Mark Terry is guest-blogging today on my favorite subject: travel. The Fallen, in his Derek Stillwater series, just came out, and he also has his bestselling Joanna Dancing thriller, Dancing in the Dark, available exclusively on Kindle. Check them out! You can read more about his writing life at his blog.
Natasha and her SO packed up their belongings and hit the road. I envy them.
Oh, who am I kidding? You couldn’t pay me enough money to live out of a frickin’ camper! I prefer not to cross the great outdoors for my nighttime wee-wee breaks, thank you very much. As a woman I worked with once said, “If there’s not a mint on the pillow, it’s camping.” (Okay, I’m not quite that bad.)
But they say travel is broadening and although my doctor says I’m broad enough already, I do like travel. Most of my travel these days is work related. I edit a technical journal, and the organization involved hosts a technical meeting every year in a different city— this year it’s Phoenix, Arizona; last year it was Jacksonville, Florida. For this meeting alone I’ve spent a week in Cincinnati, Denver, Anaheim, Atlanta, Baltimore, Kansas City, and Houston. Other business trips have taken me to Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Tampa.
Series fiction is often built in a specific city—Robert B. Parker’s Spenser in Boston; Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole, Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, and Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware all in Los Angeles; Rick Riordan’s Tres Navarre, who may have retired, in San Antonio.
My Derek Stillwater changes cities every book. In The Devil’s Pitchfork it was Baltimore and Washington, DC. In The Serpent’s Kiss it was Detroit (more or less my home town). In The Fallen, my latest novel, it’s a resort outside Colorado Springs. The next book, scheduled for September 2011, takes place predominantly in Los Angeles. And the Derek Stillwater novel I’m working on now takes place in Moscow, Russia.
Lee Child’s novels featuring Jack Reacher also have a different setting for each book. So, for that matter, do most espionage novels, which my novels more closely resemble than Lee Child’s Reacher novels.
But setting is important. Unfortunately, I probably won’t be going to Moscow to research this book. In fact, I almost didn’t start it because of that. I have a story idea that could take Derek to Jacksonville and I spent a very hot week there last year. After Russia, if Derek and I are still dating, I expect Jacksonville to figure in a book, unless something in particular strikes me about Phoenix.
So I’ll be curious to see if Natasha’s travels influence her work.
How about you? Do your travels affect your writing?