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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin

Like so much of life, the story and the title of my second novel really came to me in the most unexpected of ways. When Katie Couric became anchor of the CBS Evening News, I decided to watch to support her, even though I’m not a great fan of television news programs. Within that broadcast was a two-minute feature story on the glassmakers of Murano. One point in particular caught and captured my imagination: for hundreds of years the glassmakers of Venice were virtual prisoners in their own land, captives of a government determined to keep the prestige and profit produced by the glass. Within a half hour of viewing that story, I had a two page synopsis written, a plot that mapped out a story about a young Murano woman who must somehow save herself while protecting ‘the secret of the glass.’

In the physical sense, Sophia, the protagonist, is based on Sophia Loren; I think she epitomizes Italian beauty and she is a woman I greatly admire for her talent and her choices in life. The crux of Sophia’s conflict in The Secret of the Glass—whether a person can serve the needs of their family while honoring their own—is one I was grappling with at the time of the writing. My marriage had long broken down, and I struggled with the decision to divorce. Through her tribulations, and her decisions, I found my own path. As a second generation Italian American and a writer of European historicals, I really wanted to set a book in the land I consider my second country. Then, when I started my research, I found Galileo. I was unaware of how much time he had spent in the magical city of Venice. I knew nothing of the symbiotic relationship between him and this wonderful land. But I was astounded when I learned the professor suffered from a chronic illness, one similar to my own. I found kinship in his tale of determination, one echoed in the story of the land itself and the people that had made it so unique. Buona Fortuna, Donna Russo Morin


Svea said...

Thank you for sharing how The Secret of the Glass took shape within your mind and life! I can clearly recall reading this novel, and the glorious visions of Venice you created are still with me.

Siobian said...

The book sounded fascinating already, but even more so now that I am aware of how it came to be! I cannot wait to read it!

Eliza Graham said...

It's extraordinary to think of artists having to create while they are imprisoned.

So agree about Sophia Loren.