Visual Aids: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
by Monique Martin
I'm a visual person. So what am I doing working in a medium without images? I don't know, but when you find out tell my dad so he'll feel better about sending me to film school.
When I write, especially things like time travel romance, I love using visual prompts. I'll often cast my book with actors who have the right look or feel for the period. But it doesn't end there for me. I'll print out pictures of not just people, but places and things too. (Raise your hand if you have the Schoolhouse Rock Noun Song in your head now?)
Here are just a few of the visual aids I used when writing "Out of Time" and "When the Walls Fell".
For me, it's usually the minor characters that get a place on the wall of fame next to my desk. I know what Simon and Elizabeth (my hero and heroine) look like. It's the small parts and their images that help give life to a book.
Sebastian Cross, Simon's beloved grandfather from "Out of Time", was based on none other than the Nobel Prize winning philanthropist and theologian, Albert Schweitzer. How can you not love that face?
Teddy Fiske, scientist and all 'round good egg from "When the Walls Fell", was based on this man from the Harvard Physics Department circa 1900. When I was creating the character of Teddy, I cruised the net for inspiration and when I came across this photo his entire being just fell into place. I love this photo and plan to use a few more of these men as inspirations for characters in future books. Why do old pictures seem to have more soul than modern ones?
1906 San Francisco, the setting for "When the Walls Fell", was filled with fantastic locations. One that I knew I had to use was the old Cliff House.
Although the Cliff House still exists today, the grandeur of the Victorian architecture is gone. It survived the great quake only to burn down the following year.
1929 New York City, the setting for "Out of Time", offered plenty of amazing locations too. One of the most memorable for me was Coney Island. From the freak shows to the Cyclorama, it just screamed for scenes to be set in it.
I'm a bit of a gearhead and I loved searching for just the right car for Max from "When the Walls Fell".
I found 1911 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost, but it was close enough for Max and the begonias. It's hard to tell from the photo, but that sucker is almost 20 feet long! Imagine parallel parking that thing.
Last, but certainly not least, is the dress that inspired Elizabeth's gown for the Graham's party in "When the Walls Fell".
This amazing evening dress was created for the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. I found it and oodles of other beautiful gowns while cruising the Hermitage Museum online collections. I'm not a real clothesy person, but that dress is To. Die. For.
I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into the images that inspired me. You don't have to be a writer to find an image inspirational. It might just make you feel good, or wish you were there. Is there a picture that's inspired you? If so, post about it in the comments section for a chance to win a digital copy of "When the Walls Fell".
Monique is a geek of many colors and has eclectic interests ranging from sports to comic books. She would sell everything she owned to go into space. "Maybe someday." She can watch twelve hours of football in a day and will even watch Golf. She has an ever-expanding comic book collection with emphasis on Silver and Bronze Age Marvel.
Professor Simon Cross and his assistant Elizabeth West have returned from their accidental journey into the past and are adjusting to their new life together as a couple. But an unwanted visit from the Council for Temporal Studies could change everything.
A murder in the past is changing the future, and if the killing isn't stopped, Simon Cross might never be born.
When they arrive in 1906 San Francisco, Elizabeth and Simon have no idea who wants Victor Graham dead or how it will happen. With the earthquake that leveled most of the city just days away, the race to save Graham thrusts them into a complex mystery of jealousy and revenge where murder might be the least of their worries.
The exciting sequel to Out of Time: A Paranormal Romance, When the Walls Fell, is a time travel adventure filled with suspense, mystery and romance.
Look for more books in the Out of Time series coming in 2012!