A spoonful of art history

Adoration_cover_Jun18.indd

I recently found fellow Vancouver Island writer Veronica Knox on the web. She is an artist who moved to the island (I left to settle in Europe). She – like me – just happens to write books that are based on her background and studies in art history. I dropped her a line, so I could prove there is someone else who thinks writing – at least in part – about art history (and in a different, interesting way) is kind of cool. You can see Veronica’s books here: http://veronicaknox.com/books/ Adoration – loving Botticelli is one of them, a paranormal love story between Sandro Botticelli and a retired art history professor who is drawn into his 1475 painting, The Adoration of the Magi. Synopsis: a retired woman in 2014 embarks on a journey of sublime intimacy as a thirty-five year old, transported to Italy’s fifteenth-century after experiencing a supernatural connection with Sandro Botticelli’s self-portrait in this modern version of a feminine Dante in search of her star-crossed beloved. Veronica has posted the opening of the book as a sample, here:  https://adorationthenovel.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/adoration_excerpt.pdf I’m just saying: if you like museums and art and great background stories from the world and the times that created the masterpiece of the ages, you can’t go wrong with a book that has art history as a main ingredient. Veronica adds imagination and elements of the supernatural to premise what happens when people interact with famous (and often, missing) works of art. What stories could they tell? I interviewed her to find out: Are you from the island? I was born in England, brought to Canada when my parents emigrated, and lived in Alberta until after high school. I attended an art school in England, age seventeen, where I was coerced into taking graphic design and dissuaded from fine arts. I returned to Canada (Alberta) and worked in television (graphic design at CBC in Edmonton and CKVU Vancouver, and eventually art director of CITV Edmonton) as well as several local advertising agencies (graphic design). Many years later (after a career in graphic design) I flaunted my past and entered the University of Alberta as a ‘mature’ student and completed a Fine Arts degree in oil painting with classical studies and art history as minor subjects. How did you first get interested or involved in art history?  Studying art history textbooks and continually coming across the words ‘now lost.’ So, my characters tend to find them (the lost works) with supernatural assistance, ie: lucid dreaming, reincarnation (sort of) and time travel. Sounds bizarre, but it’s the only way I can travel and unravel the past and have fun. When did you first write a book?  Second Lisa, the fanciful biography of the ‘Mona Lisa’ (Leonardo’s kid sister), took three years to write although I began in 2006. It was published in 2011 and broken it into a trilogy in 2012. Did you write any books before print-on-demand? No. I joined the self-publishing throng even though I found an agent. We parted company after a year of non-communication. If an agent doesn’t bother to connect once in a while or read subsequent novels in the same genre, the rapport isn’t there. Who do you listen to in terms of getting publishing insight? Donald Maass and a few other authors of writing books. On Writing by Stephen King is great. Nathan Bransford’s new book How to Write a Novel is brilliant, as is Les Edgerton’s Hooked. How do you go about publicizing your books? I’m still working on that. Any day now… Is book writing and publishing and marketing a sideline for you, or is it a central focus? Or do you work at something else? Writing is my fulltime business. I am also a freelance editor. What do you think is the best part of the process (the writing, the publishing, the contact with readers, or something else)? Definitely, the writing. More specifically, the final draft. Writing a sentence one can’t improve upon is a thrill, and the more one writes, the more that happens. Is there anything else you would like to add on this blog post?  Just to say thank you. It’s a small club we art history enthusiasts belong to which is sad because there are so many stories in paintings and the lives of artists. I hope you will allow me to ask you some questions for my own blog. Veronica Knox’s books and paintings can be discovered at: http://www.veronicaknox.com Veronica Knox

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