Sunday, April 2, 2023

Vassallo: Stephanie Storey’s Soaring Success…The Rest of the “Story”

Stephanie Storey
Stephanie Storey Stephanie, it has now been several weeks since your book signing session in Oxford. How are the sales going?

Stephanie Storey: Oil and Marble is doing so well. It’s a Los Angeles Times bestseller, and the publisher has already printed three editions of the hardcover. The Kindle ebook is selling really well, and now it’s out as an audiobook from Plus, it’s being translated into Spanish! I’ve heard from fans in Canada, England and even Australia. It has only been out for four months, and it’s already growing so quickly. I’m humbled by its success. What has been the overall reaction to Oil and Marble?

Stephanie Storey: It’s been so positive. People have said that they stayed up until 4:00 a.m. to finish it. Many have told me that they have a new appreciation for art or feel like they know Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo after reading it. Others have been inspired to travel to Italy. I’m touched that so many people are recommending it to their friends and family. But I think I’m proudest when readers tell me that Oil and Marble has inspired them to chase their own dreams or create their own art. What has been the number one lesson learned from authoring this work?

Stephanie Storey: I’ve learned so much! My two main characters taught me a lot. Leonardo da Vinci has taught me to think more creatively, and Michelangelo has taught me how to overcome any obstacle. During book tour, I learned that I love to teach and talk to young people about chasing their dreams and reaching for greatness. I’ve learned that readers want to be inspired and given a sense of hope. I’ve also discovered how much my parents must love me: they followed me around to many of the events just to cheer me on. Mixing historical art and fiction is a unique marriage. How did the reading public react to this scenario?

Stephanie Storey: I’ve loved seeing interest in art grow because of my novel. Many readers have thanked me for turning this historical story into a piece of fiction because it made this era exciting. It’s not a dry text book. I’ve heard it described as a “thriller,” although I personally think that’s a stretch. I stayed true to the historical facts. The fires, floods, wars and dying popes are all based on true stories. But I made up the dialogue and took some artistic license to tell a better story. The public has been very supportive encouraging. They just want me to write more! In many cases a successful book like Oil and Marble is quickly followed by another blockbuster story. Is there one on the drawing board?

Stephanie Storey: The first draft of the next novel is already done! I still have a lot of revising to do, but the next novel is well on its way. I’m not talking about specifics yet, but here’s what I can tell you: This next novel is also art historical fiction because I hope to be writing art historical fiction until the day I die. The next one is also set during the Italian Renaissance, not because all of my books will be set during the Italian Renaissance, but because I’m not done with the time period yet. And while Oil and Marble is set mainly in Florence, the next novel is set primarily in Rome. But I’m working on it as fast as I can. Do you believe Oil and Marble will be a catalyst for millennials taking the initiative to explore the backgrounds and history of the great artisans
of the world?

Stephanie Storey: Oh I hope so. This is one of my biggest missions in life, to make art relatable to people who might not have studied art before. I want to show people that the great genius legends from our history books aren’t any different than you or I. We are all just human beings struggling to give something back to the world. We all have obstacles. We all have passions and desires. And we all fail. The beauty of art is that it teaches us about being human, so I hope to inspire people to look back at our great art and to be inspired by it. I hope my novel can encourage people — especially younger people — to go for their creative dreams. On a personal note, what does the remainder of 2016 have in store for Stephanie?

Stephanie Storey: Right now I’m in Los Angeles, where there’s a lot of interest in making a movie or television show out of the novel. I hope to have official news on that front very soon. Later this summer and fall, I will be back on the road, doing more events. I had a lot of requests for appearances that I couldn’t fulfill during the first round of book tour this spring, so I’ll be speaking at schools, museums, and book clubs all across the East Coast and the South. I hope to return to Oxford, too. Y’all gave me such a warm welcome, I have to come back!

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a 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 or call him at 985-852-7745.

Follow on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @hottytoddynews. Like its Facebook page: If You Love Oxford and Ole Miss…