I've written an 86,000 epistolary novel about a 16 year old who in 1891 sets off alone from Edinburgh to Leipzig to pursue her dream of becoming a concert violinist. It's based on a few details of my grandmother's life and is meticulously researched. In addition I've worked hard to model my language to the period.
Almost everyone else out there seems to be writing fantasy or horror or thrillers, so this is decidedly not a fashionable book. There's no sex and no violence. Can I describe it as "retro" ...
Now that I've finished the draft and am beginning to pitch it, I am not sure how to categorize it. I have had a few teenage readers look at the first 22 pages and even my 9 year old grand-daughter liked it and wanted more. Still, it seems to be finding more favour with my book club buddies.
Here's my query:
Wish to introduce “Imagining Violet”, because …...
Sixteen-year old Violet Courtenaye dreams of a career as a concert violinist at a time when most middle-class young ladies remain at home until they marry. In the summer of 1891, Violet embarks on a grand adventure, leaving family and friends behind, to study music at the prestigious Leipzig Conservatory.
In letters to her family in Edinburgh, Violet tells her story as she pursues her musical ambitions despite the reality that women violinists rarely perform in public. In the liberal atmosphere of late 19th century Leipzig, Violet embraces the new-found freedom of student life, navigates the complexities of Europe's leading conservatory and the mysteries of student pensions.
Violet chafes against the restrictive conventions of the day but is not, at heart, a rebel. In her final year she falls in love with Frank, a young Canadian pianist. Combining marriage and a career in music may be impossible but she realizes that Canada is a more open society. But if Frank proposes, her father may not allow her to marry a musician, a colonial whose father is a shopkeeper.
Imagining Violet is historical fiction in epistolary form and complete at 86,000 words. It will appeal to readers of books like Daddy Long Legs.
The author has self-published two volumes of non-fiction, Frank Welsman, Canadian Conductor (2006) and The Life and Times of the Floathouse Zastrozzi (2011) plus more than eighty articles in national magazines such as Pacific Yachting, Boulevard, Folio, Canadian Auto Dealer and The Greenmaster as well as local publications in Victoria, B.C.