Monday, April 6, 2015

A Look Into The Past (The Mauretania)

I had the idea of writing a novel that takes place a century ago and spans pretty much the whole globe. A fun idea, sure, but I had no idea how much research it was going to involve. I guess I should have known. There are so many questions relating to New York City alone. Did some sections still have gas lights? What styles were in fashion for men and women of various stations in life? Were trolleys prominent, and what was the ratio of cars/buses/horses? And while people dressed and spoke and lived a certain way in New York, how would they be living in a small town in Louisiana? All these things to be researched and we haven’t even left The U.S.A yet.
It’s an enjoyable process, or at least it would be if I could afford a year off work to do it. Still, it’s fun to immerse oneself in a different era. I’m running into a lot of fascinating information. I was having a real hard time trying to come up with information on the ship Mauretania. We tend to take for granted that everything we want is a Google search away, but it is not. But take a look at this website I found:

Based on a few old black and white pictures of the 1st Class Smoking room of the Mauretania:

This person painstakingly came up with a color recreation of what it must have looked like:

Truly impressive work by whoever runs the website, not to mention the craftsmanship that went into the actual ship.

Below is a short sample of writing I did based upon the color recreation. It needs a second or third coat of paint on it (i.e. a few rewrites), but hopefully it shows some of the inspiration I had from seeing a re-rendering of what must have been a tremendous work of art.

The next room was the first-class smoking lounge. Above them was a glass arch that ran the length of the room, giving it the best of both the indoors and outdoors. Cunningly placed mirrors amongst the wood-paneled walls gave the room a feeling of vastness as though the room had no real defined limits. Teal chairs and oak tables were placed in geometric patterns that were a mixture of lines and intersecting circles. Blue sky intruded through the ceiling and, combined with the greenery of the chairs and carpet and the various wood pillars, he suddenly felt as if he were entering into a forest of trees. The marvel of man’s abilities hit him, the heights that humans were able to reach. Here was floating architecture as astounding as any cathedral or palace. The Twentieth Century, barely a decade old, was already making its mark on history.

Oh, and the book will most likely be called Seven Stones. I'm about 30,000 words into the first draft. It involves magic, the supernatural, and a possible re-emergence of Pangea. It might even tie in to some of those books that are on the upper right of this blog page :)

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