Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blog Tour (Interview & Giveaway): Color Song by Victoria Strauss





Title: Color Song (Passion Blue #2)
Author:
Victoria Strauss
Publisher: Skyscape (Amazon)
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Acquired Via: Historical Fiction Blog Tours

By the author of the acclaimed Passion Blue, a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2012 and “a rare, rewarding, sumptuous exploration of artistic passion,” comes a fascinating companion novel.

Artistically brilliant, Giulia is blessed – or cursed – with a spirit’s gift: she can hear the mysterious singing of the colors she creates in the convent workshop of Maestra Humilit√†. It’s here that Giulia, forced into the convent against her will, has found unexpected happiness, and rekindled her passion to become a painter – an impossible dream for any woman in 15th century Italy.

But when a dying Humilit√† bequeaths Giulia her most prized possession – the secret formula for the luminously beautiful paint called Passion blue – Giulia realizes she’s in danger from those who have long coveted the famous color for themselves. Faced with the prospect of lifelong imprisonment in the convent, forever barred from painting as a punishment for keeping Humilita’s secret, Giulia is struck by a desperate idea: What if she disguises herself as a boy? Could she make her way to Venice and find work as an artist’s apprentice?

Along with the truth of who she is, Giulia carries more dangerous secrets: the exquisite voices of her paint colors and the formula for Humilit√†’s precious blue. And Venice, with its graceful gondolas and twisting canals, its gilded palazzi and masked balls, has secrets of its own. Trapped in her false identity in this dream-like place where reality and reflection are easily confused, where art and ambition, love and deception hover like dense fog, can Giulia find her way?

This compelling novel explores timeless themes of love and illusion, gender and identity as it asks the question: what does it mean to risk everything to follow your true passion?


Interview

Kayla: Hi Victoria, I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by Bibliophilia, Please for your blog tour! Do you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?

Victoria Strauss: I write for both adults and teens--nine books so far. My first love is fantasy, but I also write historical novels. My two most recent books, Passion Blue and Color Song, are YA historicals with a touch of magical realism.

I'm also co-founder of Writer Beware, a unique anti-fraud resource that educates writers about the many scams and schemes that target them, and about the publishing industry in general. When Writer Beware started up in 1998, we hoped we'd eventually put ourselves out of business--but the growth of self-publishing and small press publishing over the past 10 or 15 years has given birth to a whole new range of scams. Writer Beware is busier now than it's ever been.

What else?...I'm a fanatical gardener, a bit of a health nut, a voracious reader and movie buff, and I spend way too much time online.

Kayla: Since your book Color Song, and the previous book about Giulia, Passion Blue, seem to be very art-centered, I have to ask – are you an artist in addition to being a writer?

Victoria: I wish! I can barely draw stick figures. But I've always loved art and painting. I loved going to museums when I was a child, and in college I took art history courses. I've long been fascinated by the handful of female artists of the Renaissance, who managed to forge careers in spite of the rigid conventions and prejudices of their time, but who were almost forgotten in the centuries that followed. Those courageous women inspired both Passion Blue and Color Song.

Kayla: Does the reader need to read Passion Blue first, in order to understand the events in Color Song?

Victoria: I wrote Color Song to stand alone. There is backstory, but it's incorporated into the narrative so the reader doesn't get lost. So yes, you can read Color Song without having read Passion Blue--though of course reading Passion Blue first would add to the enjoyment.

Kayla: What is your favorite piece of artwork from the same time period as your two books? (You can either attach a picture or give me the title. I would like to include it on the blog post.)

Victoria: It's almost impossible to choose! But I think it would have to be Giovanni Bellini's magnificent portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan, painted in Venice around 1501 (link to image: http://venicewiki.org/images/f/f0/Bellini_-_Leonardo_Loredan.jpg ). It's almost photo-real, and yet clearly a painting, with its beautiful blue background. The Doge's face is both commanding and serene, and every detail of his sumptuous brocade robe is clear.

Bellini was the most famous Venetian painter of his time. He makes a brief appearance in Color Song, as the judge of a painting contest Giulia hopes to win.

Kayla: What is your favorite distraction when you’re writing?

Victoria: Almost anything, really! I'm a highly distractable writer, and a major procrastinator. The biggest pitfall for me is the Internet. If I get stuck on a difficult scene, or if I'm having a problem figuring out what comes next, or if I need a bit of spot research, it's way too easy to go online and get lost there. When I'm writing, I use a program called Freedom that blocks Internet access for a pre-determined amount of time. It's a big help in keeping me on track.

