I write novels for the same reason I read…to escape. As a woman running a business during a pandemic, I need to escape now more than ever. Most women read for the same reason. As women, we bear so much stress on our shoulders, escaping for a little while into the pages of a book makes life a bit more enjoyable. We can’t all go to Venice during carnival, sail the ocean on a pirate ship, or experience ancient Rome. When we open a book we’re transported to as many places as there are talented authors to write about them. I am not discounting men as needing book escapes, but the data shows the majority of fiction readers are women.
People often say when nominated for an award, “It’s an honor just to be nominated.” Sometimes it’s true. Forward Reviews is a such a well respected and long standing publication, I extremely honored to be a finalist . Conjuring Casanova is a finalist in the Romance genre in the Forward Reviews Book of the Year competition. The competition is extremely stiff so don’t expect an “I won” post, but I just needed to share this with you.
Here is the link to the finalist. Check it out and wish them all well as I do. If you would like to wish a little extra hard for me to win, I wouldn’t mind. Good Luck everyone and thank you Forward Reviews for this honor. https://awards.forewordreviews.com/finalists/2016/
How could research be fun? When you are researching Giacomo Casanova, I think it anything else would be impossible. I began by googling “Women’s underwear in the 18th century” for another book. Voila! Up came this Response: “No where else can the intimate details of eighteenth century life be found than in the Memoir of Giacomo.” I bought and read all 3700 pages. Not only did I learn all about the underwear from his exploits, I fell in love. Here is a man who loved women like modern men love football, NASCAR, and corporate take-overs. From his words I learned he was funny, brilliant and irresistible. I just could not help but wonder what he would think of modern women. My book brings the infamous libertine from 1774 to 2016 where he meets Lizzy an ER doc wary of love.
This story took me to Paris to see Histoire de Ma Vie, Casanova’s handwritten memoir, on display for the first time in over two hundred years. The exhibit’s security team might tell you of the strange American who should up every morning for three days and once stood with her hands on the glass case and tears streaming.
I felt the need feel Casanova’s presence in Venice, the city of his birth and his home when he wasn’t exiled. Ca Bragadin Is now a hotel but Senore Casanova lived there for nine years. I found so much inspiration in those rooms and on those lovely streets and bridges. Who says research has to be tedious? Mine was a blast and I think it is reflected in the tone of Conjuring Casanova.
Few of history’s men are more fascinating than eighteenth century libertine, Giacomo Casanova. Though he was a soldier, a gambler, a factory owner, French lottery official, and even a spy; it is his romantic exploits that enthrall us. He would have admitted that the pursuit of love was his life’s work. In his memoir Histoire de Ma Vie, Casanova details his amorous activities in all the vivid detail the eighteenth century would allow. He writes not to brag but to share his life’s rich experiences. In his words he tells of loving well over a hundred women by the age of forty-nine. There is indeed a reason to call someone a Casanova is to deem him a womanizer.
Not considered handsome, he had little trouble conquering the objects of his affection. How exactly did he do this? Casanova used words as cupids arrows. When he found a woman beautiful, he told her. Modern men could use this technique to their advantage. If your lady love is gorgeous, make sure you voice this to her…often.
Womankind, for all our strengths can be so fragile and insecure about our looks. Why are their so many industries that exist to only help us improve our appearance? So tell us you find us lovely, beautiful, and sexy. I am not a fan of the term hot describing a person, but if your lady likes it, go for it. It doesn’t matter if you said it yesterday and feel it should be so obvious to this gorgeous creature. Tell her again and again. You need to be honest or we will see through you, but tell her.
In my novel Conjuring Casanova I use quotes from his memoir to portray a Casanova brought from 1774 to modern time. ER doc Elizabeth Hilman cannot resist his descriptions of why he and anyone should love her. “The stuff of angels wings,” is how he describes the soft but jiggly flesh of her Lizzy’s inner arms. Now that’s a good line and I confess I made that one up. Who could resist this? It worked because he meant it, so no fatuous pick up lines please. Just tell us honestly how wonderful we are.
I’m sorry to steal from oldies music but The Beatles were so right. There are few things more important to us as human beings that love. Our first emotion is most likely the love for the mother who nurtures us. We grow to love others and always seek to get others to love us. All of this other-centered love sadly misses the point. The most important love of all is to love ones self. Without self love, other loves are pointless.
Giacomo Casanova spent his adult life in search of love. Perhaps, because as a child he got very little. His mother was a beautiful actress that left him with his grandmother when he was just a baby. His grandmother sent him off to school at nine. Senore Casanova spent his life searching for the love he never received. To him love was very specifically the physical love he found in the arms of a woman. Never experiencing much love as a child, I think he was entitled to define love anyway he chose. We modern lovers have many definitions of the word. There is the romantic love, platonic love of friendship, love of one’s family, and even love of ice cream. I propose that just maybe, we need to place more value on self love. How can we love another if we don’t love ourselves?
I have read Casanova’s memoir, Histoire de Ma Vie, many times and am always struck by the sadness of the man through his words. I think because his family thought so little of him, he never learned to love himself and so searched eternally. This search made him immortal. After all, when you call someone a Casanova, everyone know what you mean.
Let’s stop our searching in vain, look in the mirror and love ourselves just a little more. We are thin enough, rich enough, smart enough, pretty enough, successful enough to deserve our own love. Let’s give it a try.
Today is my friend’s birthday. Though he has been dead for 290 years, Giacomo Casanova is one of my dearest friends. I didn’t meet him in one of the Venice Casino’s he loved so much. I didn’t have the pleasure of hearing him entertain all gathered at a Paris salon with his sharp wit and irresistible charm. I fell in love with history’s most famous libertine by reading his memoir, Histoire de Ma Vie.
He wrote about his singular life with such exuberance and honesty, I somehow felt he was speaking only to me across the years. Now that’s good writing. This work, all thirty-seven hundred pages, inspired me to set the record straight about my friend. He is thought of today as a notorious womanizer, the ultimate love-them-and-leave- them sort of guy. He certainly was that. But for all his conquests, most of the time, he loved them with all his heart.
Casanova searched continually for the one woman who could make him constant. He found her when he was twenty-eight in the love he called Henriette in his writing. She was his perfect love. It ended after a few months and his heart was never quite the same. He did, however, live to love again well over one hundred times.
In my book Conjuring Casanova, I speculate what he would be like if he were here today. His imagined discovery of our technology is a guess based on his curious and brilliant mind. His love of the female characters I have created for him, well that’s just some fictional fun. I have a feeling he would approve.
So I wish my friend the happiest of birthday posthumously and will celebrate with a glass of prosecco and a few pages of his work and mine.