Sunrise Souls Serendipity

Sunrise Souls is the last book in The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy. This post is about a happy coincidence that happened one day at an antiques market. Serendipity?

Sunrise Souls is set in Rignano Garganico, Italy. Rignano Garganico is a southern little town in the Province of Foggia, Italy. It is a jewel, a little secret that sits atop a mountain, and rich in history, as it dates back to medieval times. When I imagined the setting of this book, I had in mind a picture of where I wanted Dinorah Sandbeck to be located for her last adventure. I knew it had to be in Italy, but preferably not near the Vatican, as this location plays a part in the story. I had a strong mental image, but had no idea where to find this place; so I armed myself with Google Earth, and asked, “If I was Dinorah Sandbeck, where would I go?” Immediately, I felt a pull to the area, and started my search nearby, and soon enough, I found myself navigating the streets of Rignano Garganico. It was a magical and serendipitous moment; it was the image I had in mind, and more. So I dedicated time to research as much as I could, although I didn’t find much information, but what I found was enough to give me a background on this enchanting place. Here is a small excerpt from Sunrise Souls.

The southern little town in the province of Foggia sat atop a mountain, as if it was the entrance to heaven. The crisp white clouds were reminiscent of watching angels, only to be forgotten by the observer when the valleys bellow revealed a majestic panorama. At first, I was intrigued by it, but now, I was enchanted. Rignano Garganico was growing in my heart. (The Dinorah Chronicles – Sunrise Souls)

I love old things. I also like religious art; I find it intriguing as well as beautiful, whether it is a painting or a statue, or even a piece of old jewelry. The detail is gorgeous in many of these pieces. When I lived in New Jersey, I used to visit antique markets/shops from time to time. One day, I was browsing the items one seller had to offer, an older Hungarian man I had bought from before. He was a pleasant man, calm, very polite, and always with a smile on his face. As I kept browsing, I noticed he went to look for something. He came back with a beautiful statue and smiling he said, “This one is for you, a gift.” I said thank you and offered to pay for it but he insisted it was a gift. So I thanked him again, and conversed with him a bit before paying for other items, and then I left. Later on, I realized I had forgotten to ask him about the religious statue, so I researched as much as I could about it. One of the searches took me to Rignano Garganico. I became excited; “What are the odds?” I thought. I was writing a novel that was taking place in that same place, a place not widely known. I found out that it is a statue of Saint Roche (San Rocco), patron of Rignano Garganico, Italy (Saint day is August 16). I did not know what to think; it was a beautiful coincidence. Perplexity, awe, amazement, these words describe best what I felt when I came across the information. It was the last time I saw the old man. I did not get the chance to visit him once more, and I moved to Virginia. One question hovers in my mind until this day – how did he know, or did he?

Here is a picture of this beautiful gift. Even with its chipped parts, there is beauty on this piece, and I love the detail and the colors, which the picture does not show well.

Saint Roche vintage statue.

The beautiful old statue sits in my office, on a bookshelf, a pleasant reminder of the mysteries of life, and it serves as inspiration when the inkwell seems a bit dry.