One of the best parts of writing Lilac Girls was doing the research. Once I went to Poland and Germany whole scenes came alive. The same was true of my recent trip to St. Petersburg. I had hoped to find the same kind of inspiration for the prequel to Lilac Girls, which not only features life in New York City during WWI, but Russian peasant and aristocratic characters as well.
I came back stuffed to the gills with a wonderful feeling for Russian life in 1916, incredible story ideas and character inspirations (not to mention borscht and other Russian food of all kinds.)
It was great fun to plumb the depths of Tsarist Russia, getting a deeper understanding of that time of excess and also dig into the opposite side of Russian life in the villages. It made the characters come alive and can’t wait to share them!