Thank you for hosting me, Laura. It's a pleasure to be here.
Giveaway: Anita is giving away a print copy of The SECRET ADMIRER Romance Collection in conjunction with this post. If you want a chance to win it, leave a comment before .
Looking through old catalogues gives a true sense of what was available to the staunch people who settled the west. So when I needed authentic items for the 1890 store in my new novella, Love in Store, I researched china and pottery items for the last couple decades of the 19th century.
Catalogue references to majolica ware for pitchers, vases, and flower pots made it sound like a common item, yet I'd never heard of it, so that's where my research began. When I found the following example in an 1894 catalogue, I knew majolica was pretty enough to be featured in my hero's Emporium.
Caption: Majolica Flower Pot. Source: T. Eaton Co, Ltd. Spring and Summer Catalogue, 1894
What is majolica? The simplest explanation is that majolica is an earthenware item covered with a lead- or tin-based glaze before painting. This surface allows for a brilliant white, opaque surface which, when painted, gives it lustrous qualities. Once I saw a few examples, I was able to pick majolica out of a group of pottery, although I won't hazard a guess whether I was looking at an authentic piece or a reproduction.
What struck me is that majolica items are imaginative and whimsical pieces—perfect for Adam's Emporium in Love in Stove. To give you an idea of what I mean, I've pinned several majolica pieces to my Pinterest story board, Novella: Love in Store. (https://www.pinterest.com/anitamaedraper/novella-love-in-store/)
On the heels of my majolica research, I was searching through a stack of dishes at my local recycle aka second hand store and found an incredible dish with Lily of the Valley flowers in a textured bowl. Although I hadn't seen the pattern before, I quivered at the thought that it might be majolica. Flipping it over didn't quell my rising excitement when I didn't see majolika, but the fact that it was made in Germany gave an indication that it was probably a current reproduction.
Caption: Reproduction majolica bowl w/handle holes
Further research confirmed the bowl as being a reproduction of the Palm Leaf and Lily of the Valley pattern originally made in the Villeroy & Boch factory in Schramberg, Germany. It took another search to find an image showing the holes fitted with a carrying handle.
Finding majolica at the same time I was writing about it was one of those blessings that feel like God's pat on the back. It also brought Adam's Emporium to life. I created my Love in Store Pinterest board to show the inspiration behind the story. It fueled my imagination as I wrote the novella, and now I hope it brings Adam and Janet's story to life for you as well.
Anita's books are available wherever Christian books and ebooks are sold including Amazon.com.
A special LOVE IN STORE PRIZE PACK GIVEAWAY will be held in celebration of the May 1st release of The Secret Admirer Romance Collection. For details, check the Contests & Giveaways page of Anita's website. (http://www.anitamaedraper.com/contests--giveaways.html)
Anita Mae Draper writes her historical romances under the western skies of the Saskatchewan prairie where her love of research and genealogy yield fascinating truths that layer her stories with rich historical details. Her Christian faith is reflected in her stories of forgiveness and redemption as her characters struggle to find their way to that place we call home. Anita loves to correspond with her readers through any of the social media links found at www.anitamaedraper.com.
Readers can enrich their reading experience by checking out Anita's Pinterest boards for a visual idea of her published stories at www.pinterest.com/anitamaedraper.