Between two volcanoes almost to the Oregon border in Northern California. On my left, Mount Shasta, on my right Mount Lassen. Inspiration from generations of railroad families and Native Americans. In the town of Dunsmuir, which still operates as a repair station for the Union Pacific, my son owns a white clapboard house and in that house I've been writing my historical novel. Far cry from Paris of 1786, but I've done my research and what I need is the hollow reminder of train wails, the Corner Kitchen coffee shop and the Dunsmuir Hardware store, where I can buy the things permanent residents use to repair their hundred year old railroad homes. The woman gardening across the street is one hundred and four; the owner of the gift shop down by the rails is cantankerous; the Italian restaurant for ski tourists is tasty but expensive. I can walk by the Sacramento River, water as cold as the snows on the volcanoes and let the author of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the Duke d'Orleans, the English miniaturist Richard Cosway, his wife, and Thomas Jefferson, throw darts at each other and try to survive the tatters of the Enlightenment.