I have a beautiful genuine etching of Nell Gwyn on my desk. She arrived on my thirtieth birthday and has kept me company throughout the writing process. It is the Valentine Green etching of the Peter Lely portrait and she is lovely. A small smile flirts across her mouth and her eyes are direct and truthful. She thrums with authenticity. She is the woman I wrote. I wonder how much that image influenced the writing? Bunches and bunches I'd say.
I recently spoke to the person who gave me this portrait. He has been rooting and cheering for me all the way through. I thanked him for his help. When he insisted that he did not do anything I told he was wrong. Beyond the immeasurable gift of belief and encouragement, he gave me my Nell. I wrote the woman in that portrait. Without realizing it until today.