An Interview with Juliet Waldron


 

Mozart’s Wife
Juliet Waldron
Online Originals
mozartswife.itpsites.com/
~Fiction Winner–First Independent e-Book Awards

Author Bio

Juliet Waldron was born in the “different drummer” small town of Yellow Springs, Ohio and lived variously in upstate New York, western Massachusetts, Tennessee, Cornwall, England, as well as in Nevis, Grenada, and Barbados in the West Indies. Married for 37 years, mother, grandmother, and cat mother. Nourished a fascination with the past from earliest childhood, perhaps from inhabiting a 1790′s house that hosted an often visible ghost. She has a belief in telling history like it was. Along with Pamina, the heroine of Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE, her motto as a writer is “Die Wahrheit, sei sie auch Verbrechen” (The truth, even if it be a crime!).

Interview

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself, your background and writing career?

Even though I’m American, I spent time in a Cornish boarding school, way back in the middle of the last century. (vbg) I took the O levels in England and the A’s in the British West Indies. I’m in the Grandma Zone now, but in college, when I took a creative writing course, we “ladies” were told to forget writing, except as a hobby. The professor noted on one of my stories that I should “live and experience” before even considering fiction. Apparently, I took his advice to heart, because within a couple of years I was married, working, and beginning a family. Poetry hit me first, and then, in the mid-seventies, I began to struggle with the beginnings of a novel. It wasn’t until Mozart took over my life in the eighties, (that restless and demanding spirit!), that I actually finished a work of fiction. Then, in six months, around a full time job, I disgorged 1,200 pages. It wasn’t a very good book, but it was a starting point. Most important, I had accomplished the first chore of any beginning writer, which is to “finish the damn book.”

 

2. Your book Mozart’s Wife is a fascinating analysis of Constanze, Mozart’s wife. What first inspired you to write about her?

I began to write Mozart’s Wife after I went to see AMADEUS back in ’84. I emerged from the theater with a raving obsession. At first I simply wanted to know everything I could about Mozart and to drink up every note of his music. To enter the mind of his wife, the being closest to Mozart, seemed one path to understanding this fascinating man. Besides–and I still feel this way–it struck me as presumptuous to attempt to make him my narrator. The closest this ordinary woman could get was through the lens of Constanze’s eyes

3. Mozart’s Wife won the Fiction category for the First Independent eBook Awards. Was this a highlight in your writing career?

Yes, absolutely. I was stunned and excited when Sunny Ross of Mystic Ink called to tell me I’d made the finals. I knew I had written a good and engaging book, but I also knew that historical novels from a domestic perspective have not had much publishing success. It was a heart-warming affirmation to win in this venue, because the competition was stiff, and because the judges were independent professionals–not one of them knew me from Adam.

4. The book is published by Online Originals, a UK epublisher, and one of the first epublishers on the Internet, what prompted you to epublish in the first place and why Online Originals?

A writer needs readers–even if it’s just a few. Before I knew anything about the Internet, or the e-pub world, my husband found an article on OO in Forbes, back in the days when David Gettman was the boss. I read that article at a time when I’d just had another of those rave rejections, and was so ticked off that I was ready to take the leap into the unknown. OO is strictly a literary e-publisher, which is still something of a rarity on the net. To be accepted by them, at that time, let me know that Mozart’s Wife could stand alongside the work of some very fine writers.

5. Are there any particular problems associated with writing this type of fiction? And do you have any tips for aspiring writers in this field?

Mozart aficionados, I’m certain, will have differing opinions on exactly how true–or how fictional–Mozart’s Wife is. I have found that everyone who loves Mozart, everyone who digs into his life story, develops a personal conviction about who this protean figure “really” was. As a writer (and avid reader) of historical fiction, I really don’t have tips so much as a plea–please do the research. The task, as I see it, is to provide the reader with a profound experience of the past. This doesn’t happen when reality is dipped in sugar. That kind of story may be entertaining–and, in world which loves junk food, is eminently marketable — but, like a diet of dessert, it won’t be very nutritious. You won’t grow from writing, and your readers will eventually tire of the taste. As for the eWorld, don’t even think about entering unless you are ready to do everything yourself. You have to deliver your book in top notch condition because editors are in short supply. You will probably have to design the cover, and you ought to do a lot of study of publishers and e-Book formats–what’s in, what’s out–before you leap. I’ve learned this after falling down some great big rabbit holes myself. The Net is a great source of “learning experiences.”

