Wanderlust – once you succumb it’s like a chocolate addiction, tantalizing and almost impossible to kick. Growing up in a small south Texas town my childhood was a comfortable cocoon of sameness. I went from learning my ABC’s to the angst of puberty with an identical group of kids. But even while I was cruising the streets with my carpool buddy’s I knew I was destined see the world. I just didn’t know how far reaching that would be.
Now let’s fast forward to my life as a nomadic Air Force wife. At times the travel and moving was frenetic and sometimes it could even be exasperating, but it was always an adventure (all 23 moves). I had an opportunity to meet new people, to see new places, and to create my niche in places all over the world.
I skied in New England and Bavaria, hiked in the Pacific Northwest, explored Roman ruins, stuck my toe in the North Sea, the north Atlantic, mid-Atlantic, south Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, got up close and personal with a lobster trap and watched the America’s Cup race from the deck of a Coast Guard ship.
What a great life it was, especially for a writer. It provided me with wonderful settings, eccentric characters and a wealth of stories that find their way into my books. We lived in quite a few states of the Deep South so I set many of my books in that wonderfully rich tapestry of history and family culture. Not only do Southerners revere their “people” and eat rice, they gussy up the nutty relatives and revel in their eccentricities. And that’s what makes a story fun.
So if you love my kind of wild and wacky world, head to the stores and look for my March book – Goin’ Down to Georgia (Harlequin American Romance). It’s currently on the shelves.
But back to the DeFee wanderlust – it’s not over yet. When we moved to the Pacific Northwest we thought we’d found the place. But those darned kids of ours settled on the east coast (and they took my grandkids with them – what’s with that?) So naturally we decided it was time to permanently set our clocks on Eastern Standard Time. The cross country airplane pilgrimages were a killer!
The problem was we didn’t have a clue where we wanted to go. So short of throwing a dart at a map we armed ourselves with a list of “must haves” and made a 3 state (Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina), 8 community (Easton, MD, Columbia, MD, Fredericksburg, VA, Virginia Beach, VA, Chapel Hill, NC, Pinehurst, NC, Raleigh, NC and Williamsburg, VA), 50 house odyssey. Whew! I’ve seen so many houses my eyes are crossed – hardwood, carpet, tile, resale, new construction, small lot, acreage, yada, yada, yada.
It was overwhelming, exhausting and too confusing for words but we finally decided on Williamsburg. VA. It was love at first sight. So all we have to do (LOL) is sell our house, buy another and make a transcontinental move with a Golden Retriever, two cars and a spoiled cat. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Yeah, I know – I have a warped sense of humor, but I am a Monty Python fan.
Wish us luck – especially in dealing with this real estate market, and please visit my website (ann-defee.com) to read an excerpt of Goin’ Down to Georgia. Oh yeah, while you’re there check out my other titles.
Ann was a double Rita finalist in 2006 for her debut novel, A Texas State of Mind.