Location, location, location. It’s the realtor’s mantra, but it works for me as well. From the mundane to the exotic, a change of location and the accompanying change of pace unleash my creativity and open me to new possibilities. Some examples:
- Hawaii. Specifically, the Big Island. More specifically, the Kailua-Kona area. I fell in love with it the minute I stepped off the airplane at the Kona airport. The sweet scent of plumeria, the warm breeze fluffed with just the right amount of humidity. All in the middle of winter! I’m not a fan of winter. The days are too cold and too short…and too cold and too short…and did I mention too cold and too short. When the calendar flips to December 1, I just want to crawl into bed and sleep until March. Yeah, not a fan of winter. So no surprise that I set my first book, Sharing Hailey, in Hawaii. It’s the only place I’ve ever vacationed that I cried when I had to leave. Setting a book on the beautiful Kona coast allowed me to spend a little more time there…in my imagination.
- Red River, New Mexico (and all the ski resorts I visited before I decided that wintry weather and icy roads weren’t relaxing, not even a little). Last summer, my husband and I spent a long weekend in Red River. It was my first visit, and I was instantly intrigued by the workings of a small town where the primary industry is tourism. Within twenty-four hours, I had an idea for not just one book but an entire series. I’m currently revising the first book in that series and writing the second.
- Austin. This enclave of liberalism in the conservative state of Texas was the setting for Tempting Meredith. And the heroes and heroine in the story reflect both political ideologies.
- The blood mobile. Yes, one day while donating blood, I came up with the beginning of a book involving blood donation and a bomb. Haven’t written that one yet, but someday…maybe.
- All over Texas. Houston, rural west Texas, Dallas. I find it difficult not to write about characters shaped by my birth state. Like my life there, Waiting for Ty takes place in every corner of it.
- New Mexico. I can’t forget the rest of my adopted home state, the setting for the second half of Sharing Hailey and the above mentioned work-in-progress. Albuquerque, Corrales, Santa Fe, Taos. I’ve lived here for thirty years, but the familiarity hasn’t dimmed my enthusiasm for the Land of Enchantment. Mountains formed from volcanoes, gorges cut deep by rivers, sunrises and sunsets so colorful I thought they only existed in paintings. The home of scientists who built the atomic bomb and artists who share the state’s beauty and culture through their works, New Mexico is as diverse as the United States itself.
From books that will never see a publisher to those already out there, location inspires me and shapes my writing. How important is location to your work or the books you read?