I grew up around antiques. My dad haunted antique shows and flea markets, dragging me with him on my childhood weekends. Dad would go off on a quest for whatever he was looking for at that particular time, leaving mom and me to wander the aisle on our own. Even back then, I remember being fascinated with the idea that these objects had a history of their own.
I would imagine what they had witnessed, what secrets they had overheard. Perhaps a vintage evening purse had been to the opera or to Lincoln Center. Maybe a piece of jewelry had been worn when the former owner met a dignitary, movie star, or other luminary. To salvage the day from utter boredom, I would start concocting stories about what I saw and regale my mother with my imaginings.
Decades later, going to an antiques or collectibles sale became a stroll down memory lane. I’d spot a piece of furniture that an aunt had owned, a vase that looked familiar from the home of a childhood friend, a dish or clock that I remembered from my youth. My husband and I would laugh at how pieces donated to charity just to be rid of them were now fetching big money as “collectibles.”
Fast forward again, and I learned how much objects become a touchstone for memory as my husband and I had the task of cleaning out our childhood homes after our parents passed away. Handling the family silverware, the good dishes, the table linens became almost sacramental as we remembered the events and people who had used them. Surrounded by family members, someone would pause from cleaning out a cupboard or closet to hold out an item and say, “Wow, do you remember this?” Reminiscing became a way to honor the memory of those who were gone and to pass on those stories to the younger cousins and grandchildren.
Perhaps after all that, it was inevitable that I would come up with the concept behind my upcoming Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series, which will debut from Solaris Books in the summer of 2014. Cassidy Kincaide is a psychometric, someone who can read the history of an object by touching it. She runs Trifles & Folly, an antiques and curio shop in historic, haunted Charleston, South Carolina, whose real business is getting dangerous magical objects off the market before they cause disaster.
Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of strange, unnerving and odd items laid out for sale at antique shows. I’m not worried about running out of fodder for tales about Cassidy and her team! I’m excited about the chance to share her world with readers in Deadly Curiosities!
My new urban fantasy, Deadly Curiosities, comes out in July, 2014 from Solaris Books. I bring out two series of ebook short stories with a new story every month for just .99 on Kindle, Kobo and Nook—check out the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures or the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.