On Location With The Devil And The Muse

Botticelli: Madonna With Child And Adoring Angel

Location, location, location…

A post about research, and being on location for The Devil And The Muse. 

Last weekend my assistant, Olena, and I attended the second Indie Author Day put on by the book distribution company, IngramSpark at the Santa Barbara Library here in California. The guest speaker was indie author Elizabeth Hunter. When asked by a member of the audience about mistakes she has made, Ms. Hunter spoke about the pitfalls of falling down the “research hole.”

I think I may have blushed, and for a moment I envisioned myself in primary school being called out for causing havoc – something I was often guilty of doing. Yes, guilty as charged, the “research hole” has kept me prisoner for days!

When I grow up…

As a child, the thought of being an archaeologist lingered on my list of preferred occupations for many years (well, at least through the fourth grade). Egyptologist came next, followed closely by jazz nightclub singer, and veterinarian. In truth, explorer would have been more in line with what my spirit yearned for. Yes, my name is Mandy and I’m a research junkie…

Botticelli: Madonna With Child And Adoring Angel
Botticelli: Madonna With Child And Adoring Angel

Last week I found myself back at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. Art museums are my happy place; where my soul is ignited, and my creativity prodded. For the past few years, I’ve visited the Norton Simon multiple times for research for The Creatives Series and more recently for The Devil And The Muse. I’ve counted steps, embraced negative space, found rapture in brushstrokes, and spent hours staring at Botticelli’s Madonna and Child with Adoring Angel.

Following this, I researched more about Botticelli’s life and art, in particular the above-mentioned painting. For the years that I’ve admired his Madonna and Child with Adoring Angel, it has always touched something deep within. And when I realized what that something was, well, it was time to sit down and write.

So here’s a short video that will give you a visual to go with chapter 27, of The Devil And The Muse. It’s choppy and wiggly, but I think these issues only point out Coco’s excitement at being among great art (or maybe mine).

If you’re lucky enough to visit the Norton Simon, take some time to check out their awesome gift (book) store, and say hello to the museum store manager, Andrew.


Mandy 🙂


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About Mandy Jackson-Beverly

Mandy Jackson-Beverly studied flute in Sydney, worked couture fashion in London, and has been a successful costume designer in LA, working with artists such as Madonna and David Bowie. She’s danced the tango with Robert Duvall, sewn buttons on coats with John Galliano, and discussed the art of sobriety with Alice Cooper and Russell Brand.

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