A Young Girl and Her Violin with Mary Hughes

Historical fiction often deals with big themes: war, politics, violence and upheaval. But no matter the time period, there were also individuals living fascinating lives out of the view of most. These little stories can be as interesting, involving and intriguing as anything else. Mary Hughes took the story of a young woman with a dream to learn music in pre-WW1 Germany and turned it into “Imaging Violet.”

Mary, what’s your story and how did you come to be a writer?

My name is Mary Hughes, and I live on a beautiful small island off the west coast of Canada. Salt Spring Island, population around 10,000, is an amazing place to grow live, with its healthy moderate climate, a strong culture of volunteerism and an extraordinary enthusiasm for the arts. There are 117 writers here and just as many potters and painters.

Saltspring is a truly amazing place, and not for nothing it’s the home of my friend Howard Busgang’s deli, Buzzy’s Luncheonette so if you’re jonesing for Montreal smoked meat…. but I digress. What’s Imagining Violet about?

Imagining Violet is the story of a 16 year old Anglo-Irish girl who goes, on her own, to study violin in Germany in 1891. The 1890s were a period of tremendous change, with new technologies (typewriters, bicycles, sewing machines) affecting what women could do with their lives. My MC, Violet, is based on my grandmother’s life; I wanted to explore what her student life in Germany might have been like.

To give the book intimacy, I chose to craft it as a book of letters, an old-fashioned epistolary novel. I knew I could do it when I found a Guide Book for Northern Germany for 1892  on-line, complete with railway schedules. One of my favourite scenes is in one of the early letters; young Violet’s journey by train from Edinburgh to Germany.

You really got into the research for this, didn’t you?

My research was extensive. At one point I decided to take violin lessons in order to be able to write plausibly on that subject. Then Violet’s actual violin came my way – truly – and today I play it in a local amateur string ensemble.

Where can we learn more?

Imagining Violet is available through Amazon or through my website: https://imaginingviolet.blogspot.com.  I am a Goodreads Author, and I am on Facebook.

Acre’s Orphans is out in the world! You can order Paperbacks on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Chapters. The e-book is Kindle only Please help me launch it successfully by buying now. And any time you read a book like Imaging Violet (or one of mine,) please leave an Amazon or Goodreads review. It’s like applause for  the author.

Published by

Wayne Turmel

Wayne Turmel is a writer, speaker and co-founder of The Remote Leadership Institute. Originally from Canada, he is in the process of moving from Chicago to Las Vegas with his wife, The Duchess. He tries to balance his fiction and non-fiction writing, and loves to hear from readers. His Amazon author page is at https://www.amazon.com/Wayne-Turmel/e/B00J5PGNWU/