When I include a location or a specific building in a story, I’ve usually spent time there. Such was the case with New Orleans (DEAD EASY and CAT’S PAW), Okefenokee Swamp (FORETOLD - DT #4 and KILLING GAME) and Edinburgh (GRAVE MATTERS - DT #5). Or most of London in the Time Rovers Series, including a fair amount of time in various pubs.
So when it came to a particular scene in LOST SOULS (Demon Trappers #8) I knew exactly where I wanted to set the exorcism, at least from the demon's point-of-view. Where would that be? The Biblioteca Joanina at the University of Coimbra here in Portugal.
At the time my hubby and I visited the library (late 2019) I had no idea it would be written into one of my books, but obviously it made such a big impression that I just had to give it “page time”.
Portugal’s King John V ordered the library's construction in the early 18th century, and the interior is truly jaw dropping. It houses works from the 15th through the 19th centuries, many of them priceless. I attempted to describe what Simon and Katia are experiencing while inside that building, but it was really difficult to capture the majesty of it all.
I LOVE libraries, be they modern or ancient. But this one is currently my favorite because of the cathedral-like arches, the rich gold accents and the rows and rows of books. So much knowledge in one place.
And for me, one of the coolest things is that in the evenings the bats that live in the walls are turned loose to zoom around inside eating any bugs that might feast on the books. Come morning the bats return to their roosts. At that point the heavy wood tables are uncovered, the floors cleaned, and the runners put in place for the next round of (non-flying) visitors. Since the walls are almost 7 feet thick (you read that right) and with all the wood inside, humidity is kept to a minimum to preserve the books. Given the age of many of those tomes, this care is vital. Apparently the library at Mafra (also Portugal) does the same thing.
Here's a link to a video of the inside of the library. If you don’t speak Portuguese just mute the audio or turn on the Closed Captions (you can switch them to your preferred language). The English translation is pretty decent, but not spot on. Frankly, just looking at the interior was enough for me.
I plan another visit to the library sometime down the line. Hopefully you might get a chance to see the university and the town of Coimbra. It’s a grand place. If not, enjoy the video.
For more info on LOST SOULS, check out this page.
Behold the mighty bug hunter.
is an international & multi award-winning author in various genres including young adult, urban fantasy and paranormal romance.