This Covid pandemic has forced us all to be less active and more introspective. It’s one of the times I can especially appreciate being a writer, for my writing takes me out of my own very limited (at the moment) world and lets me visit other times and places and get to meet new characters. I’ve taken advantage of the time to finish a new book and start on another one. I’ve long wanted to write a trilogy about the du Bignon family of Jekyll Island, and it is finally coming to fruition, assuming I have time to finish the book I’m currently working on now that the first two are either already published or in press.
I hope it won’t take as long as Eleanor’s Daughter: A Novel of Marie de Champagne, which I worked on at various intervals for forty years. It’s finally available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble (and wherever books are sold) in hard cover, paperback, and on Kindle. For anyone who has read it or may be interested in reading it, I’d like to share the story of the image on the cover. It’s a wood carving of the 12th-century seal of Marie de Champagne, done by a Monsieur Renard, a craftsman who lived in the city of Marie’s primary court, Troyes, France. While I was there many years ago with my family for a semester of research, thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, my husband and children tracked down Monsieur Renard, with the help of one of our French neighbors and commissioned him to carve the piece as a birthday present for me. He did a marvelous job, using a piece of wood that had once been part of a fifteenth-century church in Troyes. It was a wonderful surprise and a very special treat. I have since then lost my husband to cancer and my children have all grown up and had children of their own, and that wonderful semester is only a memory, but I will always treasure that carved wooden seal and the special effort my family went to in having it created.