Many a writer has been sidetracked by research. Dani Shapiro mentioned recently it was just another form of procrastination. She’s right, of course.
But sometimes you just have to go looking for those marvelous details that will pull the reader into your fictional world. In my mind, historical fiction would be flat on the page without them. Like the Italian mantle clock I found early on and which will play its own part in my story. (I wish I could show you a picture, but I’m pretty sure it’s copyrighted. Check it out here, though.)
I was looking for an antique tool, something a metal shop owner would have used. I found the iron rod fairly quickly, but soon became enamored by the other lovely objects on this site. I found a gold velvet pincushion, set in a brass bucket and topped with a brass poodle holding a thimble: just the thing my Jewish lady's maid would use while sewing my character's maternity clothes. Perfect, right? It gets better, and I swear I’m not making this up. As I looked at the various images of the pincushion, a closeup of the bottom of the thimble revealed a Star of David.
I'm happy with my little sidetrack for the morning...now back to writing!