When it came time to work on the series again, after a lapse of a couple of years from the original drafts, I was a bit concerned about how I would get involved and return to the mindset of the works. Because of their historical background, it’s a double issue: the created world of my characters, and the historical milieu they occupy.
I started by trying to recapture the mood surrounding me at that time. I revisited some of the research materials I used then, paying special attention to any notations I made. I pulled out the music I’d been listening to, flipped through photos of my research trip to England, as well as some of the other resources I collected. I find it especially helpful to manage the transitions to writing, by listening to my book “soundtrack” while driving home to write, or listening to lectures about the period which can spark new ideas.
In this way, I am able to re-immerse myself in the world I had left behind to the point where I am once again thinking about the book all the time. I watch a movie, and think about my characters in relation to the actions of the actors. I attend a performance and imagine what my characters enjoy as entertainment. I walk out to the bus stop, listening to the birds and thinking about what sorts of sounds my characters are surrounded by.
Now that my thoughts are focused on the book, everything I experience becomes part of my process. Obsessive? What makes you say that? And what would my characters say…