I’m pleased to welcome Elle Newmark to Peeking Between the Pages today. I read and reviewed her novel The Book of Unholy Mischief and really enjoyed it. I had thought it a delight to the senses. My review is here if you’d like to read it. Sit back and enjoy this great guest post from Elle as she describes a fantasy come to life in Queen for A Day…
I’m guessing that women read this blog. Maybe it’s the pink background or the plush book buddy, or maybe it’s just that smart. Anyhoo, I’d like to share a woman’s fantasy.
Imagine wearing a velvet, pearl-studded Renaissance gown, walking into a marble palace on red carpet, and seeing a smiling crowd raise their glasses—to you!
Now imagine this: It happened to me, and it was un-friggin believable.
Last January I went to Venice for the launch of the Italian edition of my Renaissance novel, The Book of Unholy Mischief, where they immediately took me to the Atelier of Venetian costume designer—a fantasy world of silks and brocades, gold masks and feathered headpieces. The first dress I tried was too tight and I felt fat. The second was too big and I felt thin. The third fit and I felt like Goldilocks. It was an extravaganza of royal blue velvet, heavy with pearls and glass gems.
That night my dresser (yes I said, my dresser) slid the pearl and jewel encrusted velvet over my head and I slipped my arms into enormous puffed sleeves. I held onto a chair while she tugged hard at the back laces and asked, “Can you breathe?” I gasped, and she loosened it. With the fabulous gown on I floated through the hotel like a grand lady; I could hear the beaded train swishing behind me as I headed for the waiting water taxi.
At the palazzo, I climbed marble stairs covered in red carpet and lined with flickering votive candles. I entered a high room glowing under Venetian glass chandlers and full of beautiful people. My publisher introduced me: “Signori, l’autrice”—Ladies and gentlemen, the author. The sommelier handed me a glass of champagne while cameras flashed and flashed. It was a Paris Hilton moment, but I am not Paris Hilton. I am the author, and that is fine with me—in fact, it’s a dream come true.
At dinner I sat next to a Prince of Venice (for real) a handsome man in a tux. Naturally, he was charming. The centerpieces were plump green grapes and pomegranates the size of softballs, both fruits that figure prominently in my book. I was touched by this attention to detail, but the biggest surprise came next: A Venetian chef had recreated a dinner from my novel.
We ate warm mozzarella in an exquisite crust, buttered gnocchi in a crisp cheese cup, and veal in the mysterious Sauce Nepenthes—a sauce that did not exist anywhere but in my book until that night. For dessert we were served bones of the dead, delicate Italian cookies tipped in chocolate, and as we ate them, my publisher read the scene in which my characters ate those cookies. The crowd applauded, and the prince turned to me and said, “Brava.” Everyone in that room loved my writing! It was the high point of my evening, if not my life.
After dinner, my escort held my train as I descended the marble steps, but my regal mein was tarnished when I had to hike up the billowing gown and stand on a wooden chair to get into the water taxi. It took two strong men to get me into the boat, but at 1 a.m. I walked into my hotel room exhausted and grateful. I freed myself from the gorgeous gown, took a deep breath, fell into bed and slept like a stone. The queen was dead; long live the author.
To read more, visit me at www.ellenewmark.com
Elle, thank you so much for that wonderful guest post. I have to admit I’m envious. What a wonderful way to spend an evening and a dream come true to have a Venetian chef recreate a dinner from your novel. Fantastic! I wish you every success and look forward to reading more from you in the future.
Elizabeth Spann Craig says
What an incredible experience! Now I'm wishing I wrote books set in Venice. 🙂
Mystery Writing is Murder
Scrap girl says
Elle makes me more determined to write now, especially if you get treated like that!
Susan Helene Gottfried says
Clearly, I gotta dump the rock stars and enter the Renaissance!
Dar, love, I am procrastinating this morning, so I posted about this at Win a Book. You know I love to post about guest blogs!
Dorothy Thompson says
Fantastic guest post…for anyone not following her tour, you're missing out…this woman is a dynamite!
What a wonderful guest post Elle!
Thanks for sharing your experience with us in your Queen for a day!What an amazing experience that must have been and to top it off that the menu was created around your book. I look forward to reading The Book of Unholy Mischief!
What an amazing evening this must have been. Thanks for the wonderful guest post!
Rebecca Cox says
What a wonderful story! I have been to Venice and can picture every step. Now I have to go back, dress up in costume and do it again! How fun is that.
What a gloriously extravagant evening, I could picture everything thanks to all the luscious detail so generously provided by Elle Newmark!
Wow – I'm jealous. Amazing. I really want to read this book and I want to try to recreate that phenomenal meal myself!
What a great post. The meal sounds amazing!
Wow!! This is another great guest post. I love getting a sneak peek into their lives.
Wow! A fantasy that came true. What a wonderful reward for being an excellent author. Thank you for sharing!
Lit and Life says
What an incredible evening!
What a fantastic opportunity! Thanks for sharing the experience.
Beth F says
What a night! Wow.
Hi there! I just stumbled upon your blog and I must say that I like it very much:)
I am new to this whole blogging world and just started my own blog. Feel free to check it out:
Sheila DeChantal says
Wow…. great post and greta interview! What an amazing event! 🙂
Alice Teh says
That was marvellous! What a fun guest post!
Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books says
Wow! A dream come true, indeed! I don't know which would impress/overwhelm me more – a "dresser", the gown, being introduced that way, the food, the champagne … incredible! What a fun essay to read.
Thanks everyone for your comments on Elle's guest post. This is definitely one of my favorite guest posts I've had. Again, what a dream evening this would be! Just incredible!
Susan, thanks for posting! I appreciate it.
What a great post! It sounds like a dream come true for her.