My inspiration for the character Dr. Vela Ostofvold and her occupation as a forensic librarian was inspired by visits to second-hand bookstores. I was drawn to leather bound books with tattered water stained pages. Like a pearl diver I would lift the cover hoping to find treasure-an inscription or piece of ephemera. As a book is passed from reader to reader the physical changes create a secondary story about the readers.

The reader of this hardcover edition of Sailing alone around the world,had attached an envelope inside the back cover filled with newspaper articles dated from 1970 to 2006


Oct 6, 1906 Geo Ward Esq.
"If thou findest a good man
rise up early in the morning
go to him and let  thy feet
wear the steps of his door."

72 years
Sweetheart receives letter


EXCERPT FROM WATERMARK the truth beneath the surface page 6

“I have an old book I want to sell. Can you tell me what it is worth?” She held a plastic grocery bag. “I’m Katherine Hart.”

“Thank you Katherine.” I took the bag while I explained. “What I do is authenticate and interpret physical changes to documents. The character of a book evolves as the reader carries it into different environments and circumstances. For example, a stain on a page could be a tear shed in secret or a splash of champagne. As time passes, each reader leaves something that becomes part of this secondary story. Another meaning beyond print accumulates.” I peeled the clinging plastic away from the book.

Katherine jabbed at the cover. “Look at the scribbling inside this book.” The corners were rounded; the stitching along the spine was tight. The title and author lettering had lifted off and the embossing had worn flat.

I rotated the book and lifted the front cover. “The English Reader, Pieces in Prose and Poetry, published in 1821.” I recognized the title. “This was the most popular English textbook of its time.” The paper was mottled as if a wet tea bag had brushed across it. A Paleographer could confirm if the penmanship style and date were authentic. A fine pen left a path of curled letters. If anyone this book do find, I pray do not be so unkind but give the owner it again for Thomas Hall Hart is his name.
“It is as if a dragonfly dipped its tail in ink and flew over the page,” I marveled. I turned the page taking care not to tear it from the hinge.