Sunday, March 14, 2010
My love affair with travel
It’s always been said, “Write what you know, and if you don’t know it - research it.” When writing novels set in bygone eras, research is all you can do. For me, my favorite form of research is travel. Lucky for me, I began working in and around the travel industry when I was still in college. Those connections still come in handy every now and then. I travel a lot. And I love to travel with my characters and settings in mind.
It’s impossible to climb a rounded stone staircase in a medieval castle without wondering about the original occupants and those who came after them. Or walk a cobblestone path in a quaint village that many generations before have walked. Even watching the steam rise from Ancient Roman baths can instantly transport you to a time long since gone.
All it takes is for me to land at Heathrow Airport, and story ideas start forming in my mind. Actually, in all honesty, the airport does nothing for me. I need to travel a little further into the city or countryside for the feel of England to seep into my soul. It doesn’t take long, however. There is something special about sitting in a pub that’s older than my country and enjoying a pint as I take in the history-rich atmosphere. I can’t help but look at my surroundings and wonder at the number of scenes that have played out within these walls over the last few centuries. I can’t help but imagine the lively characters who waltzed in and out these doors and what their lives must have been like – who they were, the hopes and dreams they had, and those they loved. I am a romance author, after all.
I doubt my love affair with England will ever end. My ancestors hail from the British Isles and there’s something magical about standing where they stood. Something that makes it seem like home for me. If I had a month at my disposal to roam the English countryside, it still wouldn’t be enough. There would always be something else I wanted to see. Something else I wanted to experience.
When I’m there, I try to see and experience as much as I can. I want to view the forests my werewolves would have roamed. To see the darkened mews my vampires might have lurked in. The cheerful cottages, grand estates, and of course those Mayfair homes in which my characters might have lived draw me to them. Seeing these sights, breathing that air, and letting England wash across me helps add another dimension to my writing as I’m creating my fictional world.
Is there someplace like that for you? Someplace you can travel to that has a connection to your muse?