Wednesday, February 11, 2015


A post about whether traveling results in writing books, which I read on another blog, reminded me it was time to write about how so often my books were inspired by my travels. I’ve been lucky because my husband spent his gainfully employed years working for a major airline. In fact, I wish we had traveled more, but we also raised children, and it’s not always easy to combine the two. But, at the risk of sounding like a travelogue, here are my completed books, in alphabetical order, that were the result of travel.

A DEATH IN PHOENIX, not yet published, didn’t require hopping on an airplane. I drove there, but, having been born and reared in Illinois, it was a different background for me. Palm trees, hot summers, Christmas shopping in short sleeves or even shorts, were exotic to me.

CHOICES. Currently unavailable during rewrites. This one takes place in Los Angeles and San Francisco, so it wasn’t a long trip from my home in Northern and - later - Southern California.

COLD APRIL. Obviously I wasn’t on the Titanic, but we did travel to Branson, Missouri, where there’s a replica of the ship, a guided tour and a large bookstore which provided me with plenty of information. I’ve also seen every film and documentary from the comfort of my TV chair.

FINDING AMY contains scenes in both London and Paris, both of which I visited more than once. But we were there for visits to friends and relatives or on vacations, not trying to solve a mystery. And, thank goodness, not arrested by French police.

FREE FALL takes place in California’s central valley, again not too far away from home. Research for that included going up in private planes and also a small helicopter which didn’t even have a door on my side. The seat belt worked, however.

THE GREEN BOUGH - about a schoolteacher in an Oregon logging camp in 1913 - got most of its research due to Aunt Gladys telling me about her adventures and material from the Oregon History Society (where we have our family name on a brick).

THE ITALIAN JOB. That time I got to fly to Rome, Pisa, Florence, and Venice, plus a train to Milan and a rental car to Lake Como. As did my heroine. After all, that was her job.

NORTH BY NORTHEAST required a flight to New Orleans, then a train trip from there to Washington, D.C. with stops in Savannah, Charleston and Richmond, and another flight to St. Louis to see the arch (but didn’t put the arch in the book).

SOUTHERN STAR required a flight to New York where we boarded a 56-foot yacht owned by friends and sailed up the river. It was very romantic, although we were already married.

STRANGER IN PARADISE took advantage of my extensive knowledge of Hawaii, especially the island of Maui, because we owned a condo there for twenty years and visited twice a year to maintain it for guests. Yes, we did find time to swim and snorkle between chores.

I’ve also traveled to Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Mexico, Vatican City, Switzerland, and a few other places, so I have material for more books. Now that I’m adding mystery to my romance repertoire, I may become another Jessica Fletcher, finding dead people wherever I go.

Blog readers, what exotic places have you visited?


  1. Hi Phyllis,

    If been to the Philippines. I think when an author has actually been in the location he's writing about it gives him more confidence, which hopefully translates onto the page.


    1. I've read that many writers make it a point to visit a place they're writing about and I agree it helps for the confidence it gives as well as the accuracy.


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