A smart reader asked me on Facebook how I chose the artists that feature in the Genevieve Lenard series. I thought it was a great question. With an extraordinarily boring answer. 🙂 I truly wish I could rhapsodise about how inspiration comes to me through a dream linking the crimes to some artist. I can’t.
To explain how I find the artists, I need to explain my writing process very shortly. My very first step in starting a book is to mind map an idea – I’m a huge planner. Then I build on that until I have each chapter planned in detail. That planning includes a very broad idea of the topic covered (e.g. 3D printing, biohacking, Tor, etc) in that book. In between all this planning, I do some research, but often I don’t know exactly what to look for, because I don’t yet know what I need to know. Sometimes I find the artist at the beginning of this process, sometimes quite far into the writing.
There are a few requirements for the artist: He needs to fit into the era/style that is related to the book. If his life is important to the story, I also look for those specific elements. The artist and/or his work need to be such that I can blend it into the story and use it with the crimes without too much difficulty. And I need to like his art.
With each book, I try to explore a new era in art. And with each book, I learn so much. A few of the artists didn’t need great introductions, but Jean Pucelle, for example, was new to me. I loved exploring Gothic era manuscripts, illuminations and find out more about the relationships the artists had with whomever had commissioned an illuminated manuscript. I never use all the information I find while doing my research, but I love every second of wading through all the info and carefully picking the few bits that will make it to my book.
Thank goodness, there are still many eras and an impossible number of artists to explore and use in my books!