Louise Winther
Louise Winther asked Tracy Chevalier:

What gave you the idea to write the story The Virgin Blue? I've just finished reading it, could hardly let go of it before I was done!

Tracy Chevalier Years ago I was working as an editor, doing research in the British Library one day, and my mind wandered onto two things: I was going to a Swiss family reunion in a few months, and my sister was moving to France. My father was born in Switzerland, you see (he emigrated to the US as a boy), and my ancestors were Swiss, and the family story is that the Chevaliers were originally Huguenots (early Protestants) from the Cevennes in France who fled to Switzerland following religious persecution in 1572. I thought how funny it was that my sister was moving from the US "back" to France, closing the circle, so to speak.

That got me thinking about the migration of families, where they move, why, and what family baggage they take with them. Do family problems - emotional, spiritual, what-have-you - get passed down like echoes through the centuries? That was what was behind the making of The Virgin Blue. I wanted to write a story about the times and places and issues the Chevaliers would have faced. Of course I made up the story - I'm thankful to report none of what happened to the Tourniers happened to the Chevaliers, as far as I know!

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