Hobnobbing With The Orphanmaster

Clambering up the nob of Nob Hill with the other tourists in the brilliant San Francisco sunshine, waiting to go out and sign, sign, sign. Everyone riding the cable cars; the streets smell like brakes. I always feel a shadow of Kerouac in the air.

How will I explain New Amsterdam to folks that live in so unlike a town? A tiny bit of a settlement, a mile square, 15 streets, a gallows and a fort. It would all almost fit into Union Square, down Geary Street, where I just sat in the cool air and drank a coffee. But it was actually more like today’s Times Square, in New York, smells and noise, money being spent,  money being stolen…

I was thinking about something that gave me a spark of interest in the world that would form the basis of The Orphanmaster.  I took a hearth cooking class about ten years ago, in an early 18th century cottage at a restoration near my house. I came out of there blinking in the sunlight, thoroughly drenched in smoke from the cook fire. I loved that immersion in a different world, so real I could smell it on my clothes. Writing historical fiction is a comparable immersion, and you don’t have to wash it afterwards.

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Filed under Jean Zimmerman, Publishing, The Orphanmaster, Writing

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