Saturday, May 8, 2010

The details aren't merely the icing, they're the whole cake!

I spent over ten years in research in preparation for writing So Faithful a Heart. The idea to write an historical fiction novel on the subject of the love between Mozart and Nancy Storace was born out of the subject for my master's thesis which was on Nancy Storace, her life, career, and relationship with Mozart. After I finished graduate school, I continued doing more in-depth research about Mozart and Nancy as well as 18th century European culture, fashion, society, marriage, religion, music, literature, art, politics, and general history. I studied the languages, terms, attitudes, customs and class structures in order to gain a deeper insight into the characters and the things that motivated them. I wanted my characters to be as real, believable, and accessible as possible and at the same time not simply be 21st century people with 21st century attitudes in an 18th century setting.

I'm sure many of you have had experiences when you learn that someone, perhaps younger than you, perhaps not, has been watching you and gleaning from your life, your work, and your actions without your even realizing that they've been doing so. This has been the case with a young woman who, when I was a grad student, was an undergrad in the same department. A few years later we were reunited through a choral group in which we both sing in the alto section, and then after that we became friends on Facebook.

A couple of months ago she purchased a copy of So Faithful a Heart and read it, and then when I opened this blog, she became a regular reader of it, too. A few days ago, when I posted a link on Facebook to another blog entry, she commented on the link that she loved this blog and that she enjoyed getting to read more of the "behind-the-scenes" information and research that went into the writing of So Faithful a Heart. She said one thing in particular that really touched me and affirmed that the painstaking research and trouble I took to gather as many details as possible wasn't for naught.

I love that you know the world your book is set in, inside and out. I love when I am confident that fiction authors know more about their created worlds than their audience does. You KNOW what's around every corner, who's involved with whom, and what's going on behind the scenes. Immersion is awesome. Details aren't the icing on the cake for me--they ARE the cake.

Thank you, Rebecca. Readers like you make it all worth it!

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