Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blog Tour: A Golden Web - Barbara Quick - Cover Post

Today, Barbara Quick is here with a cover post courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for her book, A Golden Web. You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner located below. In a seeming twist of fate, those in my neck of the woods might recognize this cover model. Read on below to find out why! You can find Barbara at her website Enjoy!

Writing A Golden Web was quite a magical experience for me. And the magic, it seems, extended to the publisher’s choice of a model for the novel’s cover!

Imagine my surprise and delight when I found this message in my website mailbox soon after the novel was published:

Hello, my name is Anna Kobylianski and I am actually the model featured on the book cover of A Golden Web. I know this is quite a random email, but I just wanted to let you know how honored I am to represent a girl such as Alessandra, especially as I am actually studying Health Sciences at McMaster University in the hopes of becoming a medical doctor. I have read some of your interviews and am thrilled to be involved to some extent in the publication
of a novel that stands as a source of inspiration for young women. As I am sure we would have never met otherwise, I would like to extend my gratitude over email: truly, thank you for providing me with this experience.
I wish you all the best, and hope that the book is a great success!


Anna Kobylianski
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Random email? I was enchanted! What were the chances that a pre-med student would be the cover model for my novel about a pre-med student in 14th century Bologna?

I’ d been given the somewhat unusual chance to approve photos of the model the production department at HarperCollins had in mind for my novel’ s cover image. The lovely, Italian-looking girl in the photos looked remarkably like the Alessandra Giliani who sprang to life inside my own imagination. When I saw the photos, I emailed my editor and wrote, Yes! She’ s perfect!

I was still working on the final edits of the novel—which gave me the opportunity to fine-tune my descriptions of Alessandra and make her look even more unmistakably like the girl in the photos. I already loved Alessandra like a daughter. (Giving literary birth is not all that different from the other kind, either in the daunting labor of the enterprise or the pride and delight one takes in the result!) It was as if my fictional creation had somehow become real.

Of course, I wrote back to Anna Kobylianski immediately. I was dying to know how the photographer managed to find a model who matched my Alessandra, both inside and out, so precisely.

Anna explained, “It was actually quite random that I ended up with the job. The book cover designer’ s name is Juliana Kolesova. She was in search of a girl with brown curly hair for the cover of your novel. She is also family friends with a girl who went to my school, and the girl approached me in the halls one day to ask if I was interested in modeling for the cover. I sent Juliana some sample pictures, and after she had approval from the publisher [I was part of that!], we went ahead with it.”

Nineteen-year-old Anna was as amazed at the coincidence as I was, when she read Golden Web. “ At first, this felt a little strange,” she wrote, “ as I was reading about a girl living in the Middle Ages, yet who had my features. As the story progressed, I noticed more and more similarities between Alessandra and myself. In essence, it felt as if my Self in its entirety was transported into a different time and slightly different situation.”

Like Alessandra, Anna is the eldest girl of four children who takes her responsibility as a role model and caretaker for her siblings very seriously. She is also, like Alessandra, a gifted artist who enjoys painting, drawing, and working with clay. “ And what is even more striking,” Anna confided, “ is that this careful work with a paintbrush and fingers easily translates to a desire to pursue the career of a surgeon for me as well.”

I hope I’ m not giving away too much of the plot when I tell you that Alessandra Giliani tragically died at the age of 19. Perhaps she’ s finally getting the chance, after waiting for 700 years, to live out the rest of the long and glorious life she deserved, courtesy of a brilliant, beautiful, and gracious pre-med student from Canada.

Here’ s a lovely P.S. that came in as a comment to my blog this month, from Julia Kobylianski:

Anna's my sister! When I read this novel, I was shocked about how her profile and passions were matched almost perfectly by those of Alessandra. It is an insane coincidence that this happened and knowing my sister, Anna, I could easily relate to how Alessandra felt about med school and pursuing her dreams. Amazing.

Now, that is awesome! Thank you for being here today, Barbara! 
Barbara can be found on her website, her blog, and on twitter!


Alessandra is desperate to escape.

Desperate to escape her stepmother, who's locked her away for a year; to escape the cloister that awaits her and the marriage plans that have been made for her; to escape the expectations that limit her and every other girl in fourteenth-century Italy. There's no tolerance in her quiet village for Alessandra and her keen intelligence and unconventional ideas.

In defiant pursuit of her dreams, Alessandra undertakes an audacious quest, her bravery equaled only by the dangers she faces. Disguised and alone in a city of spies and scholars, Alessandra will find a love she could not foresee -- and an enduring fame.

In this exquisite imagining of the centuries-old story of Alessandra Giliani, the world's first female anatomist, acclaimed novelist Barbara Quick gives readers the drama, romance, and rich historical detail for which she is known as she shines a light on an unforgotten -- and unforgettable -- heroine.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

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