• Sheryl Gwyther

#28 The story ... back to the grind

The past seven weeks have gone like a flash ... and now I'm home and rearing to finish my novel. This was the main reason we travelled to Italy and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to follow my instincts about going to the source - Venice. The Four Seasons of Caterina (or whatever this novel will end up being called) will benefit as much as I did.

I learned many useful things during my research - some aspects I will definitely use. But much of what I discovered you won't see in the story as such. Why not? you might ask.

Have you ever read an historical novel where the author gives you a history lesson in a dialogue? Or tells rather than shows important information (tricky one that). I'll try not to do that to you, dear reader.

I've also recognised paragraphs in one or two stories set in Venice that seem sort of familiar. I'm not accusing anyone of deliberate plagiarism, of course ... when you become so caught up in your research in books and beyond, the words stay in your head so much you may forget you didn't actually write them.

So I will try my very best to infiltrate, to sneak what I have learned from this research trip into my story, to trick you, to take you from ordinary life and sit you in my Caterina's world.

18th century Venice ... pink and gold in the early morning light, magically appearing to float on water in high tide. Noisy with the buzz of many tongues, of traders and ships, spices and candles and fish.

Grand palazzos along the Grand Canal, their facades decorated with carvings, frescoes and golden mosaics, but falling into decay at the back. Hovels in dead-end calles where the poor live. Slippery cobbles stinking with sludge left after the full-moon tide retreats.

And music ... always the music. She's the treasured musical city of Baroque Europe. They call her La Serenissima, the most serene of cities, and she draws the wealthy from Britain and Europe to taste of its sensory pleasures, and not just in art and music. Yes, Venice is a character all on her own.

The travel part of this blog is complete, but the story is not, so I will keep you up to date on its progress, via this blog. Thank you for coming along on my research trip. I trust you've enjoyed the journey. And when Caterina's story is published one day, I hope you remember the passion that went into her creation.

I'll post a little chapter from The Four Seasons of Caterina seeing as I've been referring to it so much. It will no doubt, be edited again, and again... that's just the way of this crazy life as an author.

So, if you'd like a little peek into my work-in-progress, check the next post.