Written by Donna Duffy Friday, 26 April 2013 00:00
Since she was four-years-old, Roslyn resident Emma Iadanza has been fascinated with ancient cultures and languages. She taught herself how to write and read hieroglyphics and, in kindergarten, authored and performed her first play about ancient Egypt with her class.
Now 12, Emma has upped the ante and published a book about a privileged girl from ancient Pompeii who is killed when Mt. Vesuvius erupts in 79 AD, only to wake up alive and well in modern-day France. Entitled Lady of Pompeii, the 116-page novel for children ages 9-14 is available through Amazon.com.
Made immortal by the goddess Isis and sent on a quest to save the world from Apophis, the god of Chaos, Antonia, the book’s heroine, travels the globe posing as a touring classical musician. Her mission: finding teenagers from all across time who, armed with the power and protection of the gods, must train and learn to work as a team to prevent the world they love from being destroyed.
Although the story is fictional, Antonia’s masquerade as a musician was inspired by the young author’s own appreciation for classical music. A violinist and pianist, Emma performs in several orchestras and has played at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as on stages at Adelphi University and Long Island University.
“I decided to write Lady of Pompeii after I watched a documentary re-enactment of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius,” she said. “I wondered if anyone survived, and then I thought, maybe they didn’t have to die.” The young author says she based the supporting characters on her real friends and also wrote about things she has done or wishes she could do.
“Emma has a huge creative spirit,” added her father, Joe Iadanza, a graphic designer and singer-songwriter. “We don’t push her; we just get out of her way and try to help her focus as best we can. Our family has always taken the attitude that if someone else can publish a book or play at Carnegie Hall, then why not us?”
“We’d walk into Emma’s room and find her typing away, stating ‘I’m writing a book,’” said Jennifer Iadanza, Emma’s mom. “We never doubted her motivation, but, still, holding the finished product in our hands leaves us with a feeling of pride and joy that’s difficult to explain.”
Emma sometimes wonders aloud about who could play Antonia in a movie version of her book. But, she doesn’t let that distract her for long. That’s because, besides all of the things she has to do just to get through the usual demands of pre-teen life, the young author is already working on the follow-up to Lady of Pompeii.