My reading list right now is has about six legs, so I liken it to a bee flitting all about and drinking up honey. I never know where it is all leading, and frankly it is none of my business at this, the research stage of writing. My job is to soak it in and when I have enough, the empty spaces will fill in and show me how everything is connected. As Jeffrey Rush said as the character Philip Henslowe in “Shakespeare in Love,” strangely enough, it all turns out well. How? “It’s a mystery!”
Recently, I started The French Mistress by Susan Holloway Scott. I enjoy her books and wanted to learn a little more about what went on in the Restoration years. This is about the relationship between the Duchess of Portsmouth and the amorous King Charles II.
After the Amelia Island Book Festival in February I exchanged books with author Dee Phelps. Her first novel, The Disappointment Room, is set in South Carolina during the plantation era, about an evil mother who hides a disappointing child in an attic room and pretends to her politician husband that the child is dead.
Last week I picked up Winter King, Thomas Penn’s book about Henry VII and the dawn of Tudor England, which was recommended to me by my friend John King. It was published in 2011 but I had not seen it before. The reading is slow-going at first, because of the complexities of family connections, but fascinating and informative.
As I am now living in the South, I also like to learn about the local area history, so I am studying the Timuqua Indians, from a book by Deon L. Jaccard. The Timuqua were in North Florida for about 4,000 years before the French and Spanish arrived to build forts and colonize. Apparently they were tall, fit, peace-loving people who, to their own downfall, helped the Europeans survive. I should have learned about all of this in high school, but if the story of the Timuqua ever was mentioned to me it fell on deaf ears, I’m sorry to say.
I am eager to get through this material and see where it all goes, but as we writers all know, life happens in the meantime. Yesterday I spent most of the day recaulking a bathroom. Ah well, somehow that may end up having a role in the mystery also. You never really know which part of your experience will ignite the story.