Keys that unlock more than doors

I’m excited to be a guest today on Maryann Miller’s excellent blog – It’s Not All Gravy. You should check it out. She posted a lovely review of How To Climb The Eiffel Tower on Sunday. 


In the post on Maryann’s blog, I  talk about how the scarab ring I frequently wear serves as a reminder of my journey throughout the land of cancer and how it became an inspiration for the special pieces of jewelry in How To Climb The Eiffel Tower. 

In my current work-in-progress, a small object also plays a pivotal part in the plot. As I work my way through an extensive rewrite of the story, the main character’s inability to enter a room is emerging as a major theme of the book. One plot line follows her progress in renovating her family’s estate and learning about each of the women who lived there before her. She works her way through the house room by room, except for the library on the first floor. She doesn’t have the key to open that lock – or does she? 

I have been researching the symbolism behind keys and locks for the last day or so. Had you ever heard of a mystery key? I had not, until I stumbled onto Antique Locks Knowledge and fell down a research rabbit hole. A mystery key is a working key that also contains symbols that the bearer could use to solve a puzzle. I think the key in this photo is gorgeous. According to Brian Morland on Antique Locks, the symbols on the face of the key are an ant perhaps for hard work, a ladybug perhaps for harmony, and a wizard’s face perhaps for wisdom. The reverse side has a face that Mr. Morland thinks might signify the moon. I think it would be neat if it was a caricature of the original owner of the key. Either way, having a key like that is far more interesting than the keys in my pocket. I like the idea of a key being imbued with meaning. I envision the main character finding a key in the shape of an ‘H’ that will unlock some important door or drawer. I will be tinkering with the idea for the next few weeks. Stay tuned for further updates on how the rewrite is going. 

An example of a mystery key full of symbolism (c/o
Reverse side of mystery key.



2 thoughts on “Keys that unlock more than doors

  1. Love what you are doing! This latest project you are working on…the rooms of the house. Oh, boy! The photos of these keys are wonderful. What a great research hole to fall into. I will check out your guest blog link. Excited for you.

    1. This new book is turning out to be a lot of fun to research – much lighter than the research I did for How To Climb The Eiffel Tower. It has its challenges though. The characters are not cooperating at all.

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