Someone once asked Virginia Coffman how long it took her to research her first book. "It took me thirty years to research," she replies. "That's all I was doing in my youth and young womanhood; constantly reading, because history is something I love." Although Virginia never married, there was nothing of the spinster image about her. "It is my personal opinion that single people have more fun," she said, though she didn't deny having been in love at various times in her life. In one romance, at least, the object of her affection was a combination "Don Juan, mother's boy, and gigolo."
Virginia loved to travel and did so almost exclusively by ship. "I believe in going first-class all the way," she admitted pleasantly. Travel also seemed to nourish Virginia's imagination and satisfied her appetite for history and the macabre. "In Paris, people will say, 'Don't you see the magic beauty of it?' And I say, yes, of course I love it. But then I tell them, that's where they cut off the head of so-and-so, and this is the place where so-and-so was stabbed! In other words, to me it's all bloody and horrifying and dramatic. It's the drama that intrigues me. That's the magic"
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