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Vassallo: Oil and Marble – an Ancient Conflict

Stephanie Storey
Stephanie Storey

Exciting young novelist, Stephanie Storey, is in Oxford this week promoting her already blockbuster new book “Oil and Marble.” This Tuesday at 5 p.m. Stephanie will be signing at Square Books along with presenting this art historical masterpiece.

HottyToddy.com met with the rising author at The Graduate.

HottyToddy.com: Stephanie, you have a very narrow niche subject. Why so?

Stephanie Storey: I have been obsessed with art history and the Italian Renaissance for more than 20 years. I studied briefly at the University of Pisa in Italy where I fell in love with Michelangelo.

Oil and Marble Cover - high res

HottyToddy.com: Tell us a little about your background.

Stephanie Storey: I am a native of Hot Springs, Arkansas and graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville where I majored in Fine Arts. For the past 15 years I have been working as a television producer in Los Angeles. I was the Senior Producer for the PBS talk show, “Tavis Smiley.” I also helped relaunch the “Arsenio Hall Show” on CBS in 2013.

HottyToddy.com: You are currently on this national book tour for “Oil and Marble.”

Stephanie Storey: That’s correct. This is my debut novel. The book highlights the intense rivalry between Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. It is based on real history and true events, but I of course added my own dialogue and took artistic license with some events to tell a better story.

Storey presenting at Asheville Art Museum.
Storey presenting at Asheville Art Museum.

HottyToddy.com: Describe their rivalry.

Stephanie Storey: These two artists both lived in Florence from 1501 to 1505. Leonardo was around 50 years old during this period whereas Michelangelo was in his 20s. Leonardo was painting the “Mona Lisa” in oil while Michelangelo was carving “The David” in marble, thus came the title “Oil and Marble.” Both men competed for the David statue. The two hated one another.

HottyToddy.com: Sounds like a modern day Trump-Cruz competition. We understand that your work has already received rave reviews.

Stephanie Storey: The Los-Angeles Times listed it on its Best Sellers List in its very first month following release by Arcade Publishing. It sold out of its first edition in week one. Also, on February 28, the New York Times gave “Oil and Marble” a tremendous book review.

HottyToddy.com: How does an exceptionally talented individual such as yourself become a great author so quickly?

Stephanie Storey: I actually wrote my first story at age seven. It was called “Horty the Hog Goes to School.” You can tell I was from Arkansas because my protagonist was a Razorback! I have always liked to play pretend and use my imagination. Storytelling is what us Southerners do best.

Steph Signing

HottyToddy.com: Why did you choose Vanderbilt for your higher education?

Stephanie Storey: I was always an A student and desired going to a university where I would be challenged. I also wanted to be in a cosmopolitan city like Nashville. I had applied to Emory, Duke, Wake Forest, and the universities of Arkansas and Missouri.

HottyToddy.com: Apparently your mother was a great influence.

Stephanie Storey: Kathy Storey is definitely my role model. She believes in education. She was a high school teacher who set up the very first computer network in the state of Arkansas.

HottyToddy.com: Being so active in your professional life, do you have a personal one?

Stephanie Storey: I did find time to meet my husband, Mike Gandolfi, who is a television writer and actor. Mike is from San Diego.

HottyToddy.com: Being from Nashville, I always enjoy asking others their impression of “The Athens of the South.”

Stephanie Storey: I absolutely loved Nashville. The music and restaurants were wonderful.

HottyToddy.com: Returning to art and history, what, in your opinion, are the greatest works ever?

Storey presented at Lakeside High School on January
Storey presented at Lakeside High School on January

Stephanie Storey: The Mona Lisa, The David and the Sistine Ceiling are definitely the top three.

: Where will we find you in five years?

Stephanie Storey: Running around selling my third novel. Art historical fiction is my passion.

The longer we visited, the more I wanted to ask the young lady. She is a fascinating individual whose passion is stimulating even for those of us without an artistic state of mind.

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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