Guest Posts on Other Blogs

Ms Stuart Requests … the pleasure of your company, July 10, 2015

Brokering a Marriage – 17th Century Style – Guest Diane M. Denton

Marriage broker – someone who arranges (or tries to arrange) marriages for others, usually between strangers and for a fee.

Why would a talented up-and-coming composer, patronized by a Queen and other highly placed individuals, engage in marriage brokering? As with most of the self-injurious choices made by the flamboyant 17th century composer Alessandro Stradella (1639 – 1682), who is at the heart of my historical fiction A House Near Luccoli, there isn’t any definitive answer as to what he was thinking.
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Unusual Historicals, June 18, 2015 and June 21, 2015

Excerpt Thursday


How do you approach developing the world of a historical novel fully in your mind?

It’s not unlike meeting a new lover, feeling the chance of the introduction, instinctively knowing this is someone you want to know better, even intimately; perhaps wondering if it’s a wise or mutual attraction, but in the end deciding—believing—the affair is meant to be. It’s as fortuitous, daunting and magical to encounter the possible subject of a next novel (or even a shorter story)—its characters, time period and setting—realizing how much you don’t know and need to, can’t visualize and will have to, how far you have to go and how long it will take; and then fearlessly embark on the adventure: discovering books, letters, websites, images, music, every significant and seemingly insignificant thing, and so much in the unknown, too.
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CT Commie Tiger Mommy (author Marina Julia Neary), June 17, 2015

Anglo-Italian connections in Diane Denton’s novels

MJN: Let’s talk about the Anglo-Italian connections.  The English have always been fascinated by Italy.  Forester had set several of his novels in Italy – A Room with a View and Where Angels Fear to Tread. In your second novel, To a Strange Somewhere Fled, you actually have an Italian protagonist going to England.  On the surface it seems like the two cultures are diametrically opposite. When you think of England, you think of bland colorless boiled food and vitamin D deprived people.

DD: Well, the Anglo-Italian connection is my blood. My paternal grandfather emigrated from Italy and my paternal grandmother was a first generation Italian born in Canada. My maternal grandfather came from Italy to New York City and ended up in Chicago where he met my maternal grandmother, her family having come to the US from Nottinghamshire, England in the mid-nineteenth century. So I have been living with the two cultures all my life.
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Hoydens and Firebrands. April 6, 2015

Modest or Unmannerly: Which Instrument Shall She Play?

Music was such an integral part of 17th century life and Hoydens and Firebrands are delighted to welcome DM Denton with a fascinating post on women and music in the seventeenth century. Diane is the author of two books set in the 17th century in which the central protagonists are musicians.

In the 17th century a refined young woman might want and even be encouraged to cultivate her musical ability and prove some accomplishment through singing and accompanying herself instrumentally—as recreation not occupation, of course. Considering her need to impress a suitor, show her figure off in the best possible way, express the sweetest tones of her personality and gentle capability of her character, which instrument should she play?
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The Seventeenth Century Lady. March 20, 2015

Alessandro Stradella: Fascinating, Flawed, Forgiven, and Unforgettable

Most of the readers of The Seventeenth Century Lady are not only fans of 17th-century history, but also of the Baroque music of that time. It is therefore my pleasure to have DM Denton here with a guest post about Alessandro Stradella – a commonly (and sadly!) overlooked composer of wonderful Italian Baroque music.

In June of 2002 I found myself expectantly listening to the music of Alessandro Stradella and an engaging encapsulation of his story replete with romance and intrigue, triumph and tragedy, like an opera drawing on the divinity and failings of gods and men.

It seemed amazing that, until that hour, as a woman entering her fifties who had long been enthralled with Baroque music, I had never heard how from Rome to Venice to Turin to Genoa, Stradella was, in his time, a celebrity and highly regarded as a composer and performer, his murder on the streets of Genoa in 1682 breaking hearts and satisfying avengers, making him a muse and miscreant for centuries to come.
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The Maiden’s Court. September 10, 2014


The bio on your website indicates that the writing bug bit you in your childhood and then life happened.  What brought you back to writing in earnest?

About eight years ago a compelling real-life story and character came to my attention and became the novel idea I was looking for. Actually, I never stopped writing altogether, just kept most of it to myself. Closeted boxes and folders of yellowing, curling paper and hopeful half-filled journals can attest to that. And even when I wasn’t actually writing, I was thinking about how I should be doing so. For an artist, whether one finds expression through words, brush or chisel strokes, or musical notation, what goes on in life is for and even because of one’s art. It takes time—more for some than others—to mature personally and creatively. Initially, writing was an escape and a refuge for me, much like reading was. What ‘happened’ as life did, was that I began to value this ‘calling’ enough to commit to it, unfold and experiment with its potential, and, ultimately, believe it could reach out to others.
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Matthew Peters. February 19, 2014


What genre(s) do you write in?

For some the question of genre is an easy one to answer. For me, not so much. I suppose if I have to put a label on it, it would be Historical Fiction. But that is a wrapping that doesn’t reveal all that is inside the package. I like doing research and assimilating it into the narrative, but there has to be something motivating me on an emotional and spiritual as well as intellectual level. I don’t like being bound by labels because of the rules they impose and expectations they endorse. So far it has been characters, real or fictional, and their stories that have initially interested and inspired me to write novels and stories. The time period has been whatever it needed to be. The poetry in the telling is very important to me; moving the plot at the expense of the quality of the writing is not an option. I am sure that makes my work more literary than mainstream.
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Unusual Historicals. April 4, 2013 & April 7, 2013

Excerpt Thursday: A House Near Luccoli


How did your interest in Alessandro Stradella grow to the point of wanting to write about him?

From the first, I was drawn to him because of the contradiction between the discipline of his work and recklessness of his behavior. It evoked a special connection for me, for I had personally seen the potential of talent and purpose sabotaged by incautious, even self-destructive behavior. The more I learned about Stradella’s triumphs and failures, and all the hard work and missteps in-between, the more I became fascinated by a personality at once charming and creative, intelligent and indulgent, cultivated and itinerant—an adventurer who made a few messes but also many masterpieces along the way.
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Royalty Free Fiction. November 15, 2012

A House Near Luccoli by DM Denton

I love the stories in history that wait patiently to be lifted out of the shadows, offering room for the imagination to balance between the known and unknown; stories that are fresh and fascinating, about someone or something obscurely rooted in the past which, with attention and nourishment, might grow and blossom into enlightening entertainment for the present.
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