"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My Amazing Job

Writing's not really a "job," it's a calling. Or a habit. Possibly a compulsion?

Some days, it's less than joyous. Other days, I truly have to pinch myself.

I'm working on a novel about a real couple. Several years ago, I happened to meet a descendant of theirs, an English nobleman whose father is a duke--and who will one day hold that title himself. The same ducal title that belonged to my male protagnonist. Amazing!

In the course of my research, I've been locating and collecting images of this couple. I'm desperate to know the colour of my heroine's hair, for one thing, so my descriptions of her will be accurate.

The best source of this information is a portrait of her hanging in Hampton Court Palace outside London--which happens to be one of my favourite places in England. It makes me crazy that on more than one occasion, I've stood in front of this portrait, back when it meant absolutely nothing to me--and now that I'm thoroughly obsessed with it I can't even remember noticing it!

Lately, emails have been flying between me and various curators of the royal palace collections, as I plan my return visit to Hampton Court so I may stand and gaze upon this fascinating lady and pay appropriate attention to her appearance. Receiving emails from members of the Royal Household is also amazing. And I greatly appreciate their responsiveness and helpfulness.

I must drag myself away from the project three days this week to head for the city for meetings. Today my husband and I will drive there together, and after our meetings we'll continue celebrating my birthday at a fave restuarant. They mailed me a coupon granting me a free birthday meal any time during this month.

Our red cardinal stops by every day now. This morning, he was warbling to somebody--and the somebody warbled back. We hope it's his girlfriend or wife, and that they'll settle down right here this spring and raise lots of little cardinals.

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