In The Violinist of Venice, Adriana comes here to pray and clear her head after something upsetting happens (I won’t give anything more away than that). It is a place of solace for her, as before her mother died she would bring Adriana to the basilica to pray. She is accompanied by Giuseppe, her servant and friend, and they have a conversation and brief argument.

This same scene originally took place in Piazza San Marco, where Adriana and Giuseppe take a turn about the square, and but I had to change the location upon learning about Venice’s tides and acqua alta, and realizing that at that time of the day in December (which is when that scene takes place) Piazza San Marco would be completely flooded. So I moved the scene into Santa Maria della Salute, which I had visited while in Venice and thought was so beautiful that I had to work it into the book somewhere. It was also fitting that Adriana would want to pray and reflect at that point in the story, so it was the perfect location.

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Why I Write Historical Fiction

In my experience, people who call themselves writers write for many different reasons, and often for one simple one: they have a story (usually stories) burning to be told. I’m no different. Yet you may well ask: why did I choose the genre of historical fiction? What is it about stories in the past that draw me more than any other kind?

Believe me, sometimes I ask myself that question too. There are definitely days when I wished I wrote a genre that doesn’t require quite so much research. But, luckily, those are not most days.

One of the reasons I write historical fiction is a simple one, and perhaps the most obvious: I love history. I always have, something for which I credit my father. He’s a big history buff (WWII being his preferred time period) and always impressed upon my brother and me the importance of studying history, so that we (both individually and as a society) can learn from our mistakes and not repeat them, can see the patterns that repeat themselves throughout humanity. (I wish more people in the world would take this lesson to heart, but I digress). So I grew up with a strong sense that history was important. I always enjoyed the subject in school, and here and there – but with much more frequency once I hit my late teens – I began reading books of history for pleasure, and to learn on my own. Since I was a kid I loved to read historical fiction, and a pattern I picked up – and one that persists to this day – is that I will read as many historical novels as I can get my hands on about a certain time period/historical figure, and then I will delve into nonfiction on the subject.

In high school it was the Tudors, then the Borgias. The Borgias led me to a deeper interest in the history of the Italian Renaissance, and from there to Italian history in general (something that should come as no surprise, given the novels I’ve written!) I also tend to like royal history in general (be it English, French, Spanish, what have you) – a couple years ago I went on a series Wars of the Roses binge. The Salem Witch Trials are another event that particularly interests me and that I’ve read quite a bit about (I’ve even been to Salem twice). Lately, Italy during WWII and the Spanish Civil War are two periods that I’ve gotten interested in and am planning to read more about – just for the heck of it. Maybe a novel will come of it at some point, and maybe not.

So having a love of history certainly put me in to want to write stories set among the historical periods I loved so much and, as I alluded to above, I’ve always read a lot of historical fiction. It started when I was young, with series like Dear America and the Royal Diaries, and authors like Ann Rinaldi. When I was in high school I discovered Philippa Gregory, and that sort of sealed the deal for me. I have a vivid memory of sitting in my high school cafeteria, reading The Other Boleyn Girl for the first time, and thinking, “This. I want to do this.”

I definitely had the makings of a historical fiction author early on. But there’s more to it than even all those things, for me. History, whether consumed in strictly nonfiction form or through a historical novel, is a lens for all sorts of things. Something that I try to keep in mind when writing about characters that lived hundreds of years before I was born is that we are all human beings. People three hundred years ago wanted, at a basic level, the same things we want today: love, respect, freedom, financial security, the ability to live the life of our choosing. Some of them, of course, wanted power, wealth, control, fame. Just like today.

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of fiction is its ability to hold a mirror up to ourselves, the way it allows us to see ourselves reflected in different characters. Historical fiction, in many instances, allows us to see ourselves reflected in people from the past, in people and circumstances from time periods we never lived in, in places and countries we’ve never been to. At least, to me, this is what well-done historical fiction should do. And this allows us – as reading of any kind will – a greater capacity for empathy for people in the past and present alike.

On a larger scale, another thing I love about historical fiction is its ability to allow us to reflect on the circumstances of our own time, on how far we have come on certain issues and how far we still have to go. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the issues that affect us personally clearly, because we’re so close to them. Sometimes we need the distance that historical fiction can provide to get a closer look at these things.

My second book (which I hope to be able to share some more information about soon!) ended up being something of a meditation on questions of female beauty and objectification. I didn’t intend for that to happen; they’re themes that emerged organically as I wrote (and I love when that happens!) It was something of a sobering and thoughtful moment for me when I realized that the questions my protagonist was asking about these issues, back in 1470s Florence, are questions that we still do not have the answers to today. So if, when this book finally makes its way into the world, I can provoke some thought among my readers about these questions and issues, then I have done at least one of my jobs as a writer.

