If Music Be The Food Of Love is the first book in the series, The Passion of Elena Bianchi. It is a thrilling and peculiar novel that mixes a variety of influences to produce something entirely new. Fifty Shades of Grey meets The Godfather meets the occult with a dash of history. Lenny Cavallaro brings readers a tale unlike any they have read before.
For twenty-eight years, the Curse has been dormant until one final strike, the most lethal blow of all. The Curse attempted to hit Elena Bianchi with a fatal dose of poison, but she survived this attempt. Will she also survive the new weapons at its disposal? Elena follows a long line of predecessors who have succumbed, yet she is more astute. However, the Curse still knows where to find her vulnerability. Now she must face the Curse one final time and see whether she can overcome or if she will be lost to it.
The saga begins with Elena in a world of classical music, kinks and sexuality, and spirituality. It blends past and present to create a surreal experience that draws on psychic ideas and the concept of what it means to expand one's consciousness, a deeply sensual spiritual journey. With a lot of philosophical and mystical concepts, the book provides the reader with a lot to think about but with a Fifty Shades of Grey twist to keep them involved and engage the senses as well.
The story follows Elena and her husband, Giovanni. As Elena prepares for the approaching Curse, she looks back on the past. Disgraced pianist Giovanni, struggling due to a mafia scandal, meets the beautiful violinist Elena. As they face real and mystical hurdles to their relationship, an inheritance of some unexpected musical pieces will lead them in unpredictable directions. A psychic hints at a possible past that had many failures for their love but also at a future where their love will somehow triumph.
The novel is part of a series that plunges its heroes into a new reality of music, sexuality, love, rebirth, and death. It draws on classical musical pieces and works of art, as well as esoteric ideas to build a unique reality or rather realities that will bring the protagonists to place unknown and undiscovered. With a deep well of literary and historical references as well, Cavallaro weaves a complex tapestry of situations and ideas that refer to anything from the works of Marquis De Sade to those of Ludwig Van Beethoven. It is all mixed with a lot of history, especially World War II and Nazi history intertwined with the plot, the book is challenging and not afraid to go deep into sexual practices and ideas.
You can find the book on Amazon. It is the first part of a series, all offered by Lenny Cavallaro. You can also take a look at it here.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Lenny Cavallaro. Here are the excerpts from the Interview.
Hi Lenny, Great to have you with us today! What is your book actually about?
Well, one could certainly describe it as “a bout with reality”! Seriously, though, it is a book, or more accurately a series, that defies categorization in any set, given genre. I call it a “dark-erotic/spiritual romance” (if such a thing exists), which is probably an apt description. It is a love story at its core, but as we soon find out, these lovers must contend with a 2,000-year-old curse (called the Curse). The protagonists are also sadomasochism, but the spiritual aspects are more important than the S/M scenes. Thus, this becomes a series not about kinky sex but rather about love, forgiveness, gratitude, letting go of anger, and ultimately the spiritual growth required to overpower an ancient malediction.
You mentioned sadomasochism, and the book certainly has a number of rather graphic S/M scenes. Were you trying to outdo Fifty Shades?
With all due respect, my books, particularly the second volume, go far beyond anything in that highly successful series. Moreover, what I have written is REAL, and please forgive me if I decline to belabor the obvious inferences. Finally, the hard-core kink is integral to the plot. The heroine's physical pains are indeed erotic, but they are also absolutely obligatory for her spiritual growth.
Early in the first volume, you allude to “soul fractions,” although you do not develop the idea further. What does the concept actually entail?
Many people believe in reincarnation to at least some extent. However, they usually think of it in linear terms: Jack died and was reincarnated as Peter; Peter died and was reincarnated as Eugene; etc.
“Soul fractions” are quite different. The central idea is that when we die, our volitional (or karmic) energies are released. However, they do not necessarily pour into one future identity; they may instead disperse and go into many different persons. These future personalities, or “next” lives, may, in turn, draw upon the karmic energies of many different sources. Some believe we inherit karma from thirty-six past lives, although others reject the notion of any such fixed number.
The rest of the mystery has a mathematical solution. If the soul fraction is small, it does not manifest significantly in the person's life. However, if the fraction is larger — whatever number that may be — some of the karmic crises may once again come to the fore. Moreover, if two people have had a relationship of some sort (enemies, friends, lovers, murderer and victim, parent and child, et al.) the fractions may manifest as a recapitulation of their prior relationship and crises.
Of course, this concept does not get developed until the later novels, but just for a “sneak preview”: a dying man placed a curse on his unfaithful wife and her lover: that they would never consummate their marriage. They died, unable to wed, and the Curse thereafter took on a life of its own and became the Curse (capital “C”). Over the next 2,000 years, whenever the soul fractions became significant, the Curse successfully blocked the ill-fated lovers. However, at long last, Elena and Giovanni (my heroine and hero) have a chance to destroy the ancient malediction. If they cannot, it will destroy them!
Why is Beethoven so important in this novel?
He becomes even more consequential in the subsequent volumes. As we see in CURSED LOVE, my free prequel, it is he who composes the music that will ultimately bring together the lovers who may be able to defeat the Curse. The prequel can be downloaded from my website, https://www.lennycavallaro.com/, where I also discuss soul fractions (on the blog).
Whom do you see as your main audience for this book, and what do you hope they will get from reading your book?
The book should appeal to a wide range of readers. Those interested in classical music, those involved with (or curious about) hard-core kinky sex, those interested in psychic healing and the occult, those interested in a rather unusual approach to reincarnation (i.e., soul fractions), and those interested in the power of a curse will all find something to captivate them.
The other question is somewhat more serious. I hope readers will open their minds and become more tolerant of people who are “different,” and that they will also reflect on the broader messages within the text.
What's the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Characters from the opposite sex did not present anywhere near the challenges of the intersex character who appears briefly in the next two volumes. Although a minor figure in the narrative, he/she created some unique challenges. Fortunately, I became friendly with someone born with this condition, and he/she [pronouns of choice] generously provided me with considerable information.
Have you written any other books, or do you have any books planned for the future? Tell us as much as you are willing to share!
My novel, Trojan Dialogues: The Memoirs Of Diomedes, is a re-creation of the Trojan War myth. The Greatest Champion Who Never Was, a novella, is loosely based on the life of Tom Molyneux, the black bare-knuckle boxer. My nonfiction titles include books about the 1978 match for the world chess championship and a famous Revolutionary War brigantine that got trapped in the ice at Plymouth Harbor in 1778. Later this year, Russell Enterprises will release Sherlock Holmes And The Mysteries Of The Chess World, while Fomite Press will publish Paganini Agitato, my late mother's unfinished novel about the famous violinist (Niccolo Paganini), which I have “edited and revised.” I must append that White Bird Publications will release Volume Two of the saga, Paradise Regained And Lost Again, and perhaps a third book as well. Finally, I await word on the fate of Two Oedipal Plays, my dramatic efforts. Hamlet, Revisited is a one-act Hamlet with a most unusual twist, while Odysseus Acanthoplex is the conjectural “completion” of an incomplete (mostly “lost”) drama by Sophocles.
As for future projects: I am indeed sketching something, but I prefer not to discuss my work until I have completed at least an edited draft.
Anything else you want readers to know?
I wish merely to convey my sincerest gratitude to those who take an interest in this most unusual series. Anyone with questions should feel free to contact me via my website (cf. “About the Author”).
Thank you so much, Lenny, for giving us your precious time. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.