Sunday, July 17, 2022

"Acts of Violet"

Margarita Montimore is the author of Acts of Violet, Asleep from Day, and Oona Out of Order, a USA Today bestseller and Good Morning America Book Club pick. After receiving a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, she worked for over a decade in publishing and social media before deciding to focus on the writing dream full-time.

Montimore applied the Page 69 Test to Acts of Violet and reported the following:
From page 69:
JANET LURIE: […] Up until recent years, women have made up approximately eight percent of the magic population. Between 1964 and 2014, four women and forty-eight men were given the Alcazar’s Magician of the Year Award, factoring in the husband/wife teams you mentioned. That breaks down to eight percent of the recipients being female, which is in line with the portion of the magic community they represent.

NORIKO TOMLIN: You’re kinda downplaying the tragedy of this eight percent statistic. There’s no other creative industry where women are outnumbered by men to such an appalling degree. And it’s easy to see why: the lack of mentorship and resources for girls and women, the history of ingrained misogyny...

JANET LURIE: If we’re going to take the historical route, it’s also worth mentioning witchcraft hysteria. We’re going back hundreds of years, to be sure, but considering all the women accused, persecuted, and even executed for being witches, I could see, even in more contemporary times, a woman performing stage magic getting muddled with her performing actual sorcery.
This section is from a podcast episode discussing Violet Volk’s legacy. While the Alcazar’s Magician of the Year award is fictional, the statistics are not. Women do in fact make up less than ten percent of the community of professional magicians. This is something that surprised me while doing research for Acts of Violet, and it drove me to bring as much authenticity to the world of stage magic as I could and put a bigger spotlight on the female contributions in the field, even if it had to in the context of fiction. I wish performers throughout history like Adelaide Herrmann and Dell O’Dell were well-known as Harry Houdini. I wish Violet Volk was real and as legendary as I created her in my novel.

In terms of how this passage connects to the larger themes of the novel, there is a recurring question of whether Violet had special abilities since some of her feats defied all explanation. Was she really magic? Is there such a thing as real magic? Her sister Sasha, who has been dealing with the fallout of Violet’s disappearance for nearly a decade, would vehemently say no. However, the enigma surrounding Volk and other unusual occurrences throughout the story suggests otherwise. Perhaps real magic is out there if you know where to look…
Visit Margarita Montimore's website.

The Page 69 Test: Oona Out of Order.

--Marshal Zeringue