If you've read A Lasting Impression, you may be interested (or not, depending on your mood...grin
) in seeing some of the pieces of art that Adelicia Acklen, the mistress of the Belmont Mansion, really owned, and that I included in the storyline of this novel.
If you are, visit The Belmont Mansion Novels page on my website, and you'll see the five statues Adelicia bought while on her grand tour of Europe, along with some other glimpses of the mansion and its history.
I am absolutely LOVING writing about antebellum mansions and weaving a ton of real life history into these stories filled with actual characters who lived and breathed. But I have to tell you… It's a tad intimidating at times.
Because even though I've poured over letters and diaries and newspaper accounts, etc... and definitely have a sense of "knowing" these people, still…over one hundred and forty years separate us so I don't have the luxury of sitting down with those people and truly getting to know them. Or of just "making up their history" as what seems best to me. These people lived. They made choices that had eternal consequences. They have descendants who are reading these books. And these "characters" are very real to me, even more so than usual, with good reason.
One thing that helps me so much is to spend time in their homes. You get a sense of who someone is/was when you visit their home, when you look at what they spent money on, what they deemed as valuable, what they prized, and in reading the letters they wrote to each other [that they, of course, had no idea would be broadcast to the world. Now that's humbling feeling, isn't it? What if the emails you wrote were someday published in a book? Ack!] All of these things say a great deal about a person.
Have you ever been to a historical setting and then felt as if that gave you better perspective into who that person was who lived there? If so, please share!