The Birth of a Novel

I have gotten in the habit of writing on Georg’s birthday and also on his death day. However, this year, February 18 came and went and I did not manage to write. This is not because I was not thinking of him on this birthday, but I was busy preparing for a photo shoot of his large scale drawings. Let’s just say I was preoccupied with things other than blogging. I was with my sister that day—she came up from Chicago to help with the photo shoot—and we ate cannoli in his honor, but I did not write for him.

Honestly, blogging has really gotten away from me the last few years. This is due in part to the fact that I have been grappling with a novel, The Lone Snake: The Story of Sofonisba Anguissola. At long last, the book is done and will be released by Water’s Edge Press in April, 2022. It has been a long road.

I first learned of Sofonisba in 1995 when I wrote a short article about her for New Moon: The Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams. She was born in Cremona in 1532, and although her father was not an artist, he supported her artistic talent with education. She studied with Michelangelo and served at the Spanish court of Philip II, teaching the young Queen Isabel to draw and paint. She married twice but never had any children and lived to be ninety-three. The family name, “anguis sola” is Latin for “the lone snake,” and that metaphor for her life would not leave me.

Ever since I read about her unique and inspiring life, I wanted to tell her story. I had many years of false starts as I looked for the best way to craft the tale and many years of no writing at all. Not until 2017 did I buckle down and begin to write in earnest. Even then, it took me a while. Writing a novel is not easy.

Well, here is it, a quarter of a century after my initial thought to write this book. Now it is real. I am proud of what I have done, proud that I stuck with it. Any nervousness I feel regarding what others will think about the book is kept at bay by the thought that Georg would be so proud. I did it for you, Dad. Happy belated birthday.

15 thoughts on “The Birth of a Novel

    1. Thanks Nick! If you email me your address, I will send you a postcard with the ordering information. Or, go to The publisher will be on vacation from March 7 to April 26, so order before or after. The book will be delivered in early May.

  1. Hi Lisa, Congratulations on completing the novel. I can’t wait to read it. What an accomplishment! Georg would be so proud of you.

    I have been thinking about you as I am now part of an Ekphrastic writing group. Are you familiar with the website, the Ekphrastic Review? It is quite amazing. They offered an introductory class on Ekphrastic writing and four of my docent friends joined me for it. We then started an Ekphrastic group for some of the docents in our mythology group that has been meeting weekly since Covid started.

    Needless to say, I am keeping busy. Would love to chat with you again if you have some time in your busy schedule. 😘 Karen

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Hi Karen, yes! I do know the Ekphrastic Review. A couple years ago, before COVID, I put together a collection of poems by 33 poets called Van Gogh Dreams, and they have a review of the book on the website. And yes! We will have to catch up soon. I’m so glad you are writing ekphrastic poetry!

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