When you’re writing historical fiction, details matter. It was important to know when ships bearing luxuries from overseas might be arriving back in port to Amsterdam. So off to the internet I went.
No one had to tell me how important the first page is. I got it already. I got it each time I picked up a book in a store, opened it up to the first page, read a paragraph and set it back on the shelf.
He’s not a bad guy, not really. But you can’t say he’s really good, either. So he makes his living doing the bidding of some shadowy underworld types. I mean, that’s not great. But on the other hand, he’s also the sort of uncle who comes home from a business trip with a giant stuffed animal for his nephew. It’s just that the business trip involved mob money.
Just some fun and utterly contradictory things about life in Amsterdam during its Golden Age:
If it seems strange that a group of Jews from Portugal wound up in Amsterdam in the 1600s, it helps to understand what started in Spain a little more than a hundred years earlier. In 1478, a Dominican friar convinced Queen Isabella of Spain that Jews who had converted to Christianity were still secretly practicing their old beliefs. The queen and King Ferdinand petitioned Pope Sixtus IV to start an inquisition.
When I talk to nonwriters about my project – heck, even when I talk to writers about it – I’m asked any number of things, but “Where did you get that idea from” has got to be one of the things I hear the most.
Something big happened a month ago.
At least, it was to me. I reached the end of a sentence. The sentence was the end of a chapter, and the chapter was the end of a first draft, and that was the first book I ever wrote. Getting there was no small feat. This was the culmination of five efforts of writing the dang thing. By this point, I had lived with the idea of the story in my head for nearly twelve years. It was kinda a big deal.
And also, kind of not.