Friday, April 27, 2012

This Old House

When I travel, there a few things I put on my list no matter where I'm going. 1. Museums, (of course)  2. Libraries and I always hope I can get a souvenir library card. 3. A restored historical house or collection of houses.

I actually search the web for historical homes before I go someplace. Part of it is probably my love of history, (I once was an American History teacher), part researcher for my books and most of all, just a nosiness about what it would be like to have lived so many years ago.

I literally want to walk in someone else's shoes. Or at least sit at their table, peek into their bedrooms and try to imagine what their daily life must have been like.

My husband shares my interest in history, and in his case house visits are spurred by a love of antiques. He looks at these excursions as a means to create a shopping list. My sons grew up with my obsession and learned to live with it, although my oldest son could often be heard muttering beneath his breath, "another non-stop educational tour!"

There is just something wonderful about wandering about a house, whether it's a small rustic log cabin, a farmhouse or a mansion, and almost hearing the voices of the people who lived there murmuring around you.

I've never seen a ghost on any of these visits, (and I have seen ghosts, so I'd know it). But I have felt as if I walked through a time portal, as the table is set, the clothes hung in the closet and the toys of children scattered around the floor. It's as if the people walked out the door, but might return at any moment.

I take a lot of photos on these visits, and when I'm trying to imagine what my book characters are doing, I can pull out my collection and finally, the people have come home.

What spurs your imagination when you're writing?

Sibelle Stone is the pen name for award-winning author Deborah Schneider. She writes Westerns as Deborah, and paranormal and steampunk as Sibelle. Both of her personas live in the Pacific Northwest. Deborah was the 2009 RWA Librarian of the Year. Sibelle does not hold a day job.

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1 comment:

  1. I do exactly the same and I love visiting old houses! Last year, when doing research for a romantic novel set in the Scottish Highlands I visited Newtonmore Highland Folk Museum, where they've built authentic Scottish huts exactly like they used to be. It was invaluable research and I loved sitting next to the peat fire! I took lots of photos as well - really like yours!