Saturday Historical Novelist Interview with DM Denton

I want to thank Christoph Fischer for interviewing me on his blog today. He offered some excellent questions, which made it fun and satisfying to do. Christoph is a fine author himself, and such a generous supporter of other writers. His blog features interviews, reviews, and other articles about his own work and passions, too. Hope you will go over and have a look.

writerchristophfischer

DM Denton Profile Pic 1Today I have the pleasure of introducing Historical Novelist DM Denton. Welcome to my blog, please tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and the first time you did?

I recall that as a child loving to read I also knew I wanted to write. Initially, it was an escape for me like reading was and a perfect pursuit for my introverted personality. My mother talks of my first poem, when I was seven or eight, in response to the family being together at Thanksgiving. I’m sure it wasn’t the first, the others probably well-hidden or destroyed. Actually, I can’t remember not writing—closed boxes and folders of yellowing, curling paper and hopeful half-filled journals can attest to that. All through my growing up I preferred alone time imagining characters and stories to any other activity.

Tell us about the concepts behind your…

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Be our Guest

I’m a guest at two separate sites in the blogosphere this week.

 

Illustration for Kindle Short Story: The Library Next Door

Illustration for Kindle Short Story: The Library Next Door

 

First is an interview I did with Marina Julia Neary, “America’s most Irish author to come out of Eastern Europe”. Certainly, and not surprisingly, her questions were out-of-the box and challenged me, so this interview is quite different from any I’ve done before. Here are Marina’s five questions:

What appeals to me about your work is your determination to draw attention to forgotten figures from the past. In his day, Alessandro Stradella, the heartthrob of your debut novel A House Near Luccoli, used to be something of a rock star in his day, a star that got prematurely extinguished.  How many people outside of the classical music circle know about him?

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.

Your maternal grandmother was a concert pianist in Chicago during the 1920s. What an exciting era to be in the performing arts, especially in a city like Chicago! Tell me a little bit about her repertoire. 1920s was a very turbulent time all over the world. Did the external environment affect your grandmother’s performance style?  

I am feeling uneasy about asking this question, but how much of yourself is there in Donatella?  I’m not implying that she is 100% autobiographical, but she is so well-rounded and so meticulously crafted, I sense she is your psychological child.  Perhaps, she’s not your spiritual twin, but rather a literary child.

You have a gift for illustration.  In fact, you’ve illustrated some of your own literary works.  Tell me how your brain processes the multi-media.  Do you envision an image first, and then describe it with words, or do you start off with words and then translate them into images?

To read my answers to the above
– I hope you do! –
CLICK HERE

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Also, this week and weekend I’m being hosted at Unusual Historicals: “a handful of historical authors (who) brave the wilds of unusual settings and times to create distinctive, exciting novels just outside of the mainstream.”

Here is a chance to win a copy of To A Strange Somewhere Fled.


To enter to win, you MUST comment
and leave your email address
on my ‘Excerpt Thursday’ post at Unusual Historicals
OR
on my interview this coming Sunday 6/21 at Unusual Historicals


Commenting on this bardessdmdenton post will not make you eligible,
BUT, of course, your thoughts are very welcome here
(in fact I’m feeling comment deprived of late)
 

For Except Thursday, featuring an excerpt from Chapter Three of To A Strange Somewhere Fled.

On Sunday, more details about the story behind the story will be offered in an interview.  Here are the questions I will be answering:

How would you describe your writing style?

Who designed the covers of your books?

Is there an underrepresented group or idea that is featured in your books?

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

Did your research for both or either of your novels yield any surprises in terms of historical events or illuminate a character in a particular way?

Why did you decide to write a sequel to A House Near Luccoli, why did you set it in England, and does To A Strange Somewhere Fled end the ‘series’?

What writing projects are you presently working on?

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Thank you to all who visit here

and support my efforts

at writing and illustrating!

 

 

Copyright 2015 by DM Denton & JM DiGiacomo

Copyright 2015 by DM Denton & JM DiGiacomo

The Maiden’s Court – Author Interview with DM Denton

Thank you to Heather Rieseck who recently did an interview with me on her blog, The Maiden’s Court.

