The path of a story

by Rebecca Bricker on May 10, 2015

I’m working on a new book — an art-history mystery that takes place in France when Impressionism was upending the art world in the late 1800s.

I don’t intend to solve the mystery. Some secrets should stay that way, I think. But I’m doing a little detective work nonetheless that’s taking me down a winding scenic path.

For the past several  days, I’ve been in Normandy, following the footsteps of my characters. Yesterday, one character steered me to a patch of wild poppies by the Seine. Of course, he would, I thought. He had once lived here — in the village of Vetheuil — when he was a struggling, destitute artist. And he liked to paint poppies.

As I walked up the lane from the river, back to the main road, I saw a grand stone house on the cliff above me. (I’ve invented a mansion on the cliffs of the Seine in my book.) I snapped a photo, not noticing the modest house below it, a few feet from the road. Then a plaque caught my eye. Not only had I been walking in this artist’s footsteps, I was now standing at his front door. A happy happenstance.








Another character in this story has been with me for a long time. He makes his presence known, sometimes when I least expect it. I looked up at big puffy clouds drifting across a very blue sky yesterday and saw a weather vane, spinning in the breeze, on top of an old brick chimney. I looked closer, not quite believing my eyes…



Cut into the metal were my two initials. (I don’t have a middle name.) Usually when I hope for a “sign,” I don’t expect something quite this literal.

The arrow was pointing in the direction of the place, just down the road a stretch, where I stumbled on this story 10 years ago. It’s where I ‘met’ this man, an artist himself — who’s at the center of the mystery. He has been tapping me on the shoulder ever since.

I didn’t know then what a journey this story would take me on — the book spans a century and two continents. I came to Normandy this week with guidebooks, maps and GPS. But yesterday, I simply followed the “sign.” Clearly, this story has a compass of its own. 😉













carol May 10, 2015 at 8:52 pm

Love this! Inspiring. Following the signs!

Rebecca Bricker May 13, 2015 at 8:24 pm

Would love to share this tale with you someday – over a glass or two of prosecco. 😉

Sally McKee May 10, 2015 at 8:57 pm

Sounds to me as if you have the Introduction right there.

With the photos, please!

Rebecca Bricker May 13, 2015 at 8:23 pm

What happened NEXT will be the epilogue for the book. I’m writing as fast as I can!!

muddygloves. May 11, 2015 at 2:06 am

The sign couldn’t be any clearer!
What was the direction? West? East? Maybe south east?

Wear sturdy shoes and carry extra batteries!

Rebecca Bricker May 13, 2015 at 8:22 pm

Love you, Carol. Thanks for the wonderful motherly advice. :)

Patricia Lessard May 11, 2015 at 2:49 am

Magic! Keep us posted on your adventures. You know we are all living in your footsteps too.
Thinking about you today, Mother’s Day. Hugs and love, Patricia

Rebecca Bricker May 13, 2015 at 8:21 pm

Thank you, Patricia. Happy Mother’s Day to you, too. :)

Jackie Lamothe May 24, 2015 at 2:31 pm

What a delightful sign! Isn’t the Universe just full of great surprises?

Rebecca Bricker May 24, 2015 at 2:40 pm

C’est vrai! xoxox

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