Place: Ephesus, Turkey |
Drink: Local pomegranate wine |
So, how do you decide where to set your novel? A great question I’ve been getting since finishing my first book, A Simple Game. For me, I followed that old adage, “Write about what you know,” or, in this case, where you’ve been.
All told, the action in my international thriller takes place in 13 cities in nine countries on four different continents, plus one fictitious Southeast Asian island (which bears a striking resemblance to an actual Southeast Asian island; it’s all in the name). And each of these places I’ve either lived in or visited during my time as a journalist, conflict resolution officer, and now a diplomat.
I hoped that with my first-hand experience of these locales – which run the gamut from Brussels, London, and Washington, DC, to an Arabian desert, Istanbul, Sarajevo, and the mangrove swamps of the Niger Delta – I would have something interesting to offer my readers, while getting them caught up in the adventure.
When I sat down to write the novel, I also had a lot of stories I wanted to tell from some of my own adventures, so I looked for a way to string them all together. The solution I found: have my hero, Rory Crandall, join a global manhunt that takes him to some of the places I had been, doing some of the things I had done (with a fair bit of creative license applied) in pursuit of a group of terrorists killing the world’s best athletes (something I’ve never done).
Granted, this strategy won’t work if you’re writing a book set in Oz, Middle-earth, or Hogwarts. But my hunch is even here the authors creating these places tapped into real locations they had experienced to provide the sights, sounds, and other vivid details that make these tales so memorable!