All of my books begin with the seed of an idea. For everything I’ve written up to this point, the research was more casual. I would visit a place and imagine my characters there. But for the historical novel I’m currently working on, “I Will Find You”, the fact-finding mission has been much more serious and intense. I’ve been reading non-fiction accounts of Paris during World War II, both anecdotal and factual books, about exactly what happened to that magnificent city and its inhabitants.
For example, I didn’t know that there was a real effort to hide the priceless art from the pilaging Nazi soldiers and that many Parisians risked their lives for those paintings and sculptures. I visited Tel Aviv twice to spend time with the docent at the bullet museum there. Without giving away too much, those two places form the plot of my book. I’ve been doing the research for close to two years, and now as I write, I fill in the details from the copious notes I took along the way!
My all-time favorite book as a child was Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time”. I can remember sitting up in my bed, late into the night, book propped up on my knees, flashlight in hand against the “lights out” policy set out by my parents after 9pm, having been transported to a place that was totally unknown and mysterious. Plus, it had the element of suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat.
Would Meg find her missing father? Would she be brave enough to challenge herself to move past her fear of failure if she did find him yet couldn’t bring him home? Would the dark planet swallow her whole, as it seemed to have done to her dad and could Meg trust these three supernatural creatures, Mrs Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which to help her find her way? I couldn’t stop turning the pages, and after that novel, I was hooked. I wanted to create worlds of my own, where my readers could find their reality melt away and get lost in a story for a while. Now, I get to do just that!