Sometimes, looking back in time, at a single moment or event, inspires an entire book. This is what happened with The Ravens of Solemano, Book 2 of the Young Inventors Guild trilogy.
I admit, I was working through ideas and a section of plotline that somehow would bring the Young Inventors Guild story to Hebden Bridge in northern England. Why? Because it is a wonderfully historic town...and one of my dearest friends (we went to school in France together as kids) lived there. In truth, the second reason was the real reason. I figured I could move the whole gang to Hebden Bridge. Why not? I knew what was going to happen in the story but hadn't found exactly where it was going to take place. However, as we can never force a character to behave as he would not, forcing a story to unfold in the wrong place no longer allows unfolding. Suddenly, we may discover that the story is fighting back or, worse, crumbling and falling apart.
I was so unhappy. Luckily, we were headed for a holiday and it was a welcome break. Our family was in a tiny ancient village in Abruzzo, Italy, and I was taking walks through the ancient streets, looking out at the ancient fields, wandering through the ancient chapel, and still, like a fool, I was trying to get to Hebden Bridge.
And then, it happened. Checking the facts for something I no longer remember, I accidentally came across a link to an archival article from the New York Times...from 1903. It was the murder of a young Italian man, in a tunnel, in New York City. The event- a mystery that was never solved. I remember that looked up from the computer screen, out towards the fields, the ruins of the chapel, the stone walls around the fields, and it all hit me. The whole story fell into place. I called my publisher (Bancroft Press) and asked if they could include an adjusted rewritten version of the story as the epilogue of The Atomic Weight of Secrets (Book 1) that was on the roster and in the final layout stages. Once I explained, they were convinced.
The rest of the holiday, I wrote furiously, hardly able to keep up with the story that was not unfolding but coming out in torrents. It was incredible and exciting. I felt that I was there, in Solemano, watching the children uncover ancient secrets and solve medieval mysteries. History came alive.