Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Violinist of Venice by Alyssa Palombo (Interview + Giveaway)

The Violinist of Venice
by Alyssa Palombo

Adult - Historical Fiction, Romance, Music
Publication Date: December 15th 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (imprint of SMP)

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.

I got the chance to interview the lovely, Alyssa Palombo, about her novel The Violinist of Venice. Check out the interview below! P.S. Don't forget about the giveaway at the end of the post!!!

1. Hello, Miss Alyssa! Welcome to the blog, it's an honor to have you. So, could you please tell us more about your novel [The Violinist of Venice]?
Thanks so much for having me!  The Violinist of Venice is a “what if?” sort of novel that imagines an affair between virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi (who was also a priest) and a promising violin student named Adriana d’Amato, who is a fictional character. The novel follows their affair and Adriana’s life afterwards, examining its effect – as well as the effect of music – throughout her whole life. The decadent world of 18th century Venice provides the backdrop, and as I found in doing my research it was a very colorful and interesting place and time in history.

2. How did you come up with the idea of The Violinist of Venice?
It actually came from a dream that I had. The dream itself was what became the first chapter of the novel, when Adriana goes to Vivaldi’s house to ask him to give her violin lessons. The dream was so vivid that when I woke up I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and throughout the day I kept daydreaming about the characters and their lives and all the things that I thought might happen to them and between them. As a musician and music fan myself, the idea of writing about music was instantly attractive as well. So I started there and did the research as I went.

3. Could you please tell us more about the main character [Adriana d'Amato] of this novel?
What's the best thing about her?
As I mentioned above, she is a fictional character, which gave me the freedom to have her life take whatever course I wanted – although, quite frankly, once she was on the page she pretty much had a mind of her own! She’s very passionate – foolishly so at times – and also very determined. She goes after what she wants, even if she doesn’t always think through the consequences. She’s only eighteen years old when the novel begins, but as it spans about thirty years of her life, I got to see her go through a lot of changes as she grew older and definitely wiser.

I do think that her passionate nature is the best thing about her, though. She wants to live the life of her choosing to the extent that she can in a time and society in which women’s choices were very limited, and she isn’t afraid to take matters into her own hands when she’s able. I think that ultimately she succeeds in shaping her own life much more so than she realizes at first.

4. What was the best part in writing The Violinist of Venice?
As I mentioned, I’m a musician and music lover myself, so getting to write about music, and to describe certain pieces of music, and to describe what music feels like as both a listener and a performer – that was all just such a joy. The passages in which I was able to get a bit poetic about music are some of my favorite parts.

Of course, I also loved going to Venice for research purposes! I had never been, and I got to a point where I knew that I couldn’t write about Venice anymore without seeing it for myself. It’s truly a place like no other, and going there was absolutely wonderful (I’ve been back again once since that initial trip). While I was there I went to a concert in which an orchestra performed Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, and hearing that music in the city in which it was written was one of the coolest experiences of my life (not to mention that the orchestra was phenomenal!).

5. Lastly, what is your message to those aspiring writers?
If you are serious about writing and publishing, you’ll definitely need to make a lot of time to write – I’ve noticed that people seem to think they’ll reach a point in their lives where they “have time” to do the things they’ve always wanted to do, and I don’t think that day ever comes; I think that if you want to do something you need to make the time to do it now, as soon as possible. And if you really love writing and are serious about it, I would guess that you’re probably already doing that.

With that said, though, make the time however it works best for you. There’s that old adage that you have to write every day, and if that works for you then great, but if it doesn’t, feel free to ignore it. I used to feel guilty because I thought I “had” to write every day and I didn’t, but what I found was that writing every day doesn’t work for me. When I’m really rolling on a project and working on it a lot, I’ll get burned out here and there and will need to take a day or two off to recharge so that I can come back to it with more of a fresh gaze. And to be honest, much as I love writing, some days I just don’t feel like it, and I would guess that every writer has those days. Sometimes I just want to spend an afternoon on the couch reading or watching TV, and that’s okay too. I still struggle with giving myself permission for those days, but I think that ultimately it’s beneficial and that I’m more productive when I give my brain a rest from time to time. So carve out the time whenever and wherever it works for you. Some writers (I am not one of them) get up super early and write before their day jobs; some stay up late (that’s me, I’m a night owl). Write on a free weekend day or on your lunchbreak or before dinner or in between errands; be flexible and grab the time when you can, even if it’s only a little bit at a time. There is no one right way to do it; whatever works best for you is the right way for you.

ALYSSA PALOMBO has published short historical fiction pieces in Black Lantern, Novelletum, and The Great Lakes Review. She is a recent a graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively, as well as a trained classical musician. The Violinist of Venice is her first novel. She lives in Tonawanda, New York.


Wait!!! Don't go yet. :-)


  • This contest is open for US and Canada residents only. (It sucks, I know, sorry INTL peeps!)
  •  You must be 13 years or older, or have parents’ permission to enter.
  •  All your entries will be disqualified if you pickup entries for something you haven’t done. (I had to do this for so many of my last giveaways, please don’t make me do this again.)
  •  If you only use ONE account to do all these tasks and enter under different names, they will still only constitute as ONE entry. 
  • If the winner does not respond to my e-mail within 48 hours, he/she will be disqualified. Then I will have to choose another winner.
  •  I am not responsible for any items lost in the mail.

1 comment:

  1. Yes. I love music and love that authors include music in books!


We love getting comments from all of you, dear Trogs. :)