The entire panel of the wall bumped out toward us, where Luc felt for another hidden latch.
“Literature and art—my father always says those are the two connectors to the past, to our histories.”
The thick piece disengaged from its resting spot and creaked open on shackle-like hinges. “Which is why we have this place.”
The odor of earth and stone filled the air.
“What is this? A crypt?”
“Of sorts. Come, I’ll show you.” -a scene in The Golden Willow
Over the past year and a half, I’ve worked steadily on my novel, through drafts and rewrites, more rewrites and beta-reads, and more revisions and polishing. It’s been a lot of work, but for me, it’s been exciting — I love the story and I’m delighted with the way it’s come together. My novel is currently titled THE GOLDEN WILLOW.
As I’ve stepped into the next phase of the process, toward traditional publication, I’ve been reflecting on the various things which inspired me in its creation. Many were from travels in Europe or from places I’ve lived, which I often blog about here. But a few of the other inspirations are special …
Inspirations for The Golden Willow
1. The Sleeping Beauty Apartment:
Several years ago, I read about an apartment which is sometimes coined The Sleeping Beauty Apartment, in Paris, which had been rediscovered after 70 years of abandonment. Truly, everything about its story picked at me until I couldn’t help dreaming up ways to weave it into a novel.
2. Actual travels:
I love history, but especially after living in and traveling through Europe. I often ask myself what is it that makes Prague different than, for example, Indianapolis? What is it about a place that speaks to us, that opens up our imaginations and helps us to feel an intimate sense of connection? I believe it is some deeper sense of the human struggles and triumphs which have gone on there before us. Three of those with rich history and a sense of place are in my novel: the Cinque Terre, the Amalfi Coast, and Venice, Italy.
3. The Monuments Men:
Originally a true story, then crafted into book by Robert Edsel, The Monuments Men will be coming out as a movie in December of 2013 — with three of my favorite actors: Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, and George Clooney. The story is incredible, based on the real Allied forces men who were tasked with saving Europe’s art during and after the fighting in WWII.
4. The Last Supper:
My family and I had the incredible opportunity to see Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper in Milan, inside the refectory of Santa Maria della Grazie, in 2012. Considering that only about 25 people are permitted to see the painting every quarter hour, on a very strict schedule, and that The Last Supper has been fading and endangered repeatedly during its five-hundred year lifetime, it was a great privilege to get to see it. I will never be able to forget the faces da Vinci painted, and knew I needed to weave part of its history into my novel.
5. New Orleans:
The grand belle of Louisiana has long been part of my life. My husband and I lived there for a few years soon after we were married. We often rode the streetcars through Garden District for its beautiful architecture and the Live Oaks draped with Spanish moss.
*** Updated November 7, 2013: 1,500 Works of Art Looted by Nazis Recovered in Munich
The True Story of the $1 Billion Art Cache Discovered in Munich seems to have walked from the pages of THE GOLDEN WILLOW into real life.
How Does It All Add Up?
Like a mosaic, each of these inspirations, along with the characters, Livia, Will, Sofia, and Luc, became The Golden Willow.