#11 on the New York Times bestseller list.
#15 on the USA Today bestseller list.
Once Upon a Tower was chosen as one of the three Best Books of 2013 by the Amazon romance editor!
- As a Shakespeare professor, I teach Romeo and Juliet every year—one would think the play held no mysteries for me. But I’d been plagued by the question of what Romeo and Juliet’s marriage would look like if their parents hadn’t been so grumpy.
- When I was thinking about shaping Gowan as a very young and passionate version of Romeo, I turned to the poetry of W.B. Yeats. Gowan was not the first to be “looped in the loops of her hair.” I owe a debt here to Yeats’s early poetry.
- Obviously, any Romeo must encounter a balcony (and Gowan does!). Once I thought up the balcony, I jumped to a tower…and in the end I modeled my heroine on Rapunzel.
- Gowan climbs the balcony on a horsehair ladder—the closest I could get to the original means of entry (i.e., Rapunzel’s hair).
- Edie is a cellist, and throughout the novel, I mention many cello pieces. I’ve prepared a list of short videos so that you can experience Edie’s musical taste. Enjoy!
Eloisa and Julia Quinn are writing buddies who love to collaborate (The Lady Most Likely, anyone?). When the opportunity to have characters crossover presented itself, they jumped on it. Once upon a Tower released first, with Edie and Gowan attending the wedding of Just Like Heaven’s main characters: Marcus and Honoria. The first two images below were shared all over Facebook when Tower came out. (Scroll down for what happened six months later…)
Later that year, these next two fun shareables hit social networks when Julia’s The Sum of All Kisses released, readers noted the mention of the Duke of Kinross and Lady Edith Gilchrist in the fifth chapter, and Julia talked about the character crossover on her site.
Readers are invited to share these images even after the books are no longer new. The character crossover is great fun regardless.
The key to Edie’s personality is her passion for music: for her, everything from her love for Gowan to her vision of life itself (remember the scene when she sees the swallows flying and tells Gowan they’re dancing to Mozart?) is filtered through the cello pieces she works on every day.
For over a year, while I was writing Once Upon a Tower, I listened to cello music almost every day. I wanted to share with you some of the pieces that Edie either mentioned or surely would have known.
Solo pieces for Edie
When I was writing Once Upon a Tower, I listened to Bach’s cello suites over and over.
(Here is another piece I adore that Edie could not have played—Simple Gifts with Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss)
Edie certainly would have known Domenico Gabrielli’s “Seven Ricercari,” seven charming preludes that each present a variation on a theme and highlight the melodic possibilities of the cello. Here’s the second prelude:
Remember the Boccerini that was proving so hard to play? Luigi Boccherini wrote about three dozen sonatas, but only six were published during his lifetime. You can listen to the complete sonatas here:
Edie particularly loved Vivaldi, so here’s a lovely recording of Antonio Vivaldi’s Cello Sonata No. 3 in A minor. Vivaldi wrote six sonatas for solo cello (with harpsichord accompaniment).
Cello duets Edie played with her father
Here’s a gorgeous video of Duo Vivente playing one of Jean-Baptiste Barrière’s Duo for Two Cellos. Barrière was himself a cellist who composed four books of duets for cello and bass, which could be scored for two cellos.
And here are two lovely young women playing Antonio Lucio Vivaldi’s Cello Duet in G Minor. The sound isn’t perfect, but you can see the exactly positioning of the cello that drove 19th century men to believe that ladies should never play the instrument!
And finally, cello and violin duets that Edie could have played with her husband
I know they would have conquered Boccerini together. I like this video particularly because you can see the cellist carrying his instrument onto the stage. This is Boccerini’s Sonata in D-Major, in an arrangement for violin and cello by Paul Bazelaire (unfortunately, the musicians are not named):
Here’s the Winter section of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (for some reason set to carnival pictures). But who cares? It’s so gorgeous.
And finally, for the silly pleasure of it: two gorgeous young Croatian gentlemen playing Guns & Roses on some very modern, weird cellos.