6. Can you tell us what if you are working on a new project and what are your goals for the future?

I do have quite a few completed novels–all historical–in the proverbial drawer. One, GENESEE, set during the American Revolution on the New York frontier, is due out in e–at Jacobytebooks.com/ (an Australian e-publisher with an outstanding group of international authors) sometime this summer. As for goals, my biggest is to be able to continue to connect with readers.

7. Finally, are there any particular authors who have inspired you in your own writing career?

I adored the following books, and wanted to write Historicals as these writers had, in the grand manner–real history–with smells, tastes, and a clear time traveler’s view of another place and time. My short list favorites are Mary Renault, Elizabeth Goudge, Margaret Irwin, Robert Graves, and Gore Vidal, because they all have a wonderful facility for drawing the reader into the period mindset of their characters.

~Mozart’s Wife~
mozartswife.itpsites.com/
~Fiction Winner–First Independent e-Book Awards

Read an extract from MOZART’S WIFE:

At sixteen my big sister Aloysia looked like the painted goddesses who reclined voluptuously above our heads on the ceiling of the opera house. Like them, she was blonde, rosy, round breasted and narrow waisted. Although she didn’t fall in love with Mozart (as both he and my parents so ardently desired), I did.

It happened because Papa staunchly maintained that no matter how tight things were, we could “always spare a little beer and some of Jo’s fine liver dumplings.” He was forever bringing home traveling musicians from the Court, absolutely certain that one of these fellows would be useful. Mama never believed his hospitality would yield anything to our advantage, but this peccadillo was the only one my father owned.

Some of our guests were famous, most were not. All, however, had exciting stories to tell about the great courts they’d seen and famous performers they’d heard. Besides, once they set eyes on Aloysia, they were glad to spend an evening giving impromptu lessons.

The most notable wanderer Papa brought home was Wolfgang Mozart. He had stopped at the Mannheim Court on his way to Paris. After composing a piece for one of our nobleman, Herr Mozart had required a copyist.

He was, naturally, directed to my Papa, whose desperation was such that he took on every kind of odd job. Of course, Papa knew of him–this “miracle of nature” who’d been entertaining Kings since his sixth year.

After the copying job was done, Papa took the pay he’d just been given and invited the famous Herr Mozart to The Ox. After downing a stein of our justly famous beer, they found themselves harmonizing on a familiar tune–the treachery of the nobility. It quickly became apparent that our families had much in common. The story of Papa’s fall, without the questionable details with which Mama liked to embellish it, was central. Years ago, as a bailiff for one Baron Schonau, Papa had provided handsomely for his growing family.

His master, finding him compliant (what poor man with four daughters to dower is not?) involved him in a crooked business deal. When the deal went bad, Schonau had the perfect scapegoat. In the end, we had to flee the Baron’s lands in the middle of the night to escape arrest.

On horseback, Papa decoyed the pursuing politzei away, while Mama and the rest of us were driven across the border of the electorate in a farm wagon. Under the hay was hidden our klavier and a wardrobe, the latter stuffed with a random collection of whatever had come first to hand.

Mozart listened to this story of betrayal and ruin with great sympathy. He hated his master, Archbishop Colloredo, as thoroughly as Papa hated Baron Schonau. Mozart explained that his father, an educated man and an able musician, was constantly humiliated and bullied by the Archbishop. In fact, Wolfgang was in Mannheim because he had resigned his commission and was traveling through the world looking for another.

Archbishop Colloredo was Mozart’s devil and Baron Schonau was Papa’s. They called for more beer and pondered the great question of the day: whether a talented, hardworking man could make his way in a world dominated by aristocratic privilege.

“Would you share my table some evening, Herr Mozart?” asked Papa. “Nothing special, of course, only what a poor unlucky German can offer, but my oldest girl cooks like an angel and my beautiful Aloysia–just sixteen, Herr Mozart–sings like one.”

Papa had sized up his companion well. Such an invitation– a combination of earthly and musical pleasure–proved absolutely irresistible.

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