Over this past year, one of my major editing projects was working with the multi-talented Melissa Muldoon on her debut novel, Dreaming Sophia.
Dreaming Sophia follows the journey of a young artist who, in the face of tragedy, follows the guidance of historical and cultural Italian icons who appear to her in daydreams and encourage her to follow her own heart to Florence.
I’m pleased to give Melissa space here to talk about how her novel came about and also give you a chance to win a copy of this daydreamy read. Giveaway details below.
This idea resonates with me, and it is one of the themes of my new book Dreaming Sophia. It is a novel about Italy and weaves together many strands of Italian culture in a mixture of fantasy, romance, art, and history. The story takes the reader on a journey from the vineyards of Sonoma California to Florence, Lucca, Rome, and Venice. Along the way, they will discover more about Italy, popular legends and illuminating anecdotes as well as film, music, and food. They will also learn a bit of Italian to boot.
Inspiration for Dreaming Sophia
To be more specific the black and white pomegranate patterned brocade dress embroidered with silver and gold thread that Eleonora de’ Medici wears in the portrait of her painted in 1545 by Agostino Bronzino. I have always been fascinated by the Duchess’ image and have imagined what it must have been like to wear such a beautiful gown.
Being an artist and art historian, I have also fantasized about being able to talk with the images in paintings that I have seen in books and museums.
What if I could go back in time and meet the influencers of Italian culture: Eleonora de’ Medici, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Simonetta Vespucci, Lucrezia Borgia, Garibaldi and even the Prince himself Lorenzo de’ Medici? If I could have a conversation with them what might they tell me about their lives and times?
More About the Book
To give a brief synopsis, Dreaming Sophia is the story a young American painter named after La Loren, the legendary movie actress. At the start of the novel, she is a woman blindsided by fate and must come to terms with a devastating tragedy.
But Dreaming Sophia is also a joyful story, at times funny and whimsical. It ultimately tells how Sophia emerges from a very dark place by tapping into her creative, imaginative powers. In Italian, a person who daydreams is said to sognare ad occhi aperti—to dream with eyes open. And this is what my character does. Through sogni Sophia meets famous Italian personalities, and they each give her a gift and a bit of advice, urging her to follow her heart to Italy and turn her dreams into reality.
I have had a wonderful time bringing Dreaming Sophia to life. I hope you too will enjoy your travels with Sophia—because dreaming is an art!
Before concluding I also want to mention that Michelle was my content story editor for Dreaming Sophia. She helped me to initially shape my ideas and focus the story line, as well as suggest the title. On behalf of Sophia and myself, grazie Michelle, for your collaborative efforts. It was a pleasure working with you!
Melissa Muldoon writes the dual language blog StudentessaMatta.com in Italian and English.
[Side note: Melissa also designed my logos for Bleeding Espresso and Goat Berries!]
She also produces Matta Youtube videos in Italian and Podcasts and co-leads Italian Language Immersion programs in Lucca and Arezzo as well as organizes Homestays with Italian teachers to improve language skills and learn more about Italian customs and culture.
Dreaming Sophia is now available on Amazon in print and e-pub versions. The e-pub book has links to art, music and film clips mentioned in the book so you can experience the book visually and aurally.
And finally, the giveaway!
In bocca al lupo!
P.S. There is also still time to vote for Bleeding Espresso in Italy Magazine’s Blogger Awards – Best Living in Italy Blog category!