In The Violinist of Venice (which you all will be able to read SOON!) I think (I hope, anyway) that there is a place for readers to reflect on lots of different things, namely the way the world worked for women in the past, and how that differs or not from today. I think perhaps readers might consider things like what it means, truly, to be happy, and what it means to have the strength to live a life of one’s own choosing. I think it definitely communicates the power of music, which is something that, to me, is timeless.

And maybe that’s what historical fiction shows us best: what things, what questions, what aspects of being human are truly timeless.

Milestones

Last week Thursday, July 16th, wound up being something of a banner day for me, though I hadn’t expected it to be so when I woke up that morning. But that was the day that I got my first galleys/ARCs of The Violinist of Venice, and by that evening I had sent off my second book to my editor.

For those of you who don’t know, galleys or advanced reader copies (ARCs) are pre-copies of a book that are printed in advance of the release date for publicity and promotional purposes. They’re not final – all the changes from first pass pages may not have been incorporated, and the cover design isn’t final – but still, the pages are typeset, the copyright page is there, and it is bound into actual book form. So this was the first time I was able to hold my book in my hands when it actually looked and felt like a book – and it smells like a book, too!

I don’t know if there has ever been a more amazing moment in my life. It didn’t hit me right away, but rather it took a few minutes. I was sitting on the couch with one of the copies, flipping through it, and suddenly I burst into (happy) tears. (My dog was quite concerned). I was holding a book, a real book, full of words that I wrote. It was a book like one you might find in a bookstore, like one of the countless books I’ve read throughout my life, except this was one that I wrote.

It was an incredible, wonderful moment. My fondest hope is that anyone who aspires to write and publish a book will one day experience that moment, because there is nothing else like it. I’m still so excited; even driving home from work today I thought back to the day I started writing Violinist, and felt that wonderful sense of disbelief and happiness and accomplishment all over again.

However, once I managed to pull myself together, I had work to do. I had gotten on quite a revising roll with my second book, which wasn’t due to my editor until the end of August. I didn’t have much more to go, so I had a feeling I could finish it that night, as I wasn’t anticipating needing to make too many changes to the last few chapters.

So I did. I finished the second draft and sent it off to my editor.

Anyone who’s a writer will know that wonderful “I-finished-a-draft” feeling, and this was even better. I had come in ahead of my deadline; I had written a book that I loved and was proud of and had worked so hard on in less time that I had thought I could; and, as you’ll know if you’ve read some of my previous blog posts, this book was a problem child almost from day one and gave me no end of problems. That it had come so far after such a difficult and frustrating start – and that I had come so far as a writer in the process – felt amazing. It still does. I’m still riding the end-of-draft-high.

And even though Violinist isn’t even out yet, I’m already excited for this second book to come out into the world, partially because it was such a struggle at times. The first step, of course, is to see if my editor likes it, but I think she will. Though it’s in a different place and time period than Violinist, it’s somewhat in the same vein. It’s still me. It’s reflective of who I am as a writer and a reader and as a woman, and of my interests. In some ways I think it’s a bit darker than Violinist, and maybe deals with some heavier themes – both of which are things I didn’t plan out ahead of time, but which emerged organically as I was drafting, and then got polished up in revision.

But that’s all I’ll say about book 2 for now.

Almost as soon as I hit “Send”, of course, my brain was asking, What next? And I’m not sure. It’s a wonderful and also slightly scary feeling to know that I can start writing something brand new, something that’s anything I want it to be. And I have plenty of ideas, believe me. I’m not sure yet which one I’ll end up going with. My plan is to give my brain a few weeks to rest and refresh itself – something I’ve found that’s always necessary for me after finishing a draft – and then I’ll see which of the ideas I gravitate towards the most.

And there’s now a copy of a book that I wrote on my desk for if and when I need a little confidence boost, a reminder, a reassurance, or just a visit with old friends.

First Pass Pages and All the Feels

A couple days ago I finished reading through my first pass pages for The Violinist of Venice and sent them back to my editor. First pass pages are when you receive a hard copy of the manuscript that has been typeset and formatted how it will look in the actual book. Therefore this was the first time that Violinist looked like a real book, and so that was a pretty big moment in and of itself.

The point of the pass pages is for the author to go through the book again and make any small changes that still need to be made, correct anything that may have been missed in copy edits, etc. So I spent quite a while reading through the entire manuscript (it took me some time, it being a very long book). But really, I loved the experience. I haven’t simply sat down and read through the whole thing – just read it as a reader, without an eye to making changes or cutting things or revising – in over a year, since right before I began querying agents. For the first time, I was really able to read it as though it were a book, a for-all-intents-and-purposes finished piece of work, and not a work-in-progress.

