Author Archive

Easter, Astronomy, and Slippery Dates

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“Easter is early this year.” Have you heard that recently? In 2016 Easter occurs on March 27.) In our culture most holidays have either a set calendar date, such as December 25, or… Continue reading

Button Fakes, or the Art of Counterfeiting Coins

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As long as there has been currency, there has been counterfeiting. When I set out to create a villainous underground for my work-in-progress forgery attracted my attention. The temptation to manufacture money is… Continue reading

Forgery and the Corruption of History

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I confess to being a document fanatic. My husband and I have pored over original documents in state, local, and national archives. Other people collect objects. We collect paper—copies of our finds of… Continue reading

Timber Trade Along the Ottawa

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In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the fur trade played a large part in the economic development of North America. Popular imagination about the era is riddled with images related to that trade:… Continue reading

Triumph, Plunder, and the Full Weight of History

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Lovers of history know that objects shed light on the lives of people in past times. Some bring profound insight into a particular era, movement, or event. Only a few carry the weight… Continue reading

Question Everything

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There are moments, stunning in their clarity, when awareness of one’s own ignorance rises to the surface. A favorite book reminded me forcefully of that this week while researching a new novel. The… Continue reading

Maps, Markers, and Meandering: Place Matters

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When we moved to the urban wilds of Eastern Pennsylvania, it took some adjustment, but mostly that went smoothly. I’ve been here almost three years and have become comfortable. Besides the joy of… Continue reading

Of Popes and Politics

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As I write this, Pope Francis has arrived here in Philadelphia and my city has gone mad with joy. It seems as if the whole city has poured downtown to greet him. I… Continue reading

Tide, Wind, and Timeline

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The need for an accurate, believable timeline challenges any storyteller’s craft. Writing historical fiction makes this problem especially complex. A number of complicating factors can wreak havoc with the timeline, and my newest… Continue reading

The Seraglio, World of Women

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Sometimes research for a novel takes a fiction writer in unexpected directions. When a complicated plot point led me to place a character in the Ottoman Seraglio as a teacher I had to… Continue reading