Kris Waldherr is an all-around fantastic book/story creator. Her novels are filled with history accompanied by strikingly beautiful artwork that’s absolutely mesmerizing. After having read Doomed Queens, and having been totally enthralled by it (read my review here)- I now really look forward to reading and reviewing The Lover’s Path. I’m especially excited because the novel is based on 16th c Venice, a courtesan, palaces- and all the stuff I’m crazy about. So, be sure to come back and read my review very soon:)
Knowing how fascinated I am about Venice, its splendid beauty and rich history, you can just imagine how thrilled I am to present to you today the amazing Author/ Artist, Kris Waldherr! Kris has graciously agreed to answer some questions for Enchanted by Josephine.
Welcome Kris Waldherr!
As you probably already know, here at Enchanted by Josephine…we’re very Venice-inclined;)
So, we’d love to know what is your fascination with Venice? Where –or- what would you say was the most enchanting place you’ve visited or seen there?
The short version is that it's the most beautiful city I've ever visited. When I first visited Venice almost twenty years ago, I felt bowled over by the architecture, the art, the sea, the history -- my senses were stunned by everything I experienced. While I didn't succumb to Stendhal syndrome in Venice, I felt opened up to artistic inspiration in a way that I hadn't before. Afterward I became determined to use the setting of Venice in my art and writing. From there, THE LOVER'S PATH developed organically over the years, along with the art for the love-themed tarot cards that accompany the book. These ultimately made their way into the Love Tarot iPhone app.
There are so many places that I love in Venice that it's nearly impossible to choose one. I find the Ca' d'Oro to be especially enchanting. It definitely inspired the palazzo where my heroine Filamena lived in THE LOVER'S PATH. Though it's not in Venice proper, I also adore La Malcontenta, a villa in the Brenta River valley. That would be my ideal fantasy house!
How did you learn about Filamena and what inspired you to write about her?
Interestingly, I first learned about Filamena's sister Tullia Ziani -- it was Tullia who led me to Filamena, my heroine of THE LOVER'S PATH.
Tullia's character was based upon the similarly named Tullia d'Aragona, a famous courtesan who lived in sixteenth century Italy. The real life Tullia was known for her intellect and lute playing. When she wasn't seducing powerful men, she was also a poet and a writer who published a book entitled DIALOGUES ON THE INFINITY OF LOVE. She used her publication of the book as an venue to avoid penalties under the 1543 sumptuary laws enacted in Italy; these punitive laws especially affected courtesans and their abilities to make a living.
While I was researching Tullia, I learned that she had a much younger sister. Though there was little documentation about this sister save her name -- Penelope -- and her death at an early age, I knew that this was where my book needed to start from. After reading about Tullia d'Aragona and her sister, I wondered what it could have been like to be related to such a notorious courtesan; how it would affect your ability to love romantically, to create a life. In my novel, I named my Tullia's sister Filamena, inspired by the Greek myth of Philomela, who escaped attackers by transforming herself into a nightingale.
So Filamena's character was created from a combination of fact and fiction.
If you had to compare your heroine with a woman in today’s time, who would it be?
That's a great question! In some ways Filamena reminds me of a diva like Maria Callas. While Filamena is very young in my novel, she grows into her talents and becomes powerful despite scandals and heartbreak, just as Callas did. Both women share an element of fate affecting their lives despite their best intentions. However, Filamena has far less of a tempestuous personality, though she's quite passionate.
How important has Tarot reading become in your own life and in your creative endeavours?
I'm very interested in Renaissance imagery, such as that found in the tarot or alchemy manuscripts. It was a natural for me to incorporate these into THE LOVER'S PATH, especially after I learned that courtesans of this era sometimes relied upon fortunetelling to empower themselves. For example, there's a scene in my book where Filamena is given a rather eventful tarot reading with the cards that appear in the Love Tarot app.
From a creative standpoint, tarot can free up inspiration when you feel stuck. At the very least, they give you another opinion to consider! If you spend any time perusing tarot cards, you'll see stories within stories on them, something which Italo Calvino plays with in his novel THE CASTLE OF CROSSED DESTINIES.
I've been working with the tarot since I was a teenager. I do read tarot for people, but I approach my readings from a Jungian-psychological standpoint rather than as a fortuneteller. That written, sometimes surprising facts emerge during a reading that can't be explained away by coincidence. It can be eerie.
Any recommendations for newbie-at Tarot reading and Tarot iphone users?
Sometimes people invest tarot cards with powers they don't possess. Ultimately, the cards are a tool to examine your life and (hopefully!) gain guidance. Though the Love Tarot app includes written meanings for each card, I always encourage people to trust their own instincts. What usually happens is that after working with the tarot for a time, you'll start to get a feel for how a card relates to your life. I also tell people that if you don't like what a tarot reading suggests, your next step is to find a way to transform your situation. You always have free will -- nothing is written in stone.
Where do you go from here? What interesting new projects will you be venturing in?
I'm at work on a follow up to DOOMED QUEENS about princesses in culture and history. I'm very excited by the way the book is unfolding, but it's a more complicated story to research and write than the one-two punch of DOOMED QUEENS. The book is turning into an exploration of women's aspirations and expectations. I also have other iPhone apps I'm planning to design. I've been yearning to venture into the digital frontier of publishing for some time now, so iPhone apps are a good fit for me. My work studio also doubles as a gallery that I curate exhibits and events for.
Frankly, I'm rarely not at work on a creative project these days! I just need to find more time to do it all.
Thank you so much Kris for a terrific interview!
And Now...for a Most Original GIVEAWAY...
Well- Kris is offering this fantastic iPhone app to one lucky winner!!!
( US Only)
1 Chance: Leave a comment
2 Chances: Post, Tweet, Facebook about this giveaway (send me the link)
5 Chances: Post the app image announcing this giveaway on your sidebar (send me the link to your blog)
5 more Chances: Become a Follower (If you're already a follower you get this automatically)
Winners Announced on November 1st
Good Luck To All!!