It was very cool. I felt like I finally had enough distance, enough objectivity, to really see that it is a good book, that I really did pull it off and write something good. It’s strange how easy it is to lose sight of that more often than not. We writers are our own harshest critics, and so we don’t always give ourselves the credit we maybe deserve.

I tweeted some of my thoughts as I was reading, using the hashtag #ViolinistofVenice, so feel free to check that out, if you are so inclined.

I got emotional as I was reading the story, at all the right parts where I want readers to get emotional, and even with my new-found distance I couldn’t really tell if that was a genuine reaction to the text, or if it was just because this book is my baby. I’ll never be able to completely objective about it, I know. But just as there’s a moment in the book when my main character, Adriana, realizes that the music she writes really does and can mean something to other people, I realized that maybe my words could too.

Another big part of my emotional reaction to reading the pages – especially on the last day, when I finished reading and got ready to send it back to my publisher – was my realization that this was the very last time the book would be just mine, and mine alone. Soon ARCs will be printed and will be sent out into the world, for bloggers and reviewers and readers, and then the book and the story and the characters aren’t just mine anymore. That day was the last time it was just me and those words, sitting with each other at my desk. And though of course I want the book to go out into the world, am excited and proud and happy and nervous and anxious about it, it was a big deal to sort of acknowledge and be aware of that moment, and to cherish it.

My baby book is all grown up now.

That One Damn Scene

I’m deep into revisions right now for my second book. As you may remember from a previous post, I finished the first draft at the beginning of April, and am now working on the second draft, after having received feedback and suggestions from both my agent and my number one critique partner. I also let it sit for about a month and a half before returning to it – during which time I went to Italy to do some research 🙂 More info about that, and about the book itself, coming soon…

A month is my minimum amount of time that I let a draft sit before returning to it. Longer is better, if possible. For one thing, I know that after finishing a draft of a manuscript, I absolutely need some time to recharge, when I’m not writing or revising anything, but just restoring the creative juices. For another, I need as much distance from the manuscript as possible to help me come back to it with the fresh eyes that every writer knows are essential for revisions.

Just like the first draft, though, the second draft of this one started out very slowly. It was obstinate and difficult and was fighting with me again. I couldn’t figure out why – hadn’t I fought through this already the first time around? And hadn’t I conquered it?

Perhaps it was just the ghosts of my frustration and discouragement from the first draft coming back to haunt me. But I pushed through it, like you do, and things began picking up again.

Until, of course, I got to That One Damn Scene.

You know, that one scene that gives you trouble in every draft, that takes you forever to get through, that is just a continual struggle. I experienced this to a lesser extent with Violinist. There’s a scene where Adriana is taken to the opera by her suitor that is a) a long chapter, b) important to establishing both their relationship and later conflicts between characters, and c) did I mention long? There’s a lot of description in it, as well. Anyway, I always had to somewhat brace myself for every trip through that chapter, as it just always took forever and seemed like a whole thing. (Fun fact: it is maybe the only scene in the book that remains more or less intact, in terms of what actually happens, from the first draft. And that, my friends, is a hard and unpalatable truth about writing novels).

Yet with book two, That One Damn Scene is a beast of a completely different stripe. It took me forever to initially draft it – months, to be specific. As in, I stopped midway through that scene, wrote another, completely different book, and then came back to it.

And it took me forever to get through it in the second draft, as well.

But why? The best I can figure is that this scene is pretty important, and sets up essentially everything that hasn’t already been set up in the preceding pages. It introduces the rest of the cast of characters, as well as the most important character besides my main character/narrator. They meet for the first time in this scene. It also introduces a place/setting where much of the rest of the book will take place. It’s also a place that I visited while in Florence, and as such part of my task during revisions was to re-describe it based on what I saw while I was there.

So it made sense to take my time writing it initially, and to go through it slowly again in revision. And A LOT about this scene has changed in revision – specifically, I added a lot. About two thousand words, to be exact. Again, most of this was based on the new knowledge I gained after my trip to Italy, and some of it was fixing issues from the first draft – in other words, the whole purpose of a second draft.

And I didn’t even leave it to write another book this time – HAHA. No, really, I didn’t.

Anyway, that scene has now officially earned the title of That One Damn Scene. I now have very superstitious feelings towards this scene. I expect it to always fight with me, and to always take forever to get through, in every incarnation.

And maybe it should. Like I said, it’s an important scene.

So what about all of you? Has anyone else run into That One Damn Scene in most, if not all, of your manuscripts?

Heavy Rotation: The Albums of The Violinist of Venice

I just recently finished up my copy edits for The Violinist of Venice and sent them back to my editor. Things are really moving along now!

