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Writing historical fiction: sometime journal of a New York City novelist

I tried to take a vacation from writing....

...but it did not entirely work and after a week my husband got an external keyboard and mouse so I could write on the laptop. That is, I wrote when I could in the worse rain and flooding Ireland has seen in hundreds of years. Perhaps I should work a flood into my next story...

But I DID get a chance to read four terrific novels, each one very different. I bought Tracy Chevalier's new novel about two women fossil hunters in Victorian England; it is called REMARKABLE CREATURES and I found it in a shop in Dublin's Grafton Street. The sun came out a bit while we stopped in the Irish southwest at a cafe and shop before an awesome rock formation called Moll's Gap where I bought John McGahern's brilliant novel THAT THEY MAY FACE THE RISING SUN, set in the Irish west along a lake. I had ordered my first Robin Maxwell novel, the passionate SIGNORA DA VINCI, about Leonardo's intelligent, innovative and adoring mother. I hardly noticed the pouring rain as I huddled in yet another B&B reading Michelle Cameron's THE FRUIT OF HER HANDS, an engrossing novel about an educated Jewish woman in medieval France. I would have read more but you know what weight restrictions are now in flying; even though I left several new novels home, we bought whiskey and my husband collected many small stones (!) and so we had to pay overweight luggage charges coming back. And to think I could have bought more books with that money!

It was fascinating to study the complex and almost always variable ways other writers handle plot movement and character and all the things one has in a novel. A visit to Dublin's archeological museum had me fascinated by the early Celts and the Vikings who inhabited Dublin and put me in mind of the deep, brooding novel THE THRALL's TALE, written by one of my closest friends, Judith Lindbergh....now to find time to reread that! And wandering in puddles through the many rooms of a long broken abbey in Galway (hosted by my friend writer Fiona Clare), I began to think of even more story possibilities...I already need to live to 143 to write everything I'd like!
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