Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Enchanted Ivy Campus Tour: Stop One

Welcome to the Enchanted Ivy Campus Tour!

A little background first... Enchanted Ivy is a my new YA fantasy novel. It's coming out October 12th, and it's about magic at Princeton.

I love the theme of magic in the real world. I am fascinated by the intersection and interplay of reality and fantasy. (Yes, I was totally
that kid who played Wizard's House instead of ordinary House. I also included "magic wand" on my birthday wish list every year. And I'd record the positions of my stuffed animals before I went on vacation so I could tell if they had a party. A creative child. Or crazy. Your pick.)

Anyway, I like the real-world part of my novels to be as accurate as possible. So while I was writing this novel, I visited Princeton and took myself on a tour of everywhere my protagonist Lily would go. Now let's begin the tour. We're walking, we're walking.....

FitzRandolph Gate

Princetonians have a superstition about the main campus gate: If a student walks out the FitzRandolph Gate before commencement day, he or she won't graduate. Of course, no one really believes it, but still... my friends and I wouldn't even walk in the gate for fear that we'd trip, fall backward out the gate, and never graduate.

This superstition provided the key inspiration for Enchanted Ivy. What really happens when you walk through FitzRandolph Gat
e? What magic lies beyond? *cue cool music*

One hint: You see those eagles? They talk.

Nassau Hall

Nassau Hall is the oldest building at Princeton. It has a cannon ball imprint inside that dates to the Revolutionary War. And it's not really open to the public.

I went in anyway. Oh, yeah, baby, I'm a wild woma

But Lily enters Nassau Hall to meet the Council (which, incidentally, includes a were-tiger) so in I went. Apologies for the lack of photos of were-tigers.

She also sees these stairs. I love thinking about how many feet must have stepped here to make these stairs look like this. (I mean, not that I love thinking about feet. Feet are fine, but... oh, never mind.)

"As the stone man dragged them downstairs, Lily clutched at the railing. Her feet slipped on the worn steps. 'Please, you have to listen,' she begged the stone man."

More soon.....

7 days until Enchanted Ivy!

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At 11:25 PM, Blogger Enna Isilee said...

Ooh. This is actually REALLY helpful! I can visualize things much better now. :D

At 11:34 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Enna Isilee: Good to hear! I had these photos (and a lot more!) open on my desktop as I wrote. I really wanted to give the book a strong sense of place since the location is so important to the protagonist.

At 11:43 PM, Anonymous Meagan said...

I went to Notre Dame and we had the same supersticion about the steps leading up to the main building (Golden Dome). We always entered in the base-floor door under the stairs and used stairs or elevators once inside. I wonder if all old schools have similar scare-myths? And if so, did they steal them from each other, or spring up separately from evil upperclassmen like big kids at a summer camp?

Also, I LOVE the worn out steps.

At 12:18 AM, Blogger Q said...

I totally did the stuffed animal thing--though my actions were mostly inspired by Toy Story.

At 12:40 AM, Blogger Elizabeth Amy Hajek said...

The more I hear, the more this book intrigues me! 9 days is too long!

At 3:21 AM, Blogger Little Miss Becky said...

I'll be revisiting this post when I'm reading this book!! Only 6 more days before I go grab it off the nearest bookstore shelf!!

At 6:47 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Carn't wait for the next stop of the tour!!

Love that you bealive in magic so strongly. (nice to know i'm not the only one.)

Everytime i pass i forest, i look to see if a unicorn is looking at me. =)

At 10:03 AM, Blogger Irish said...

Brown has a similar superstition with their main gate. :-)

Thanks for the pics its really great to visualize the books setting. Though very sad you couldn't find a were-tiger to take a picture of.

At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Meaghan said...

I love the pictures! It is sweet to be able to see the actual pictures and compare them with the ones that I have in my head :)

After reading your book (which I loved!) I want to go and check out Princeton just so I can see everything from the book in real life. I am going to make it up there some day, maybe I will get to run into some were-tigers ;)

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Meagan: Cool! I wonder too where the myth started. I could see it springing up naturally -- fear of not-graduating is common.

Q: Very relieved to hear it wasn't just me!

Elenatintil: Only a few more days now! Hope you like it!!

Little Miss Becky: I really did use these photos (and a couple hundred more) as I wrote. With a couple minor exceptions made for artistic & logistical reasons, everything is accurate.

Laura: I love the image of looking out for unicorns. Sounds like a scene in a story.

Irish: Well, I did find a few were-tigers, but they were camera-shy. Cool about Brown's superstition.

Meaghan: So happy you liked it! Yay! If you run into any were-tigers, please tell them I said hi. Also, give Professor Ape a wave for me.


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