Rhys on Wednesday.
Writing historical mysteries naturally means tons of research. When I first started writing Murphy's Law,the first Molly book, I knew I wanted to write a strong first person female character and I wanted to write about Ellis Island. That was as far as I had thought. When Molly finally stepped off Ellis Island it hit me that I had saddled myself with research for the rest of my writing career.
And thus it has proved, but actually I love it. I have learned so many things I would never otherwise have known. I can now talk intelligently on spiritualists in the nineteenth century, on the Irish freedom movement, on Coney Island and definitely take you on a tour of 1902 New York City.
I am just starting my next Molly book, (number eight) called In a Gilded Cage, and I'm again heading into unknown territory. The seed of this story was planted when mystery fan Doris Ann Norris sent me a book she had found at a friends of the library sale. It was recipes for medicines and cosmetics from 1900. It was fascinating and some of those medicines must have killed rather than cured if the dose was wrong. Arsenic, morphine, mercury, hemlock, opium all show up frequently in tonics and cures!
My husband had now better watch out if he annoys me...
And last night I delved into another unknown sphere. One of my characters had parents who died as missionaries in China. I wanted to know all about missionaries in China and found a fabulous book, mainly of letters home from a missionary's wife, which ends in their massacre during the Boxer rebellion in 1900. So now I know all the little details of their lives there. The amazing thing was that they managed to create a little America, a little home, in the midst of a strange country. Photos of their houses show something that one would expect to see on a Pennsylvania hillside.
The other amazing thing is how successful they were in conversions. Of course many of their flock recanted when the Boxers were killing Jesus people, but lots didn't and died for their faith. I would now be interested to know how many underground Christians there have been in China throughout the century and how the religion is faring now.
I guess I must have an inquiring mind.