One of the best things about Fierce Ink Press (my first publishers, who have since gone out of business) was that they introduced me to Emma Dolan, the illustrator who created all the covers for the Portia Adams Adventures.
Well, it would seem destiny (and Emma’s considerable talent) have brought us together again, because DCB has commissioned her to create the book cover for Pickles vs the Zombies!
This blog post is inspired by the incredible Beverly Wolov, whom I met at the GridLock Conference last month. During a panel discussion she revealed her gift of fashion history, and I had to stop her afterwards to talk to her about the 1930s, Portia, and all the fashion issues I have. If you know me at all, you know my preferred outfit is a comic-book t-shirt and jeans, but I am expected to write descriptive scenes about Portia and the fashion she would be wearing in 1930s London.
Beverly, lovely lady that she is, not only read Jewel of the Thames, but came back to me with all kinds of suggestions for future outfits/fabrics/styles for the characters in my book series!
She also sent along the images in this blog post from her collection of fashion books and magazines that I intend to harness in my writing.
Beverly is a guest photographer and researcher at the Smithsonian (Yes THAT Smithsonian) and has an M.A. in the History of Decorative Arts from the Smithsonian Institute-Corcoran College of Art and Design where her studies focused primarily on the history of fashion, of lace, and material culture.
Enjoy the fabulous images below and expect to see them incorporated into Thrice Burned and No Matter How Improbable very soon!
Fashion Design 1800-1940. The Pepin Press, Amsterdam. 2001. p. 357
Fashion Design 1800-1940. The Pepin Press, Amsterdam. 2001. p. 355.
Fashion Design 1800-1940. The Pepin Press, Amsterdam. 2001. p. 354
1928-1930. John Peacock. Costume 1066-1990s. Thames and Hudson Ltd., London. 1986 and 1994. p.117
1928-1930. John Peacock. Costume 1066-1990s. Thames and Hudson Ltd., London. 1986 and 1994. p.116.
John Peacock. Fashion Accessories.Thames and Hudson, Ltd. 2000. p. 57
John Peacock. Fashion Accessories.Thames and Hudson, Ltd. 2000. p. 64
John Peacock. Fashion Accessories.Thames and Hudson, Ltd. 2000. p. 65
John Peacock. Fashion Accessories.Thames and Hudson, Ltd. 2000. p. 58
John Peacock. Fashion Accessories.Thames and Hudson, Ltd. 2000. p. 68.
I’ve never been good with spatial reasoning, I really have to see something to understand it, let alone to describe it in prose in a book!
I wanted to include a secret hiding spot where Holmes would have kept his really top-secret stuff, and that Portia could discover and use to her own advantage as well. My idea was that the spot be somewhere behind the fireplace, but in trying to articulate both its discovery and usage, I struggled to explain it clearly.
So I kind of built it, with cardboard, to be able to describe it things that are happening in a scene. Its kind of a little diorama. Hopefully it will be useful in the future when I do other descriptive writing, but at the very least, it will help me be consistent (like when I describe Portia coming out of her bedroom and bumping into her dresser on her right – let’s establish the dresser is on the right!!).
This first pic is of the whole apartment (the bathroom is in the lower right quadrant, the fireplace on the left and Portia’s bed is hidden in the top right quadrant.
This second picture is of the a close up of the fireplace itself.
Note the two white columns on either side and the mantlepiece.
The chairs are the wingbacks Portia usually sits in and in the very left of the image you can barely see the stove. Yes, I know, try not to get distracted by the horrible details, this is NOT my forte.
Now if you look at the third image below of the diorama in close-up you see my clumsy fingers demonstrating how the white columns rotate forward, allowing for limited storage behind them and beside the actual fireplace. I figure with the brick all-round the fireplace area, and the white columns being made out of wood, the hidden contents should be reasonably protected from a fire in the fireplace.