Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Virgin and the Griffin




That's the title of my novel, which I am close to publishing as an e-book. The manuscript is now being formatted, the cover is ready, so once all the technical details are wrapped up, I'll be publishing.


My novel, which I began work on three years ago, is a piece of historical fiction, set in Perugia at the beginning of the 16th century. In many ways, it was inspired by a gorgeous textile that I bought several years ago from Marta Cucchia, a very talented weaver in Perugia who is trying to keep the Umbrian weaving tradition alive at her family's Giuditta Brozzetti laboratorio.



This is my first novel, so I suspect there will be mistakes and criticisms but I hope these will help me to improve my  writing in my next novel, now in the works.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself!

The Virgin and the Griffin tells of a young woman's struggle to find a measure of joy and beauty in a violent, fear-filled society in a Renaissance Italian city fractured by politics and war, yet a place where great beauty and love are still possible.

In 1504 Perugia, an ancient city in central Italy, is a place of great art, great violence – and a great many secrets. Isabella Bevilacqua, a young weaver in her family's small workshop, understands this very well. Her dreams of creating a work of great beauty must, like her burgeoning relationship with the enigmatic Father Michele Gialletti, remain carefully hidden from her family and from Perugia's powerful weavers' guild.

Keeping secrets is essential to survival in this city, where wealthy and jealous noble families clash viciously on the streets, in the piazzas – even within the Cathedral of San Lorenzo....

Much of the background to my novel is based on facts: Pope Julius, known so well for commissioning Michelangelo to paint the Sistine ceiling, did in fact march an army on Perugia to control the warring families. Great painters discussed in the novel, such as Raphael, really did live and work in Perugia.

And Perugia is, of course, a beautiful, mysterious, sometimes marble-hard city that fascinates.



I can't wait to publish my novel and bring my characters to life!




18 comments:

Trekcapri said...

Hi Sandra, how exciting. I can't wait to read your first novel. It sounds so intriguing and it is interesting how the idea started with the beautiful textile you purchased. I love the preview of your main characters already so I know that I will enjoy reading your book.

Thanks so much for sharing. I'm so excited for you. Have a great Sunday.

Mary in Umbria said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mary in Umbria said...

What great news. I am as thrilled as you are.

Deb said...

And I can't wait to read it! Buona fortuna, Sandra

sandrac said...

Thanks so much, Kathy -- I appreciate your enthusiasm! Hope you have a great week.

Mary, your support throughout this project has been so crucial to me...in fact, it all started at Genius Loci! (A topic for my next blog post.)

Thank you, Deb!

Colleen said...

Sandra, your story sounds very appealing to me! I look forward to the opportunity to read more. Best wishes to you!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Even more... we can't wait to read it!
I am a fast reader, you'd better get started on the next, and the next.
:-)

sandrac said...

Thanks so much, Colleen -- I hope you'll read it and let me know what you think. Seriously.

Hi Sandi, I've been a bit slow working on the second novel (not a sequel) but you're reminding me to quit slacking off!

Susie L said...

Sandra, the plot sounds fascinating and I love the title. I am so impressed with all that you have been doing!

I remember your blog posts about that beautiful textile. And didn't you take a workshop with the weaver? I seem to recall a photo of your own piece of handiwork?

sandrac said...

Susie, that's so kind of you to remember! I did take a weaving workshop with Marta at Brozzetti Laboratorio (she has extraordinary patience!) as well as her mother, who is an historian of Umbria and the region's textiles. It was so helpful!

madonnadelpiatto said...

Sandra, I now this is a moment you have waited and worked for. I so love the book having had the privilege to read it before. The book is wonderful and I am sure it will be a success surely with all the friends who love you and appreciate you and your wirting over the years and corss fingers with the bi world out there. As we say in Italy, we are all with you, forza Sandra!

sandrac said...

Letizia, I so much appreciate all of your support and the very helpful feedback you gave me when you were reading the manuscript. I really am blessed to have such wonderful friends!!

Kathryn said...

Congrats! It seems very 21st century to e-publish.
As soon as it is available I'll buy it and I'll request that the local library buy it! OK I'll read it too, but I'm not a great reader so it may take me a while (I'll get my sisters to read it - they'll zip through it - and I know other readers too).

sandrac said...

Hi Kathryn, thanks so much! I really appreciate the support, and the word-of-mouth is also greatly appreciated. I think this will be the 21st century way to market novels!

I plan to price my book around $4, at least initially, to try to build a readership and not demand too large a financial commitment.

Ciao Girl said...

I'm so excited about this news! I knew "something" was in the works but I didn't realize you were so close to publishing. Excellent!!!

The theme, the setting ~ time and place ~ are just the sort of read I love. Can't wait! I'll recommend it to my book group...historical fiction is our favorite. And perhaps there will be an opportunity to e-mail and discuss the book with the author?

Congratulations!

sandrac said...

Thanks so much, Heidi! I hope that you and your book club friends are able to read it and that you enjoy it.

And of course the author would be very pleased to take part in a discussion -- perhaps via Skype if the book club wishes.

JDeQ said...

Wonderful - I can't wait to hear the one year update in person when I'm in Rome in december. *smile*

sandrac said...

Thanks, Jerry -- I'm looking forward to it!