by Gail Z. Martin
At the heart of my urban fantasy series Deadly Curiosities is the antique store Trifles and Folly. Trifles and Folly has been run by members of my main character’s family since Charleston, SC was founded nearly 350 years ago, always in tandem with its secret silent partner, a nearly 600 year-old vampire named Sorren.
Trifles and Folly is really a front for The Alliance, a secret coalition of mortals and immortals that eliminates supernatural threats and gets cursed and haunted objects out of the wrong hands. My main character, Cassidy Kincaide, is a psychometric who can read the history and magic of objects by touch.
The books are set in Charleston, SC but the storefront that I picture when I think of Trifles and Folly is in New Orleans, LA, just down the street from the famed Hotel Monteleone. I took one look and knew it was exactly what I had in mind, although I described Trifles and Folly years before I ever visited the Big Easy.
What makes the NOLA store perfect? The storefront appears to date from the 1800s, with black wood, old-fashioned awnings and big windows reminiscent of Victorian style. Two large, ornate carriage lanterns hang on either side of the facade, giving it an elegant but gothic feel. Gold lettering has the ideal old-time feel. Peering through the windows, the inside it suitably gloomy and underlit. It looks like the perfect place to buy needful things.
I grew up going to a lot of antique stores, swap meets, flea markets and yard sales because my dad couldn’t resist them. Most of the stores were dusty and junk-laden, a hoarder’s storage space excused as a business. But then there were the special ones, the ones that sent a tingle down my spine, the ones that I just knew held special–and perhaps dangerous–treasures.
Sometimes those treasures were estate jewelry or old silver tea sets, and other troves were full of clocks, leather-bound books, or vintage clothing. Those stores smelled of dust and mothballs, and hinted at obsession, curated with purposeful madness. They were the dangerously alluring shops where it didn’t seem impossible for an item to harbor magic–or a curse.
I always kept my hands to myself. Some things are best left untouched.
So far, I haven’t been able to take the time to go inside the store in New Orleans. When I do, I assure you that I won’t be handling the merchandise, or making any deals with the owner. After all, I know how these things work.
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