Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Vision of Julienne

So as I mentioned in my last post (or maybe hinted at), one of the main themes of "The Enemy Within" is Julienne's determination to restore her family's horse farm. The farm is called Brookfield, by the way. Most of it was built by Julienne's father, James Dalton, who meets a tragic end in the novel. Julienne had a strange relationship with her father. She spent most of her time with her twin brother, Jack, and the family's slaves. In southern tradition, Julienne and her brother were raised by their black nanny or "mammy." Their mother died of Typhoid fever when they were small, and their father was so in love with her, that he could not bear to be at Brookfield following her death. He eventually moves to Frankfort and serves in the House of Representatives.

He may have neglected his children's emotional needs, but he does not neglect their education. Being slightly eccentric and very forward thinking, James Dalton ensures that Julienne and Jack both receive a first rate education. Additionally, they both receive training on how to manage the family's horse farm. It is this experience and education that makes Julienne able to carry on the farm after her brother disappears and her father is murdered. Typical southern belle she is not!

A few weeks ago, I was inspired by one of favorite authors when she posted a cover art contest for her latest novel. While looking at artwork to submit, I came across a painting of a girl on a horse. I instantly thought of Julienne. And so...here she is:

Try to ignore the guy in the background. He is nothing like Julienne's romantic interest! The girl however...she just looks like she would be a firecracker. And Julienne is pretty clever. Heck, the girl masquerades as a male spy for the better part of a year. Now that takes moxie!

If I had one other inspiration for Julienne it would be a portrait that I once saw in a private home in Charleston, SC. It was a huge portrait of an extraordinarily beautiful woman in a riding habit, carrying a crop, with a horse in the background. I don't remember the details about the sitter...only that it was a portrait of real woman that had been painted sometime in the 1850s. It still resonates in my brain, and I think I remember it so well because several of the people with me mentioned that I looked a lot like the woman. Personally, I thought the woman was way too pretty to look like me. It was kind of creepy...and cool, all at the same time.

I would give anything to see that portrait again, but I suppose that won't happen now that my Charleston insider days are long over! Maybe the house will be on one of the home tours that frequently occur in Charleston, and I can fork out the cash to see the portrait again. If I do, I'll steal a photo and post here. It really was an amazing portrait!


  1. Gorgeous picture! Of the lady, that is...the guy looks a little doofy :) Inspiration can come from the most interesting places!

  2. He does doesn't he? Maybe I should crop him out. :-)