I’ve been quiet here because all of my writing time has been spent on the novel. The rewrite has taken on a life of its own. The novel is quite a bit longer; I still have a few chapters left to do and it’s already longer than the previous version. But I do think I’ve been successful in getting inside the heads of my characters.
I’ve been using lots of different sources to get into the time period. I read a fabulous book, 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement. This isn’t so much a history of the families as it is of the food (my review of it on Goodreads). Mmmm. While not all of it was food I would choose (lots of cow parts I prefer not to think about), some was quite tempting. Thinking about the food helped set the mood in my characters’–Dottie and Rose–kitchen. Rose is a housewife. Food plays a big part of her life.
Another site that I found thanks to NPR, is The Roaring Twenties, which is a sound history of New York City. Listening to what it would have sounded like in New York in the 1920s/1930s plus watching some of the video clarifies the picture of the neighborhood in my mind, which allows me to paint a better picture on the page.
When I find my thoughts stilted, I play 1930s music on Pandora. And occasionally I leaf through old photos of my grandparents. Whatever it takes to keep my mind in the last century.
I’ve had a bit of a forced hiatus from the novel with Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, but as (thankfully) our holidays are over this week, I can focus completely on the novel. I hope to have those last few chapters done by the end of December and out to my readers for feedback in January.
And while it’s out getting feedback, I’ll be able to get back to some family research. Because I’ve made some interesting discoveries I’ve been wanting to tell you about. But, unfortunately, Rose and Dottie beckon first.