Daphne Kalotay’s two novels, “Russian Winter” and “Sight Reading,” are set in the worlds of ballet and classical music, respectively.
“Only recently, a friend of mine said, ‘You always write about artists,’” said Kalotay, who will read from “Sight Reading” at Peabody Institute Library in Danvers on Wednesday.
In part that’s because Kalotay’s novels draw from her personal experience with both types of performance.
“I did grow up taking piano lessons and played the viola through college, my early 20s,” she said. “I took dance classes into my late 20s.”
Kalotay never appeared professionally, however, and enhanced her experience with plenty of research while writing both novels.
The music played by the main characters in “Sight Reading,” which was published this year, mingles with the passions they experience as part of a love triangle, which the story follows across 20 years.
“The book is triangulated in its structure, too,” Kalotay said. “Each part is 10 years separated from the other part. It leaps ahead in the middle and in the last section, and each section looks at a specific moment in time.”
Kalotay grew up in New Jersey and earned both a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a doctorate in modern and contemporary literature at Boston University. Both of her novels are set in Boston.
“I’ve been here so long, but I think because I didn’t grow up here, I find it charming and wonderful and rich in terms of material,” she said.
Kalotay supported herself by teaching after earning her doctorate in 1998 and sold her collection of short stories, “Calamity,” in November 2003, before taking a leap into full-time writing in 2006.
“I could tell I was on to something,” she said.
In her readings, she draws on sections of the novel that are similar to short stories.