Ceiling Cover

This is the second book that my father inspired. The first was my other historical novel, Dave at Night, which you can read about here on the website. A Ceiling Made of Eggshells travels way back in family history to the late 15th century when his ancestors and half of mine were tossed out of Spain.

My father was cut off from his Iberian roots, but he knew about them, and I inhaled the knowledge. I’ve always been curious, so I started reading and reaching out to historians and searching madly online.

In every other of my novels, figuring out my plot has been the hardest part. Not in this one. Above all, a novel needs conflict, and events in Spain abounded in trouble and misery. Hooray! (Hooray from my writer side; the rest of me pitied the poor, suffering people.) I worked out a timeline, and, voila!, I had my plot: the isolation of the Jews into ghettos called juderías; the conspiracy theory that Jews poisoned Christian wells; the forced conversion of many Jews, who, from then on, were suspected of practicing Judaism secretly; the establishment of the Inquisition; the war against Granada, the last Muslim kingdom in Spain. And more.

Next, I found my characters, most of all my main character and her grandfather. I wished for them to be truly old-timey, but, alas, that’s impossible. Still, I hope you’ll agree that they aren’t purely 21st century personalities mysteriously plunked down in the late Middle Ages. In Belo, the grandfather, we have a cultured man filled with a mission and an irritating certainty that he’s always right. He’s good but flawed by the times. His granddaughter Paloma—Loma—is the sort of ancestor I think I must have had—I think all of us must have had—stalwart and crafty enough to survive the challenges of history.