The evening that I finished going through the copy edits, I was playing some vinyl records (newly converted vinyl devotee that I am) and without thinking about it, one of the albums I put on towards the end of my trip through the manuscript was one of the ones that I listened to the most while working on the book initially. It made for a rather emotional moment, quite frankly – especially when one of the songs came on just as I reached the scene that it went with.

Music and writing are inextricably linked for me. Perhaps this comes as no surprise, since I wrote a book largely about musicians and music and the impact of music on their lives. Yet other than the music of Vivaldi himself that inspired and is featured in the book, Violinist also has a very carefully curated (and long) playlist of modern music, by my favorite artists, that fits in with the general storyline, with a specific scene, or was just something that I listened to a lot while writing the book and so became entwined with the story.

The full playlist will be posted later, and I have lots of fun music-related blog posts and features up my sleeve for the future 🙂 In the meantime, though, my experience while copy editing inspired me to write this post about the four albums that were on heaviest rotation while I wrote Violinist.

1. Lacuna Coil – Shallow Life

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This album, by Italian heavy metallers Lacuna Coil, came out just as I really started rolling on the very first draft of Violinist. The first single, “Spellbound”, which was released before the album itself, became the perfect song for the beginning of the book, when the tension and attraction between Adriana and Vivaldi first begins to manifest itself. The album as a whole is full of heavy, urgent songs that fit well with the story in certain places.

Songs from this album on the Violinist playlist: “Not Enough”, “Spellbound”, “Shallow Life”.

2. Delain – April Rain

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This album came out in the spring of 2009, when was I deep into the first draft. I had liked Delain’s first album, Lucidity, well enough, but April Rain, their sophomore album, made them one of my favorite bands, a title they still hold to this day. I recently saw them live for the first time when they opened for Nightwish on their North American tour. If you ever get the chance to see this band, go – Charlotte’s voice is even more beautiful in person (and the band are a super nice group of guys/girl!) I’m off on a bit of a tangent now, but I was right down in front for the show, and Charlotte liked me because I knew all the lyrics 🙂

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Anyway! Delain’s music has always been, to me, both intimate and epic – and I would love it if someone were to use that same term to describe Violinist. To this day, when the song “On the Other Side” comes on, it takes me right back to the final pages of the book.

Fun fact: I use the phrase “April rain” in the first chapter of the book as a nod to this band and this album.

Songs from this album on the Violinist playlist: Most of them! “Stay Forever”, “Control the Storm”, “On the Other Side”, “Start Swimming”, “Lost”, “Nothing Left,” “Come Closer”.

3. Stream of Passion – The Flame Within

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Another summer 2009 release (believe me when I say that I was really spoiled for music that year), The Flame Within is Dutch/Mexican progressive metal band Stream of Passion’s second album – this band can’t make a bad album, I’ve found in the years since. They write some of the most gorgeous songs of anyone in the metal scene, in my opinion. Marcela Bovio’s angelic voice, coupled with the lush piano arrangements and haunting strings, all against a driving backdrop of guitars and drums, make Stream of Passion’s music a real treat to listen to. And furthermore, their songs are so rich with emotion, which make them perfect fits for a story like Violinist, where my main character goes through so very many emotions over the course of the book.

Songs from this album on the Violinist playlist: “In the End”, “Games We Play”, “This Endless Night”, “A Part of You”.

4. Nightwish – Imaginaerum

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This is the album I put on while finishing up my copy edits. Nightwish is my favorite band of all time and space, as those of you who follow me on Twitter will know. Imaginaerum, released in January of 2011 in the US, was the second and last album to feature vocalist Anette Olzon. Though Nightwish’s most recent album and their first with Dutch vocalist (and one of my idols!) Floor Jansen, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, has the title of my favorite album of all time, Imaginaerum will forever have a place in my heart. Every note of this album is burned onto my soul. By the time this album came out, I was into the second draft of Violinist, yet this album left its mark on the book in a major way all the same. So much of what Violinist currently is came about in draft 2, with this album playing in the background. The album’s themes of fantasy, storytelling, and imagination are also perfect for a writer!

Everything I ever write will have Nightwish songs on the playlist; this band is just so deeply ingrained into my life. Their music inspires me like no other band’s does; it’s epic and thought-provoking, and manages to be both beautiful and brutal at the same time. I got to meet the band before their show that I attended in April, and I got the chance to tell Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish’s keyboardist and the main composer) how much his music meant to me and had inspired me, and he seemed to appreciate my saying so. It was a big moment for me.

Songs from this album on the Violinist playlist: “Slow, Love, Slow” and “The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove”.