What do these four paintings have in common? They were all painted between 1850 and 1900, were all made by Europeans, and are all oil on canvas. But that’s not what they have in common for me. All of these paintings appear in one way or another in my book. I’ve been frustratingly mum with details, so let me give you this: 14 paintings are stolen from Sotheby’s Paris, and the search to recover them leads our heroine into some interesting situations. I told you I had a thing for art heists. That she works in a gallery, for the wife of an artist who has connections to the thief, means she gets caught up in the mystery (and a potential romance, of course) fairly quickly. The magic for me has been writing the story of how each painting came to Sotheby’s in the first place, who brought them, how they came to acquire them, what each painting looked like. Early versions of these were among the missing paintings, save for the Modigliani; the first time Mirette meets Sylvie she likens her to the woman in the painting: alabaster skin and dark hair, her high, haughty cheekbones, and shrewd stare.
E.L. Doctorow said, “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Did I know this was going to be the major plot line of the novel when I started? Absolutely not. Am I beyond thrilled this was waiting for me around the bend? Absolutely, yes.