 

The questions:

1. 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?

2. What is the writing process like for you?  Are you a planner or a spontaneous writer?

Alessandro Stradella 1639-16823. In your novel, A House Near Luccoli, the composer Alessandro Stradella is your focal point.  I have never heard of this man before.  What can you tell us about him?  Why choose to write about him?

4. Is there a tidbit that didn’t make it into your novel that you would want to share with us?

5. Your novel is set in Genoa, Italy – have you ever had the chance to go to the area where your novel is set?

6. You are working on a sequel to A House Near Luccoli.  How is that process going?  Did you always intend for a sequel or was it something that developed organically?

 

I hope you will take a few moments to visit Heather’s blog and read my answers here!

 

And, if you haven’t already, please visit the page on this blog about the sequel, To A Strange Somewhere Fled, and scroll down for a form you can fill out and send to ensure you’re on the email list for notification of its release.

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 Thank you all – new friends and old – for your visits, encouragement and support! It means so much to me.

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back tobardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Looking Out and Looking In

I must apologize for another self-promotion, but it has been in the cards this month, I guess.

Matthew Peters, a wonderful writer, whose novel, Conversations Among Ruins, will be published by All Things That Matter Press this year, did an interview with me about my writing.

My Interview with Diane Denton

Please welcome DIANE DENTON, AKA D.M. DENTON, author of

A HOUSE NEAR LUCCOLI

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I grew up in Western New York and have been writing, drawing and painting, since I was a child. I’ve always been most content in my imagination. From my teens I was obsessed with English literature and drama, began to dream and then plan to get to the UK. I made no secret of feeling something or someone would keep me there. The opportunity to cross the Atlantic came in my junior year of college and I spent the spring semester of 1974 at Wroxton College in Oxfordshire, a 13th century Augustinian Priory turned Jacobean Manor on extensive grounds and part of a picture-postcard village by the same name. And, yes, I did end up living in England (in that same village)—for the next sixteen years, an experience that enriched and frustrated me, but which I’m so glad I had. I returned to the US in 1990 to a lovely rural area of Western New York where I live in a log cabin with my mom and five cats.

I answered nine more questions and invite you to read the full interview!

And while you are visiting Matt’s website, please have a look at his bio and pages about his upcoming publications.

I end by offering something more like my usual postings. I know a lot of you have seen it before, but I hope it brings a little sweetness and brightness to your day or night!

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

By the window

there’s a pot

of Paperwhites

as sweet

to the scent as

they are

to the sight;

one then two,

three,

even four

and five of a kind

with their eyes

so bright,

some looking out

and

some looking in.

My Guest Spot on Unusual Historicals

Another post from me in record time! But I offer something I hope you will enjoy, including the chance for a giveaway copy of my novel, A House Near Luccoli!

Last week and this I have been featured on Unusual Historicals, a blog which regularly showcases historical fiction authors who ‘brave the wilds of unusual settings and
times to create distinctive, exciting novels just outside of the mainstream.’

House+cover+front[7]On Thursday, the site featured a blurb about my novel as well as an excerpt – one that I haven’t posted before: Excerpt Thursday: A House Near Luccoli by DM Denton

Today, Unusual Historicals features an interview with me regarding the novel and more.  Thanks to Lauren Scott, Christine Moran, Ina Schroders-Zeeders, Kim Zollman Rendfeld, Angela Nevitt, and M.M. Bennett for their excellent questions.

Drawn from among them, the winner of a free Kindle or NOOK Book copy of the novel is M.M. Bennett!

There’s another opportunity to win a free copy (in whatever format – Paperback, Kindle or NOOK Book edition – that works best for you). But you must visit Unusual Historicals and leave a comment (brief or otherwise) on the post containing my interview (remember, e-books can be given as gifts!). While you are there, check out other guest author posts. It’s a great site!

