But, you'll have to wait for my entire reaction when I post my review...but for now, be sure not to miss this April Release!
Today, I have an exceptionally delightful guest post by the lovely author, Kate Quinn, herself:)
Did you know she used to be an opera singer?! I wondered how this might have been related to her Historical fiction writing..hmmm. Let's read what Kate Quinn had to say.
PCs and High C’s
I’m a writer who has been trained as an opera singer, and I gather this makes me an anomaly. Certainly a long legato and a ringing high C are not essential traits for someone who sits at PC all day composing fiction. I don’t even listen to opera as I write – it’s too distracting, and before long I’ve stopped debating word choices and am singing along with a dying Mimi or a screeching Tosca. (My neighbors love that.)
I don’t write about opera – my passion is historical fiction, and ancient Rome hadn’t gotten quite that far musically yet. But my love for opera may have slanted me towards historical fiction anyway, because the two genres do have some marked similarities. Both work on a grand scale, both wow you with panoramic vistas of palaces and battlefields, and in both, passions always run high. People in operas are always falling madly in love, quarreling violently, and then trying to kill each other – sounds an awful lot like Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn to me. Donizetti wrote an opera about Anne Boleyn, by the way. Other operas have been written about the romance of Caesar and Cleopatra (Handel), Catherine de Medici’s daughter Elisabeth and her Spanish king (Verdi), and Lucretia Borgia (Donizetti again). So maybe opera has been serving historical fiction for a while now – certainly it affected my own writing of Mistress of Rome. When I tore off a scene in the Colosseum full of crowds baying for blood, Puccini’s maddened Act I chorus of Turandot played through my head as his bloodthirsty Chinese peasants called for a prince’s execution. When I had my evil villainess Lepida bristling at her slave girl for daring to get the man Lepida wants, I heard Verdi’s Amneris spitting venom at the long-suffering Aida. When my heroine Thea told her gladiator how much she loved him, Verdi’s Violetta and her impassioned “Amami, Alfredo!” rang through my ears.
In any case, here are a few lessons I have culled from my operatic training for the better writing of historical fiction – and, perhaps, life in general.
1. Never let facts get in the way of a good story. (Verdi’s Don Carlos, Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux. Both operas that blithely murdered historical truth in the name of entertainment.)
2. Never throw a baby in the fire without checking the nametag first. (Verdi’s Trovatore. Glorious music; the stupidest baby-switching plot ever written.)
3. Never seduce a veiled woman or a masked man – guaranteed, it is not the person you think it is under there. (Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. Mozart liked masks. One wonders what Mrs. Mozart thought about that.)
4. Never fall in love with someone who coughs a lot, because you will be left sobbing, desolate, and alone. (Puccini’s La Boheme; Verdi’s La Traviata. Operatic heroines with tuberculosis are popular because TB creates slender women with bright eyes and flushed cheeks – though I don’t know how they do all that singing on half a lung.)
5. Never force a woman to take a man she doesn’t love, because she will stab him first chance she gets. (Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor; Puccini’s Tosca. These girls knew how to wield a knife.)
6. Never swap boyfriends, even as a joke, because you will get burned. (Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. I guess swingers existed even in 18th century Vienna.)
7. Never marry a woman who writes passionate love letters to total strangers. (Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Strangely, Tchaikovsky neglected to follow his own advice. He married a woman who wrote him a passionate fan letter, and of course she was a nutcase.)
8. Never date a girl until you find out her former boyfriends are all alive and well. (Puccini’s Turandot. His heroine sends her suitors to the block for losing riddle contests.)
9. Never fall for a guy who idolizes his mother, because eventually he will run off with a floozy. (Bizet’s Carmen. Freud would have had a field day with this one – mommy issues galore.)
10. Never try to keep your daughter a virgin by surrounding her in a ring of fire, because a) it won’t work, and b) you will end up burning down the whole world. (Wagner’s Die Walkure. Daddy issues galore.)
I still love opera, even though writing seems to have won out for me as a career. I play a lot of opera in the car where I can sing along without getting irritated shouts from neighbors, and I still know every note of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro by heart (it’s my favorite). I go the opera whenever I can – San Diego Opera’s La Boheme was my most recent outing, and no matter how many times I’ve seen Mimi die, I’m still a wreck by the end of Act IV. Someday I may even write a book about an opera.
Come to think of it, Verdi’s Aida would make a terrific historical fiction novel . . .
Thank you so much Kate! What an interesting guest post- doesn't she sound amazing?
And now, here's more fun...PenguinGroup is graciously offering a copy of MISTRESS OF ROME to one lucky winner!! US only.
And!!! Author Kate Quinn has also graciously agreed to mail out one copy to another lucky winner!!
So- Now we will have TWO LUCKY WINNERS!!
THANK YOU SO MUCH!
1-To enter you must be a follower of this blog:)
2- Get 1 extra chance everytime you tweet or blog about this and come back here with the links.
3- Get 5 extra chances for posting this on your sidebar.
Good Luck!! WinnerS announced on Saturday April 17th