Sunday, August 24, 2014

Travel and writing ... A good mix


St. Thomas
Scottish Highlands


Travel is an integral part of my writing routine. Being able to relate to physical locations I use in my writing adds a nice in-depth touch to my tales. My travel not only helps to flesh out settings and locales, it allows me to experience first hand many of the exciting scenes and action I write into my novels.

This spring I traveled to Ireland, and then in the summer to the Maryland coast. During my frequent treks, out and about, I take copious handwritten notes and spend time people watching. I enjoy writing the various descriptions’ I sketch out from the people I observe. It is fair to say that most of the character features I create in a story are likely to be fashioned after real people. The example below happened at a small outdoor cafĂ© on the Ocean City boardwalk.

Brief Example – Short cropped dull blonde hair framed a face that had no fear of repeated and long exposure to the sun. Her light blue eyes shined from within as they offered a stark contrast to her tan skin. The sun bleached blonde boy with her is her grandson. He was still wet from his morning spent in the ocean surf with his boogie board. They sat eating ice cream at a table with a red umbrella that struggled against the wind to stay put. She and the boy raced with the heat to eat it before it melted into a goopy sugary mess.

By doing on site research for my novels, I have had a chance to do things that I never considered doing. For my first novel “Cure Complex,” I toured the space shuttle simulator in Houston, TX along with a mockup of the space station. In addition to reviewing hardware, I had the opportunity to view and handle moon rocks in a lunar receiving lab. In California, I went aboard a U.S. Sub and a Russian Sub and an Underwater Explorer Sub. In Florida, I toured launch pad 39A that had the Saturn rocket on the pad prepped the launch of the Apollo Soyuz mission. Pursuing my quest to be authentic, I had the honor of attending a garden party at the White House, took part in placing a patch on the AID’s quilt display at the National Mall, toured Air Force One, and worked the controls of a DC-10 refueling tanker.

My travels have included the following areas - Every State in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Iceland, Ireland, England, and Scotland. Activities I have done along the way… Touring castles, riding trains, touring natural hot springs, having a Guinness in Dublin to seeing a glacier calving in the Yukon, sailing on Loch Ness looking for the monster I hope my readers enjoy the effort I put into my novels in order to give them an impression of being there in each scene.

My new novel – “Flesh, Bone, Clone,” will be available by the end of 2014.

I hope that my writing blog posts will give my readers creative ideas on how to develop strategies for writing great books. Let me know what you do to create stories and scenes from your travel experiences.

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