This the Palazzo Donn’Anna, in Naples, the memory of which launched my second historical novel, Swimming in the Moon (2013). My Italian teacher grew up in the vast apartment on the second floor, full of marble, Venetian glass, and monumental 18th C oils. The enormous dining room window was rimmed by a gilt frame that looked out on the Bay of Naples, with Capri floating in the blue distance.
It’s often said that scientific invention does not begin with “Eureka!” as often as with “Hum, that’s odd.” Maybe it’s similar with fiction. I was living in Tennessee when I had an image of the Palazzo Donn’Anna and wondered what it would be like a century ago to be a servant there, so it was you who cleaned that great window and dusted the gilt. How about a servant pair, a mother gifted with a magnificent voice (but who cares?) but shackled by mental instability, and a daughter who loves her but wants something more in life (but how?) and then they are both cast out from all they know, lovely as it is. Hum, that’s odd. What then?