When I research my novels I spend a lot of time in libraries, but occasionally I find an excuse to get out and see a bit of the world. I realised early on that automata were going to be an important part of the story, and was lucky enough to find The House of Automata as I began looking for the sorts of automata that were being made during the period. Michael and Maria Start were kind enough to let me visit them and see some of the amazing clockwork models they make and restore, and being there was the inspiration for the workshop in the novel.
Though the Duchy Maulberg is fictional the palaces, towns, villages and landscapes are based on real places in the south-west of modern Germany.
So this little video shows you some of the pictures I took while with Michael and Maria or in Germany and then used to inspire me. The music is Vivaldi, not quite the period of the novel, but I listened to a lot of his music while I wrote it anyway. This is his Motet for Soprano and Orchestra (Nulla in mundo pax sincera (RV 630)) played by the Advent Chamber Orchestra from Bolingbrook, Illinois. The soloist is Cristina Piccardi.