Guide to the Chapter Guide


Who Knew?

When I’ve written historical novels in the past, I always stumbled into a hole in history, a time or person about which very little was known (Jesus Christ and King Lear), so I was able to fill out the story by making up a lot of details and filling in the story around what we did know, or in the case of Lear, what Shakespeare had imagined. But when I decided to write a novel based around the Impressionist and Post Impressionist art movements in France, I had no idea what an overwhelming wealth of information I’d have to draw on.

While no one knew where Jesus was for most of thirty years, I could pretty-much find out what each of the Impressionists had for breakfast on any given day. I was nearly four years doing the research, including living in Paris for a couple of months, learning to speak French at very “Tarzan/Jane” level, and learning  how to paint (a little). I even wrote the entire manuscript of Bite Me while I was researching Sacré Bleu. Finally, with a deadline looming, I had to stop researching and just write the book. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t more to learn, and in the case of painting, more to see, and thus, I’ve created this guide.

Mostly I’ve tried here to fill in the visuals for the paintings that we simply couldn’t put in the book, as well as give you a geographical and historical context where I could. But even as I put this guide together I realize there were many things about the period and the art that I didn’t know, and few things that I got wrong. I’m a novelist, not a historian, and I’m far more comfortable with making stuff up than with looking it up. So you may find errors and omissions in this guide. I’m going to try to keep this blog and app alive and updated, so if you find a mistake, say so in the comments field. (Cite your source, if you know it.) Don’t be a jerk about it, just let me know, and I’ll try to fix it.

Together, we’ll all learn something.

A Note on the art and photographs.

To the best of our knowledge, the art and photographs in this blog are either in the public domain and have been obtained from public domain sources or have been created by us for this blog. If you suspect that any material infringes on copyright, please e-mail me directly at and I will take it down immediately.