JANICE: Ideas come from everywhere - from research, newspapers, history, ruins of ancient civilizations, family stories, our experiences, travel, even from music. Our love of music by Antonio Vivaldi led us to research his life and write and illustrate I, Vivaldi. He was a priest who taught violin to girls at an orphanage called the Pietà in Venice. He also composed music for them to play and conducted their orchestra which became known all over Europe.
Those orphan girls who developed into fine musicians fascinated me. I began to wonder what it was like to live in the Pietà and be Vivaldi's student. So I wrote Anna Maria's Gift to find out. Anna Maria is a young girl who is sent to the Pietà after her father's death. All she has left of him is the violin he made for her, but it carries his soul within. When she plays her violin, she hears his voice. That idea came from researching the great violin maker, Antonio Stradivari, who liked to keep each violin in his bedroom for a month before varnishing it. He believed his soul entered the violin while he slept. And he should know!
From idea, to writing and rewriting, to editing, to published book can take a long time, even years. But at last Anna Maria's Gift will be available on April 27, 2010. Please look for it!