Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Seekerville Welcomes Anne Adams
Welcome to SepiaTown! Hold your hats while you’re whisked away in a time machine!
In researching my historical novel, I discovered a fantastic, free website called SepiaTown: From Here to Then. Travel back in time in SepiaTown to discover what the spot your character is standing on looked like decades ago. It’s found at www.sepiatown.com.
What if a scene from your book takes place in New York City on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street? Perhaps you’re writing a contemporary novel, but you need to know what that spot looked like many years ago. (Let’s say the protagonist’s grandmother took her to that very spot every year when she was a child, and in a poignant scene, your protagonist recalls a memory of that time and place.) Or perhaps you’re writing a historical novel set in 1931.
In SepiaTown, type in the location or landmark you’re researching.
I was researching the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, so that’s what I typed in. On the current map that pops up, there are thumbnails of the historical landmarks in the area. Click on the thumbnail and an enlarged photo of the landmark appears on the left with the name, the exact location, the date of the photo, and a brief description. On the right is the map, but clink on the link above the map entitled then/now, and a current image of the landmark appears, when available. This allows you to compare the same landmark (then and now) side by side.
The website is growing everyday as institutions like the New York Public Library, historical organizations, and even individuals donate historical photos. It’s a great tool to use as a starting point in your research. SepiaTown utilizes image uploaders to check the accuracy of the information as well as the image’s location. According to their website, film and audio images are coming soon.
I wrote the little ditty below solely for the purpose of this blog, and I used Sepia Town in my research. I’m not a romance writer, so please bear with me!
Grace stood on the curb of Fifth Avenue in New York City and leaned her head back to take in 1,250 vertical feet of steel and glass.
She rode the train into the city that afternoon to witness the inaugural opening of the Empire State Building. Crowds were pressed in along West 34th Street, West 33rd Street, and Fifth Avenue.
The sun dropped lower, and the throng began to chant, “10…9…8…7...”
She was breathless with excitement.
It was almost dusk, and President Herbert Hoover was about to flip a switch in Washington D.C., more than 200 miles away.
The switch was flipped, and the lobby of the tallest skyscraper in the world exploded with light, illuminating it against the darkening skyline. The crowd went wild, and it was New Years Eve all over again in 1931. Confetti drifted from the sky like colored snowflakes in May.
A hand on her shoulder spun her around and pressed her backwards, and she stared into the greenest eyes she’d never seen. Just as quickly, his lips were on hers, and she couldn’t hear the crowd, couldn’t feel her feet. He laughed as he pulled away. “Well, isn’t this what strangers do in NYC when confetti falls?”
They stared at one another for a long moment, as if a kiss from a stranger created a bond between them. The crowd was dispersing, and he took her hand in his so he wouldn’t lose her. She didn’t know his name, and she didn’t care. Perhaps it was confetti in the air or the taste of his kiss on her lips that was to blame for her devil may care attitude.
He pulled her through the throng on Fifth Avenue and past the site of the old Waldorf Astoria, when it began to rain, first in droplets then in hard fists. They ran together and laughed, finally taking refuge between the whitewashed Roman-style columns of the Knickerbocker Trust Co. Building.
Oh, there’s also a fabulous SepiaTown blog where you can learn about the latest additions to the archives and get great historical information, which may spark an idea or two for your next book!
The May 20 blog focused on the UK Suffrage Movement and included historical photos and related links.
The May 16 blog chronicled the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and on April 9, Paris through the eyes of modern photographer Eugène Atget was the focus. Many of Atget’s photographs are on display.
Check out SepiaTown on Facebook and Twitter, as well.
Thanks all for having me in Seekerville. It’s been so much fun; I hope you invite me back! Stop by SepiaTown and tell me if you found it as exciting as I did.
Two of you today have an opportunity to win a copy of my latest nonfiction release Bible Facts, part of the innovative Candle Discovery Series published by Candle Books, a division of Lion Hudson.
Anne Adams Bio-
Anne has authored 14 children’s books for Baker Books, HonorKidz, Cook Communications, Concordia Publishing, and most recently, Candle Books, a division of Lion Hudson. Her children’s books have ranged from picture books to middle-grade fiction as well as nonfiction. She was also a writer for the Tulsa World newspaper and was published in Phoenix Home and Garden magazine.
Her newest release, Bible Facts by Anne Adams is a fun and innovative look at life in Bible times by using recipes, classified ads, exchange rates, and “how to” instructions. This book was just published by Candle Books and made part of their Candle Discovery Series. It is currently available world-wide. Three of the books in her middle grade fiction series, The Promised Land Diaries, are available on Kindle. The other three titles in the series will be available on Kindle this summer.
Anne is currently at work on her first historical novel for the adult market. She makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona.