Artifacts & Inspiration

Real-world items transport the author – and you – back to 1906

Each author takes inspiration from different sources. It could be Greek mythology. Or, it could be the antics of today’s headline makers.

Christopher Lentz was initially inspired by an escorted walking tour of Chinatown’s back alleys in San Francisco. With the creative seed planted, research about life in that time period began slowly, as well as the collection of items that are directly referred to in the resulting novel, Blossom.

Here are a few of the real world, tangible items that helped the author move the story forward while grounding it in the reality of today.

Feather hat

This ostrich-feather adorned hat inspired the one that was given to Blossom in the novel. It’s authentic to the time period and was found intact in an antique store in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., just steps away from the world-famous mission.

Rice bowl to remind you to be grateful for what you have.

Always full of rice, this bowl inspired the section of Blossom in which Grand Ma Ma describes China’s legendary Mt. Penglai … the land of the Eight Immortals. It was a place where there was no pain and no winter. Jewels grew on trees. And rice bowls never emptied … no matter how much people […]

Mahjong tiles

These mahjong tiles are similar to the ones Grand Ma Ma played with, along with her three best lady friends, during their on-demand gossip sessions.

Hurdy-gurdy music box

Ting Ting’s “hurdy-gurdy” music box resembles this hand-crank version that was found in a gift shop in Newport Beach, Calif. It plays that all-too-familiar circus theme song, “Entrance of the Gladiators.” However, it does so in a somewhat haunting way, just as it does in Blossom.


The three stages of love cameo

This cameo not only illustrates a blossoming rose, but it symbolized the journey that the heroine, Blossom, takes in the story. It’s called a “Three Stages of Love” cameo. It was carved from a conch shell and came from Naples, Italy.