Today on the Debutante Ball, I’m excited to welcome Alyssa Palombo, a fellow historical novelist, whose book THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN FLORENCE is inspired by Sandro Botticelli’s muse, Simonetta Cattaneo. Here’s what it’s all about:
A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.
Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence―most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici―become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.
This is a book I’ve been excited about for a while and I can’t wait to get my hands on it when it releases on April 25th. But a lucky winner can get a copy for free! To enter to win, simply retweet on twitter:
— The Debutante Ball (@DebutanteBall) April 15, 2017
Or share our post from Facebook. We will select and contact the very lucky winner on Friday, April 21st at noon (US Only).
Now, on to the interview!
Where do you love to be?
One of my favorite places is Niagara-on-the-Lake, a little town just over the Canadian border from Buffalo. It’s in the middle of wine country, and it’s this adorable little English-style town with lots of shops and restaurants, and every summer through the fall they have the Shaw Festival with lots of plays to choose from among three theatres. I go there for lots of long weekends with my friends – it’s a great little getaway not far from home!
Jenni: wow, this sounds amazing. Adding it to my TBV list!
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
This is a little thing, but I recently got my first royalty check (yay!) and so I bought myself some really nice headphones. They have a feature where you can calibrate them to your ears and how you hear best so you get the best listening experience. I am a total music junkie, so these were a must-have reward for myself. I’m listening to music on them now as I’m typing this, and I will never be over how good they sound!
Jenni: It’s the little things in life that matter, and wahoo! for your first royalty check. May there be many more to come!
If you were a drink, what would you be and why?
I think I’d be a glass of pinot noir – I might look deep and dark at times, but I have a lighter side too!
Jenni: love this! Cheers to you!
Have you ever tried writing in a different genre? How did that turn out?
Yes! I’ve written an adult contemporary novel, which is a lot different from historical fiction, and it was tough to make the shift in terms of dialogue and how the characters interact with each other, etc. I personally think it turned out pretty well – I really and truly love that book, and would love for it to see the light of day at some point. Who knows! It’s fun having a “love affair project”, though, that I work on sort of on the side when I have time.
Jenni: All of us at the Deb Ball have our fingers crossed for you and your mistress 🙂
Have you ever met someone you idolized? What was it like?
Yes! A couple years ago my all-time favorite band, Nightwish, played in Buffalo, and I got to meet them before the show. The lead singer, Floor Jansen, is one of my idols because, as a singer myself, I’m just in awe of her voice and how powerful it is and how many ways she can use it. She was really nice and asked me if I was excited for the show and made some small talk, and I (because I’m super cool) babbled something to her about how she’s my hero. But I did get to have my picture taken with her (and the rest of the band, all of whom are favorite musicians of mine), so it was all good. If I ever meet her again I will prepare something more intelligent to say 🙂
Jenni: haha, well I happen to think you’re super cool, too!
Thanks so much for joining us, Alyssa! And early congratulations on your forthcoming release of THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN FLORENCE, which is hitting shelves so soon on April 25th!
Alyssa Palombo is the author of the novels The Violinist of Venice and The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, both from St. Martin’s Griffin. She is a graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively. She lives in Buffalo, NY, where she can usually be found at a rock or metal show, browsing in a book store, hanging out with friends, or plotting her next travel adventure. For more information about Alyssa and THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN FLORENCE, please visit alyssapalombo.com. You can also catch Alyssa on Twitter!