Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…
When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice. But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.
But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma's family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?
Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him. And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier's apprentice…
Thank you, Mrs. Mayra Calvani
What do you think young readers look for in books and what do you do to meet their expectations?
Young readers wish to be entertained. If only for a few hours, they want to escape from reality and, though the characters, live exciting or unusual or romantic or scary situations they wouldn’t be able to live otherwise. To meet their expectations I try to keep a sense of adventure and write the best book I can possibly create. I try to keep a sense of wonder and discovery as I work on a story. I figure if I’m surprised, chances are readers will be, too.
Even though The Luthier’s Apprentice is a fantasy story, connections with a certain period of time and a musician are declared from the first line. How accurate should historical facts be kept in such a story? Why?
I did a lot of research on Paganini. Obviously, I had to keep names and dates accurate. All the stuff in my book about his charisma, his mysterious persona, and his addiction to gambling are true. Rumors about his pact with the devil are also true. Of course, for the sake of plot, they’re more than just rumors in my story. Historical facts must be accurate for the story to ring true, even though you may put that historical character in fictional situations.
What inspired you to write about (or incorporate) Niccolo Paganini, the Devil’s Fiddler, into your mythology?
My daughter, now 16, has been playing the violin for over 10 years. I also studied it for 5, so violin music has always played an important part on our lives. From the first time I discovered Paganini, I was enthralled by all the myth surrounding him. He was tall and lanky and wore dark clothes, he had an incredible charisma, he played with such skill that people thought he’d made a pact with the devil. Because of his rumored association with the devil, he was denied a Christian burial. Should I say more? You can read more about Paganini here.
Sad but true, the majority of readers are women (of any ages). What could you do to gain male readers and where The Luthier’s Apprentice stands from this point of view?
Actually, though my protagonist is female, her co-star is a boy. Here’s a little about him: Corey Fletcher, 17, of American and Russian descendance, happens to be Emma’s toughest opponent at the upcoming violin competition. And whereas Emma is a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, Corey is a mad fanatic of the detective, often quoting him word by word. He joins Emma in her pursuit of solving the mystery of the kidnapped violinists. Unbeknown to Emma, however, he has his own hidden agenda.
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer's Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.