Unusual Historicals Q & A with DM Denton:

When and how were you first introduced to Alessandro Stradella?

img001I first heard Stradella’s story and—knowingly—his music while driving to work in 2002 and listening to a Canadian classical music radio station show called In the Shadows. By the time I arrived at work, I could only remember his first name! Don’t tell my former boss but as soon as my computer booted up I Googled composers named Alessandro, scrolling down all the entries for Scarlatti to finally find a few mentions of … Alessandro … Stradella!

In time I found out why Stradella—a celebrity in his time who produced a body of work that set him alongside the greatest Baroque masters—was, at best, a footnote in music history. Unfortunately, in the decades and centuries after his death, Stradella’s alluring ‘story’ took on an almost exclusively cloak-and-dagger slant in novels and operas, eclipsing his importance as a composer until his music was rarely performed. Only recently, thanks to a dedicated biographer and cataloger and some enlightened musicians, has that begun to change. In fact, I just discovered that Stradella’s “Sonata in D Major for Trumpet and Strings” was included in the soundtrack for the movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

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

117305From 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.

Finally, in the summer of 2005, I really met Stradella in the intimacy my imagination created: observing him behind the scenes in great and small ways, surrendering to his charisma, and enjoying his self-determination while exploring why he so often put his career and life at risk. I often thought how much easier it would have been if there were more details available about his appearance, personality and the events of his life, but I also realized his obscurity offered an opportunity to discover him in less public ways: through his letters, even his handwriting, and especially his music that knew the ‘rules’ but pushed the boundaries.

Is the house near Luccoli of the novel’s title an actual residence?

There is the possibility that the last place Stradella lived in Genoa was a house near the Luccoli district. The house was most likely owned by Guiseppe Maria Garibaldi, one of the Genoese noblemen who supported Stradella. I couldn’t find any specific details regarding this house—such as its exact location or whether it still existed—but for the purpose of the novel put it on the map and set to ‘building it’ based on what my research and imagination came up with. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to create a domestic setting for the meeting and developing relationship between Donatella, my fictional female protagonist, and Stradella; one that allowed the reader behind the scenes of his career and persona. The novel does, at times, escape such close quarters into the magnificence and mayhem of Genoa; but, I think, essentially remains an interior study of character and circumstance.

View+of+Genoa0003fb (2)
What surprised you the most in your research for the novel?

One of the most surprising things was discovering Genoa as a fascinating place and perfect setting for the story I wanted to write. Up until then I knew it as Christopher Columbus’ birthplace, otherwise—if most travelogues of Italy were anything to go by—for passing through on the way to somewhere else or avoiding altogether. La Superba (The Superb One) is a vertical city, back-dropped by the Apennine Mountains, surrounding a bay looking out past its famous Lanterna (lighthouse) and the Ligurian Sea towards the eastern Mediterranean. It has splendid churches, palaces and villas; but, also, in its medieval center, a labyrinth of narrow caruggi (alleyways) full of poverty, danger and sudden beautiful entrances to half-hidden palazzi. It is a conflicted place with, as Stradella’s chief biographer, Carolyn Gianturco, wrote, “a climate of public puritanism and private crime.” The novel is about human contradictions, too: Stradella’s, of course, but also Donatella’s. Genoa has been called “the most English city in Italy”, and so proved an apt location as Donatella is a ‘daughter’ of both countries. 

Were you tempted to write yourself into any of the characters?

donatellawquillunshadedI was more than tempted. I knew I was there from the opening lines, disguised and revealed in the character of Donatella. Like me, she is Italian and English, a writer and artist, gardener, companioned by cats, wrapped up in solitude, contradictions, moods, and memories, and addicted to music’s presence in her life. Certainly, I could understand her struggle with surrendering to Stradella’s charm, talent and impetuosity; how it felt to be amazed, flattered and bewildered by such an attraction; and that in the end so much and so little changed for her through knowing him. This was a very personal story for me to write. Even more so once it was published, life imitating art when Donatella’s quiet grief and onward journey became my reality, too.

How did you write about music and are you a musician yourself?

