Globe from Versailles

Paris is one of my favorite cities. Its history and ambiance intrigue me. There is something about strolling down the streets of Paris, crossing the bridges, or walking along the Seine, even in the rain, that can’t be experienced anywhere else in the world. It has a certain “Je ne sais pas” (I don’t know what. . .)  Hard to describe!

 

A Tale of Two Cities

And what surprised me was that London and Paris are truly sister cities. But don’t tell the Brits and Frenchies! Seriously, other than the ornateness of the Paris buildings and stateliness of the English, both cities are identical – a large expanse of buildings designed around a river, with gorgeous bridges, cathedrals, and governmental buildings abound, an iconic skyscraper, an underground to transport the masses, and pages and pages of historical events that entwine them both.

Ornate Paris Lamppost
Ornate London Lamppost

Hidden History

You’ve got the picture! All this historic “eye-candy” inspires me. But let me show you the three images from our trips that sparked a trio of stories:

Below is the bun shop where I discovered a tiny basement museum with a minuscule note mentioning the possibility that Sally Lunn (aka Solange Luyon) was a Huguenot girl who fled to England in the 1700s to escape persecution. With that tidbit of info, I am in the process of bringing Solange (Soli’s) story to life. I tentatively entitled my MG novel, “Soli’s Saving Grace.”

Sally Lunn’s Bun Shop in Bath, UK

I wrote a picture book inspired by the gorgeous creature below — only my MC was a white peacock, embarrassed with his ugliness until one day . . .

I call it “Feathers White, Feathers Bright.” Although I have submitted it to editors, I’ve had no luck. Today I will try again with #FaithPitch

Years ago, I discovered a little known medical expedition sanctioned by King Carlos of Spain in the very early 1800s. A smallpox vaccine was brought back to the Americas via 22 orphan boys, keeping it alive on the skin from one boy to the next until they arrived at their destination.

Their orphanage was in La Coruña, Spain — imagine my delight when I realized our sailboat cruise along the northwest coast of Spain would stop there!

I was impressed by this woman’s bravery and named the ship that sailed across the Atlantic with the 22 orphans the “Maria Pita” after Galicia’s (Northern Spain) heroine.

Maria Pita statue in La Coruña, Spain. She saved Galicia from the British. The ship that

I found the area where the orphanage probably was located, and walked from there to the sea, as my boys in “The Orphan’s Who Saved the World” would have done on their way to board the ship!

I wrote The Orphans Who Saved the World for the Institute for Children’s Literature‘s advanced course two years ago, and have submitted it a few times to agents and editors, also with no response, other than a new Christian publisher who was interested and wants me to resubmit it in the fall since they were publishing two already this year.

So many ideas, so little time!

Here are some links you might use for historic research:

Museum Virtual Tours

Museum Resources

Hathi Trust

National Archives

New York Public Library

Picture Gallery

Getty Images

Historical Picture Gallery

National Geographic

Google Aerial Maps

Virtual City Tours

I hope this has inspired you to dig into history with the links above. Better yet, it’s time to plan a vacation. We’ve been sequestered far too long.

Have a suitcase I can hide in?

Jarm Del Boccio’s debut middle-grade historical fiction, The HeartChanger, released with Ambassador International in 2019. You can connect with her at https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/

*****

You don’t always have to travel to find historical fiction ideas. Joyce Hostetter, our Fiction Master Class instructor, found inspiration in her own community–Hickory, NC. Next Monday, Kathryn Dover will review BLUE, the first book Joyce wrote in the Bakers Mountain Series.

 

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