I spent most of my week doing my final combthrough with Liam. It was a weird experience since I haven’t really seen it since I submitted it back in… whenever. Last year sometime. Had a great time with it, though. Getting all excited.
Anyhow, I’ve got vamps on the brain, and I’m still kind of wistful about Italy, so I figured I’d do a little combo post. One of my kind of back-of-the-brain things the whole time I was 0n vacation.
So of course the Italian word for Florence is Firenze–the outdated version being Fiorenza. In the books, the growing “family” of vampires would be the Fiorenzas, which if you’ve seen the website will be abundantly clear. A lot of times I just pick names because they sound right, but that one was deliberate. They’re from Florence originally–which is pretty rare in the US, as most of the Italians who came in the early 1900s were southern or Sicilian. A namechange at Ellis Island was standard (see the “O”s and “Mc”s getting dropped off Irish names and Italians ending up named after their hometown all over the place), but combined with their weird provenance, probably indicative that they weren’t your average immigrants, this well-dressed guy in his late twenties and his three-year-old nephew. Not just looking for a new start, but running from old troubles.
This is not why I wanted to go to Florence, for the record–I’m sure when I made up this whole backstory, I had no idea I’d ever actually go there, though I totally wanted to. I was living in a shitty frat house (no really), surviving on ramen and Camel Lights, and pretty sure it was going to stay that way until I dropped. But that didn’t stop me giggling when B told me the name of the place he wanted to stay:
Anyhow. There’s not much about it in the books because Gianni has been long-forbidden by his uncle to go back to Italy, let alone the actual city. (Why, and why he actually listens, well, all will be revealed. Eventually.) But like all Americans, there’s a certain amount of clinging to “home” as somewhere else. So every now and then in Italy I’d see something that’d make me stop and think of them. Because this is what being a writer is, and we all know it: random imaginary friends invading every aspect of your life, to the point where sometimes you can’t even watch TV or look at a painting without thinking, “Huh, bet Liam likes this.” Insert-your-character-name.
19th C. Copy of Francesco di Lorenzo Rosselli’s Pianta prospettica della Catena, c. 1471-1482 in the Museo Firenze com’era.* If you click to enlarge and look really close, you can even see the names of some of the landmarks written on it. “The so-called Pianta della Catena, attributed to Lorenzo Rosselli, is the first known exemplar in the history of cartography which is intended as a complete representation of the city with all its buildings and the dense network of streets and squares.”**
In Liam (and all subsequent books), there’s a wall-hanging in the Fiorenza living room in New York that’s meant to be a map like this, almost exactly. I wrote it before I even knew this painting existed and was semi-famous–in Florence, anyhow. So you know when I saw this thing on every damn coffee mug, mousepad, and everything else ever while wandering around on vacation, I stopped and grabbed the prettiest print (at the Accademia, as it happened) I could find, brought it back here, and looked that shit up.
So one of the fun things I got to do with my Liam runthrough was describe the wall-hanging much, much better than I had originally.
Yeah, I don’t know, I thought it was fun.
I bought this little map too, which is super cool, but wasn’t precisely what I needed for the book. It’ll look kickass framed on my wall, though.
Okay, I’m off to WV for the weekend. Happy mother’s day, all y’all moms out there. <3
*I didn’t go to that Museum, so I had to come home and research the fuck out of it to figure out what it was and where it was from. That sounds like I’m complaining, but no. This is my idea of a good time.
**Source: Official site of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, which I did in fact visit and adore, as I may have already mentioned.