Is it crazy to have a conversation with an antiquarian bookseller from 1666 London? Not really, not if you are a writer, or I should say, a historical fiction writer.
The magic begins when that conversation takes on a life of its own, when the writer becomes the observer and the characters take over and direct the conversation and you are taken to places you did not expect. You stop controlling the story. You are there simply to capture what your characters are meant to say or do. You are the stenographer, the court reporter who documents what is said and done.
When all is finally said and done, you can take credit as the writer, but you know in your heart you could never have done it if your characters had not stepped up and taken over. That antiquarian bookseller, that apprentice, that housemaid, that ghost and all the others could have kept their mouths shut and you would have nothing but an empty notebook and a story idea with no story.
I am grateful the antiquarian bookseller from 1666 London and all the others talked with me. They don’t think I’m crazy at all. I look forward to many more surprising conversations with them.