Meet professional librarian Jean Jenkins, who embraces technology-based information gathering, but she also values hands-on inquiry. For academics and for her own historical novels, she has conducted research across the US and in Europe, including several projects undertaken while on fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
If you had a time machine, where and when would you be right now?
Time travel to Florence during the early Renaissance would fascinate me—as long as I could immediately return home at the first sign of a cholera epidemic or a plague outbreak.
I’d love to attend gatherings of the Platonic Academy at the Medici villa, visit the studios of Leonardo da Vinci and Verrocchio and Michelangelo, and participate in the city’s governmental processes. Unfortunately, I would have to masquerade as a man to do any of these.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to take the path less traveled!
What is your favorite resource for writers?
The Internet, when used efficiently, is a marvelous resource for writers. I have two dozen favorite web resources for writers, and I will be sharing them with conference attendees in my presentation entitled It’s Powerful. It’s Free. Use It!
What has been the most satisfying aspect of your literary career?
Helping other writers through Pennwriters critique groups and being aided and encouraged by them has been quite satisfying. The sense of camaraderie developed within such groups sustains us through all those solitary hours at the keyboard.
What is your favorite tip for writers?
Recognize when it is time to STOP researching and constructing timelines and outlining scenes and sharpening pencils. Sit down and write.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Placing fictional characters, along with their personal goals and conflicts, within an accurate and well articulated historical context is a challenge faced by every writer of historical fiction. Because I find authentic details fascinating, I have to guard against dumping too many of them into the narrative. After all, I’m writing a novel, not a treatise!
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
My desert island experience would be tolerable as long as I had an inexhaustible supply of coffee, wine, and books.
To register, click here: 2017 Pennwriters Conference Registration.