I knew the most important thing to do was listen—constantly listen, Stradella’s music a soundtrack to the conceptualizing, researching, and writing of the novel until I was living with and even haunted by it like an invisible presence. Of course, I did refer to academic sources, and the notes on CD sleeves were also a great help. I used some musical terminology as it offered imagery the poet in me found too lovely to resist!

I have played the piano, guitar and Celtic harp, and sung a little. The pleasure I find in trying to translate music into words might come from my regret at not having pursued a musical career. I suppose writing about music is another way of participating in it. I found it very satisfying. I never set out to try to imitate, explain or even describe music, but somehow convey its elusive existence in the heart and spirit.

This question makes me think of the 1991 French movie about the 17th century composers Marin Marais and Sainte-Colombe, Tous les Matin du Monde that asks: “What is music?” Sainte-Colombe insists words cannot describe it—that it is the sound of the wind, a painter’s brush, wine pouring into a cup, or just the tear on a cheek. I agree that it is impossible to express the essence or the effect of music in words, but I hope my readers experience something of its beauty and power through what I have written, especially as it is inexpressible.

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

How long did it take you to find a publisher for the novel, and what are you currently working on?

From completion to publication of A House Near Luccoli took about four years. Initially, I had submitted to literary agents for a year or so, but—perhaps sooner than I should have—gave up; except for creating a website which was eventually noticed by the novelist Mariana Julia Neary who was influential in my signing with All Things That Matter Press. My affiliation with this small publisher has proved to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me, not only because of their willingness to publish the novel, helping me to make it the best it could be while honoring its vision and voice even to the extent of using my own artwork and design for the cover; but also because of the dedication and ongoing patience and encouragement they extend to all their authors.

I am currently working on a sequel to A House Near Luccoli which I hope to have completed by late spring or early summer. I continue to write poetry and small prose pieces accompanied by artwork for my blog, and have just published an illustrated poetry journal entitled, A Friendship with Flowers.

A House Near Luccoli is available in Paperback and Kindle Edition at amazon.com and as a NOOK Book at barnesandnoble.com; soon to be an audio book.
Diane invites you to visit her website: http://www.dmdenton-author-artist.com/, where you can find more information on her publications, view her prose and poetry portfolio and artwork.
You can also find her on:

Thank you for taking the time to read and hope you have put your word in over at Unusual Historicals for the giveaway!

 

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

What Would You Like to Know?

Flower Question Mark-page-0 (2)This post is a little different for me, but I am hoping some of you might be able to help.
Regarding my novel, A House Near Luccoli published by All Things That Matter Press: I will be doing an interview in early April for Unusual Historicals, a blog where historical authors brave the wilds of unusual settings and times to create distinctive, exciting novels just outside of the mainstream.
For those who don’t know, the novel imagines a fictional intimacy with one of the most legendary and yet obscure composers of the 17th century, Alessandro Stradella. Set in Genoa where Stradella seems to have made a new start after being involved in scandals that forced him to flee Rome, Venice and Turin, his professional and personal life have begun to unravel once more. The novel begins as he moves into a new apartment to the curiosity and consternation of its caretakers. At first, one of them, Donatella, is in awe of and certain she will have little to do with Stradella. Slowly, his ego, playfulness, need of a copyist and camouflage involve her in an inspired and insidious world, exciting and heartbreaking as she is enlarged by his magnanimity and reduced by his missteps, forging a friendship that challenges how far she will go.
Of course, if you have read the novel or are reading it, I would love to know what you would like to know about it.
Even if you haven’t read it, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions on the kind of questions you might like to ask an author about their work specifically or generally or otherwise. (You can read more about the novel at its page on my website.)

Cover Artwork by DM DentonCopyright 2012



Just put any suggestions in a comment to this post. All those who do offer interview questions will go into a draw for a free Kindle or NOOK Book edition of the novel. (If you already have a copy, it would make a great gift!)
I look forward to your ideas! Thank you in advance.




PS: Likes, Ratings, and Reviews are always welcomed, whether on amazon.com, barnesandnobleGoodreads, or all three – and don’t forget my Facebook Author Page! (I am always willing to return the favor.)



©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.