The purpose of these posts is to provide readers with insight into what writers are working on at the moment. I’m in the middle of my second novel and welcome the opportunity to share some insights about the character who is keeping me up at nights.
What is the name of your character?
Isabette Grüber is a concert pianist and composer in Vienna in the late 1820′s and early 1830′s. Although Isabette is a fictional character, she will interact with three of the period’s most famous composers–Beethoven, Schubert, and Chopin.
Where does the novel take place?
The novel opens on March 29, 1827 in Vienna, Austria. Lovers of classical music will recognize the significance of that date; it is the day that all of Vienna, including Isabette, crowded into the streets to watch the funeral procession of Beethoven. A few hours after the maestro is laid to rest, Isabette gives her debut concert for a paying audience.
The novel takes place primarily in Vienna during the Biedermeier period. Extending roughly from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to the revolution in 1848, the Biedermeier period was characterized by the veneer of sentimental, middle-class respectability that overlay the network of spies and censorship of an Austrian police state.
What is special about Isabette Grüber?
Isabette is a “virtuosa,” the term applied to female concert pianists in the early nineteenth century. A male concert-level performer was called a “virtuosi.” Isabette is also six feet tall, decidedly homely, and suffering from a crisis of self-confidence. I’ve lived with Isabette now for about six months and I am obsessed with her. She is incredibly talented and passionate, and yet, at eighteen, she is hamstrung by so many factors that conspire to keep her from following her true passion.
What is the main conflict Isabette must face?
Isabette is supported and thwarted by two people who come into her life near the beginning of the novel. One is a young woman from Boston who is a talented singer and Isabette’s complete opposite. Her encouragement and love for Isabette appear innocent, but as the novel progresses Isabette is faced with a confusing truth about Amelia’s motives. The other person who plays an integral role in Isabette’s journey from a nerve-wracked teenager to a woman of formidable strength and courage is Hirschl Baum, a Jewish piano teacher and aspiring composer.
What is the personal goal of this character?
Isabette lives for music but craves love. Her attempts to resolve her two passions in life lead her to make choices at odds with her deepest desire.
What is the title of your novel?
The working title of the novel is “Nocturnes.”
When can we expect the book to be published?
I am aiming for a publication date in 2015.
I’m passing the baton to M.E. Kemp and will include a link to her blog as soon as she says the word!