Kayla: Which books or authors or artists would you say have affected or inspired your work the most?

Victoria: That's a tough one! Growing up, I loved Susan Cooper, T.H. White, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula Le Guin, Madeline L'Engle, Andre Norton, Lloyd Alexander, Rosemary Sutcliffe, and so many more. When I got older I discovered Samuel Delany, William Golding, and wonderful historical writers like Cecilia Holland and Robert Graves. I don't think I could pick one, or even two or three, that had the most influence; all of them have touched my writing, and all have inspired me to try to write as passionately and as well as they do or did.

Kayla: What are you currently reading?

Victoria: Brandon Sanderson's Words of Radiance, the second installment of his Stormlight Archive fantasy series. It's going to take me a while to finish--it's over 1,000 pages. I love big books.

Kayla: Which upcoming novel are you most looking forward to reading?

Victoria: The Rule of Thoughts, Book 2 of James Dashner's Mortality Doctrine series. Dashner writes great adventure stories.

Kayla: Finally, do you have any upcoming projects of your own that we can look forward to?

Victoria: I'm working on a YA fantasy that doesn't have a title yet (I'm superstitious about titles--I don't usually decide on them until a book is nearly done). It's about Celine, the adopted daughter of a professional poisoner, who has been trained by her father to tend his garden of lethal shrubs and flowers. One night a thief climbs over the walls of their isolated mansion to plunder their wealth--but as he attempts to escape he's poisoned by one of the deadly plants. Celine finds him and saves him. She also finds that among the things he has stolen is a box her father never allowed her to open. Inside is a secret about her birth that makes her and the thief unlikely allies, and launches them on a dangerous quest.

Kayla: Thank you so much again for your time!

Victoria: My pleasure.

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound



About the Author

Victoria Strauss is the author of nine novels for adults and young adults, including the Stone duology (The Arm of the Stone and The Garden of the Stone), and a historical novel for teens, Passion Blue. She has written hundreds of book reviews for magazines and ezines, including SF Site, and her articles on writing have appeared in Writer’s Digest and elsewhere. In 2006, she served as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards.

An active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), she’s co-founder, with Ann Crispin, of Writer Beware, a publishing industry watchdog group that tracks and warns about literary fraud. She maintains the popular Writer Beware website, Facebook page, and blog, for which she was a 2012 winner of an Independent Book Blogger Award. She was honored with the SFWA Service Award in 2009.

She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Links
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 16
Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Book Blast at The True Book Addict

Tuesday, September 17
Review at Oh the Books
Book Blast at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, September 18
Review at Casual Readers
Review at Leeanna.com (Passion Blue)

Thursday, September 19
Review at Leeanna.com

Monday, September 22
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Feature at Oh the Books

Tuesday, September 23
Book Blast at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, September 24
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective
Interview at Bibliophilia, Please
Book Blast at Reading Lark

Thursday, September 25
Book Blast at A Book Geek

Friday, September 26
Review at Reading Room Book Reviews
Book Blast at Just One More Chapter

Monday, September 29
Review at Tribute Books Mama
Interview at Math, Science & Social Studies…Oh My!

Tuesday, September 30
Review at Book Babe
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, October 1
Review & Interview at Bookish
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Thursday, October 2
Review at Brooke Blogs
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Friday, October 3
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Book Blast at The Lit Bitch

Saturday, October 4
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing

Monday, October 6
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Book Blast at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, October 7
Review at A Leisure Moment

Wednesday, October 8
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, October 10
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To enter to win any of the following prizes please complete the form below:

  • 2 Grand Prizes Winners: One Kindle Paperwhite with custom Color Song cover with Color Song and Passion Blue ebooks pre-loaded, plus swag (postcards, bookmarks), and signed paperback editions of Strauss’s Stone duology (The Arm of the Stone and The Garden of the Stone) (US only)

  • 2 winners: Signed hardcovers of Color Song and Passion Blue, plus swag (postcards, bookmarks) (US and Canada)

  • 5 winners: Signed paperbacks of Color Song and Passion Blue, plus swag (postcards, bookmarks) (US and Canada)

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on October 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on October 11th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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You are going to put words in my box?! *squeezes you* Now I shall stalk YOUR blog!