For me, inspiration always comes from reading. Be it history, fiction, essays, or comics, I find my best ideas are sparked from gaps I discover in narratives. What was the cause of the famous Capulet-Montague feud? What was Shakespeare doing during his “lost” years? How did the destruction of Jerusalem influence the building of the Colosseum and the rise of Christianity? How did Nellie Bly get her first reporting job?
The answers to all these and more invariably came from research.
For WHAT GIRLS ARE GOOD FOR, I was blessed with a treasure trove of articles, both by Bly and about her. I owe a huge debt to Brooke Kroeger for sharing we 20 year-old research with me, especially a couple of important articles I was missing. I also owe thanks to Shanya Marie and Erika Lorraine for hunting up articles that live in the Pittsburgh Library, as well as the librarians there as well. Librarians are the best.
I’m always happy to share my research. To start off, here’s a link to a page on my website where I’ve listed all the original sources for the novel. They’re fascinating, especially the other newspapers writing about the “mysterious woman” who was sent to Blackwell’s, and the bitter war for dominance of the story that followed.