Friday, April 18, 2014

Guest Post & Giveaway (international): The Towers of Tuscany by Carol M. Cram

Set amid the twisting streets and sunlit piazzas of medieval Italy, the Towers of Tuscany tells the story of a woman who dares to follow her own path in the all-male domain of the painter’s workshop. Sofia Barducci is born into a world where a woman is only as good as the man who cares for her, but she still claims the right to make her own mistakes. Her first mistake is convincing her father to let her marry Giorgio Carelli, a wealthy saffron merchant in San Gimignano, the Tuscan city of towers. Trained in secret by her father to create the beautifully-crafted panels and altarpieces acclaimed today as masterpieces of late medieval art, Sofia’s desire for freedom from her father’s workshop leads her to betray her passion and sink into a life of loveless drudgery with a husband who comes to despise her when she does not produce a son.
In an attack motivated by vendetta, Sofia’s father is crushed by his own fresco, compelling Sofia to act or risk the death of her soul. The choice she makes takes her on a journey from misery to the heights of passion—both as a painter and as a woman. Sofia escapes to Siena where, disguised as a boy, she paints again. When her work attracts the notice of a nobleman who discovers the woman under the dirty smock, Sofia is faced with a choice that nearly destroys her.
The Towers of Tuscany unites a strong heroine with meticulously researched settings and compelling characters drawn from the rich tapestry of medieval Italy during one of Europe’s most turbulent centuries. The stylishly written plot is packed with enough twists and turns to keep readers up long past their bedtimes.

Publication Date: January 23, 2014
New Arcadia Publishing
Formats: Paperback, Ebook 

Thank you Carol Cram for stopping by today and telling how The Towers of Tuscany can to be. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for a chance to win a copy of this book.

The spark that ignited The Towers of Tuscany was my musing one day about the Tuscan town of San Gimignano. I have visited Tuscany’s lovely city of towers many times over the past two decades and was always captivated by its medieval towers and commanding views over the stunning Tuscan landscape. About fifteen of these towers remain, but in its heyday in the fourteenth century, over 70 towers pierced the blue Tuscan sky. 

So I wondered: What had San Gimignano looked like with 70 towers? This thought led naturally to another thought: Had anyone painted a view of San Gimignano with its dozens of towers? My attempts to answer these questions led me on a long journey that resulted, four years later, in The Towers of Tuscany.
In the course of my research, I learned that landscape painting was in its infancy in the fourteenth century and highly stylized. Almost all paintings depicted religious subjects, the rare exceptions being the secular works of painters such as Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Simone Martini, both of whom were active in Siena during the time of The Towers of Tuscany. I decided to invent a painter who also veered from religious iconography to paint a view of the towers of San Gimignano. My painter is a woman because I was also intrigued by the idea of a woman painting during a period when painting was very much in the male domain.
And then I got a sign that my novel was destined to be written. 

While surfing the Web for sites on Tuscany, I stumbled upon the website for San Gimignano 1300, a museum in San Gimignano that includes a large scale model of the city how it appeared in the year 1300, complete with all seventy of its towers. On my research trip to Italy, the morning I spent at San Gimignano 1300 was one of the most productive of my writing career to date. 

The Towers of Tuscany is appealing to people who are fascinated by fourteenth century Italy, by the glorious art of the period, and by the workings of a medieval painter’s workshop. Most of all, people are enjoying Sofia Carelli, my spirited, talented, kick ass heroine who never gives up her passion for painting or her search for love, even in the face of almost insurmountable limitations.

The Towers of Tuscany is my first historical novel with an “arts twist.” My goal is to combine my love of the arts with my love of history to produce novels that celebrate an individual’s journey with his or her art during a particular era. My next novel (working title “Nocturnes”) tells the story of a concert pianist in Vienna in the late 1820s, shortly after the death of Beethoven and during the last year of Schubert’s life. I plan to release that novel in the fall of 2014.
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1 comment:

  1. I tweeted 7:24 PM - 18 Apr 2014@DeniseDuvall2
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