Sea of Shadows by Amy Maroney – All about historical fiction

Creator Amy Maroney was on A Author of Historical past final yr to share her suggestions and methods on researching a way back time. Right this moment she’s again to speak in regards to the difficulties of writing biographical fiction when the particular person in query is a girl and the time is the fifteenth century plus how she included a feminine artist into her newest novel, Sea of Shadows.


Not too long ago I found a feminine artist, Agnes van den Bossche, who was a member of the Ghent, Flanders, artists’ guild for over three many years in the course of the 15th century. Her father and brother had been grasp painters. For her half, Agnes painted totally on material. Her solely identified surviving work is a banner she was commissioned to provide for the town of Ghent.

Banner by Agnes van den Bossche, public area photograph

Agnes is that uncommon particular person—a girl artist of the late medieval/early Renaissance period whose story survives. Most of her contemporaries are misplaced to historical past, their voices and legacies relegated to the shadows. As a historic novelist who focuses on tales about forgotten ladies artists, I used to be thrilled to find the traces of Agnes van den Bossche. She is extra proof that the fictional artists I create are primarily based on actual ladies, not simply my creativeness. 

In relation to biographical fiction about artists of this period, you’re in luck if you wish to write about males. The Previous Masters, in spite of everything, had been principally males. And there’s a lot of scholarship dedicated to them—loads of analysis rabbit holes to discover. Individuals by no means get uninterested in fiction that includes Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael  and the opposite superstars of that period. Ladies who had been identified to color in these days had been fewer, and their work much less valued. A lot of them labored anonymously or their work had been attributed to males. 

As extra scholarship reveals the reality about ladies who labored alongside their male counterparts in artwork studios throughout Europe, it’s been thrilling to see their work commanding excessive costs at public sale and a rising physique of fiction revealed about them. Sofonisba Anguissola, Judith Leyster, Artemisia Gentileschi, Lavinia Fontana . . . they’re all getting their second within the highlight. My first trilogy, the story of a Renaissance-era feminine artist and the modern-day scholar on her path, featured a fictional lady painter named Miramonde de Oto. She was primarily based on the actual artist Caterina van Hemessen, whose 16th-century portray of herself is the primary identified signed self-portrait of a feminine painter. 

Caterina van Hemessen self-portrait, public area picture

With my new Sea and Stone Chronicles collection, I wished to proceed that includes ladies artists. However this time, I wished to give attention to the unsung, unknown ladies like Agnes van den Bossche. For each Agnes we are able to level to within the historic file, there have to be a whole lot who’re misplaced in historical past’s shadows. Ladies who labored alongside fathers, husbands, and brothers within the household studio, who had each bit as a lot expertise as their male counterparts—and, in some instances, extra—however had been by no means acknowledged. It was with these ladies in thoughts that I created Anica Foscolo, the heroine of my new novel Sea of Shadows.

Sea of Shadows, the second guide in my collection of stand-alone romantic historic suspense novels, takes readers on a journey via the sweetness and hazard of Renaissance-era Greece. It stars an unlikely duo. Anica Foscolo, a gifted painter on the Greek island of Rhodes, is the daughter of a Venetian artist and a Greek lady. Drummond Fordun is a fierce Scotsman famend for his exploits as a privateer serving the Knights Hospitaller of St. John, who’re headquartered on Rhodes. When her household’s honor is threatened, Anica reluctantly turns to Drummond for assist. There’s only one drawback: she by no means deliberate to fall in love along with her confederate. 

Like Island of Gold, its predecessor within the Sea and Stone Chronicles, Sea of Shadows explores the shadowy world of the Mediterranean throughout a time of journey, warfare, prosperity, and danger. 

Artists and artisans exploited the wealth in Rhodes City underneath the rule of the Knights Hospitaller, organising studios and workshops inside the walled metropolis. Gold-beaters, jewelers, textile staff, stoneworkers, and painters had been among the many artistic lessons. Proof exists of Italian-trained artists commissioned by the knights to create frescoes and work for his or her personal residences and for chapels and church buildings on the island. On the identical time, the astounding layers of historical past in Rhodes supplied alternatives for entrepreneurs to promote artifacts to collectors from Italy, who traveled to the island searching for treasures for rich patrons.

Colossus of Rhodes, public area photograph

As a product of her Rhodian surroundings, my heroine Anica Foscolo—the unsung expertise behind her father’s dazzling portraits—embodies the conflicting loyalties of her time and place. She’s Venetian (not all the time a bonus for a citizen dwelling underneath the rule of the Genoa-loving Knights Hospitaller), however she’s additionally Greek (and, as such, seen as subservient by the knights).

For his half, my hero Drummond Fordun relies on an actual Scotsman known as Diguerus le Scot. Apparently he travelled with a Scottish knight to Rhodes generally within the 1430s, the place he made a profession for himself and returned to Scotland with a pension from the Order of St. John in 1454. In Alan Macquarrie’s Scotland and the Crusades 1095-1560, he’s described as “a servant of the grand grasp, who served the order for a few years by land and sea, with manly striving towards the infidels.” The fictional Drummond is a self-made man: he earned sufficient cash via the spice commerce to purchase his personal ship, then signed on as a freelancer for the knights. 

Venetian galley, public area photograph

Rhodes underneath the Knights Hospitaller was a goldmine of journey, scandal, love, and divided loyalties, providing wealthy fodder for a historic novelist. Although I by no means discovered proof of a girl artist working in Rhodes on the time, there was loads of proof about male artists who prospered underneath the rule of the knights. So I created Anica in homage to ladies working in household studios who, not like Agnes van den Bossche, by no means made it into the historic file. She is a reminder that our historical past is stuffed with holes. To me, historic fiction is a approach to fill these gaps and illuminate the silenced tales of the previous.

Thanks, Amy. I really like that you just’re that includes unacknowledged ladies artists of the previous and finest needs for Sea of Shadows. Having learn Island of Gold, I can attest to the truth that Amy’s novels are great web page turners.

Sea of Shadows by Amy Maroney ~~ 1459. A gifted lady artist. A ruthless Scottish privateer. And an audacious plan that throws them collectively—with harmful penalties. 

Nobody on the Greek island of Rhodes suspects Anica is chargeable for her Venetian father’s beautiful portraits, least of all her rich fiancé. However her father’s imaginative and prescient is failing, and with each passing day it’s tougher to hide the reality. 

When their secret is found by a strong knight of the Order of St. John, Anica should act rapidly to salvage her father’s honor and her personal future. Determined, she enlists the assistance of a fierce Scottish privateer named Drummond. Collectively, they craft a daring plan to revive her father’s sight. 

There’s just one drawback—she by no means imagined falling in love along with her confederate.

Sea of Shadows is on the market on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA, Amazon AU

Amy Maroney studied English Literature at Boston College and labored for a few years as a author and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. along with her household. When she’s not diving down analysis rabbit holes, she enjoys climbing, dancing, touring, and studying. Amy is the writer of The Miramonde Collection, an award-winning historic fiction trilogy a few Renaissance-era feminine artist and the modern-day scholar on her path. Her new historic suspense/romance collection, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is about in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus.

You’ll find Amy on her web site, on Twitter, on Fb, on Goodreads and on Instagram


M.Okay. Tod writes historic fiction. Her newest novel, PARIS IN RUINS, is on the market on Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Kobo, and Barnes&Noble. An earlier novel, TIME AND REGRET was revealed by Lake Union. Mary’s different novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED can be found from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She may be contacted on FbTwitter and Goodreads or on her web site

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