Second-floorLook! A new floor! The Janey II construction crew has covered up the foundation and basement areas and taken the building to a whole new level. Of course not everything is perfect below decks. There’s still lots to fill in. But it was time to move on.

My sentiments exactly! I’ve spent months laying the foundation for Book Three and drafted and revised the first main chunk of the story. There’s about 15,000 words on Portland in 2059. For two weeks our main character, who is eM Zarfati in this draft, languished in action limbo between leaving her house in Portland and landing 500 years earlier in Istanbul. Finally, she’s where she’s supposed to be in the story.

What was it like in Istanbul in 1559? I mean really. The history writer in me needs to get this part as accurate as possible, to balance off time travel and fictional characters. When it comes to research, surfing the Internet isn’t a bad way to start. I’ve got a bunch of background, having written The Fall of Constantinople. Plus there are scores of books out there on the Ottoman empire in the 16th century.

In all my research, however, there is one special book I put in the “great find” category, and that’s Istanbul in the 16th Century: The City, The Palace, Daily Life, by Turkish author Metin And (1927-2008) and published by Akbank in Istanbul in 1994. It’s a little-known gem, judging from WorldCat, which notes that of the 72,000 libraries it covers around the globe, only 43 have copies. The only WorldCat copy on the U.S. West Coast rests on the shelves at Portland State University. I’m not surprised. Nestled in PSU’s Hatfield School of Government is the Center for Turkish Studies. That’s another little-known gem, which I’ll save that for a different post. Right now it’s time to get back to writing.

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