Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Timothy Jay Smith | Settings
Author Guest / July 8, 2020

An interview provided by the author for FreshFiction.com – You’ve written novels set in many places around the world (and you’ve traveled to even more!). How do you capture the nuance of a place in your writing, in order to create such vivid settings? I resist writing stories about places I don’t know well in terms of both setting and culture, which is another way of saying: I need to have spent a lot of time in a place before I write about it. My current release, Fire on the Island, set in Greece, is the best example of that. My first job after college was in Greece, to which I’ve returned to numerous times, cumulatively spending some seven years in the country. For the last fifteen years, I’ve gone every spring to the same village on the island of Lesvos where Fire on the Island is set. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, I had a very exciting career in international development that took me around the world many times. In Poland and Jerusalem, I worked on long-term assignments (meaning over two years), so naturally those became settings for two of my novels. In only one case, Cooper’s Promise,…

Karen Barnett | Traveling for Research
Author Guest / June 28, 2019

I’ve always loved to travel, so I’m particularly drawn to novels set in interesting locations or featuring characters who take a journey of some sort. It’s my way of exploring the world even when I need to stay close to home. I’ve heard people refer to it as “armchair travel.” It’s the perfect escape from the daily demands—kids, job, friends, bills—you name it. Back when I was first dreaming of being an author, I remember reading a whole stack of Robin Jones Gunn’s delightful Sisterchicks books. As I closed the final cover, a thought jumped to mind. “This writer has it figured out. She must travel to all of these exotic locations to do book research—and it’s probably a business expense!” I realized the same was probably true of many of the other authors I made a habit of reading. Professional vacationers. Wouldn’t that be the life? Now that I’ve been on multiple book trips, I can tell you for sure: it is incredible. Traveling for novel research is a dream come true. It’s also a lot of work. My current series is set in some of our country’s most beautiful places, our national parks. When I first proposed the…

Cynthia Baxter | Confessions of a Mystery Writer . . . Er, Travel Writer
Uncategorized / March 25, 2009

We’re all entitled to an obsession or two, aren’t we? One of mine is travel. I suppose it’s because I spent my childhood in the backseat of a car with my sister and grandmother – often a Volkswagen bug – with my parents in the front seat, acting as pilot and co-pilot. School vacation was synonymous with road trip. Since my father was an English teacher in a neighboring school district, he usually had the same days off that we kids did – and so off we’d go. Our home was on Long Island, in the suburbs of New York, which was a great starting point for traveling all over the eastern half of the United States. The five of us explored New England, Florida, and just about every state in between. (Eastern Canada, too.) We saw the big cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and Montreal; historic towns like Williamsburg, Virginia, and Salem, Massachusetts; and places that were just plain fun like Hershey, Pennsylvania, and St. Petersburg, Florida. In fact, Florida was a favorite destination for spring vacations. The drive took about three days, including stops at every Stuckey’s and Horne’s we passed along the way (a blast from the past…

Kathryn Albright | A Rose by any other Name…
Uncategorized / August 1, 2008

Traveling about the United States has always inspired my writing. I guess that is why, when I have the time, I prefer to drive places rather than fly. Besides the names of mountains and lakes, the town and street names catch my eye. For example, my grandparents lived in Buzzards Bay on Cape Cod. Now doesn’t that sound like a great place to set in a story? Other “east coast” names that fascinate me are Nantucket Sound and Owls Head. The name Poughkeepsie in New York just makes me smile. It sounds like fun—and would be a light story. Roanoke and Claymont give away their “stuffy” British backgrounds. The name Nags Head makes me wonder what happened to the poor horse there—or was it about a discontented woman? (Probably neither—but there goes my imagination…) Women seem to get little respect from history as the names of most places related to them are similar to Crazy Woman Creek, Maggies Nipples, or Squaw Hill (all of Wyoming.) Even old names of streets such as Gallows Road and Persimmon Tree Road start stories spinning through my head. Seven Locks Road—now there just has to be a story about covering up a murder in…

Tasha Alexander | Dare to Dream
Uncategorized / February 7, 2008

When I first started writing, I hardly dared to dream. I banged away on a semi-decrepit laptop in my attic apartment in New Haven, Connecticut (yes, really, an attic…servants’ quarters, actually; I kept looking with no success for the butler…), working on my debut novel, And Only to Deceive, with only the briefest someday-maybe-if-I’m-good-and-lucky-this-will-get-published thoughts. I’d chosen the location for the novel carefully—wanted to use settings familiar to me. Places I’d actually been. I studied abroad in college, living in London, and that seemed an easy starting point. Two trips to Paris had cemented the city in my soul, and a recent visit to Greece had wholly seduced me. I was confident I could capture the essentials of each location. But what next? I’d joked for a long time that my writing career was a thinly veiled attempt to justify my travel plans, but I’d never really let myself believe that someday, just maybe, I could be an author and jet about the world on research trips. I kept those thoughts far from my brain, focusing instead on writing. It’s the best thing an aspiring author can do—nothing is more important than crafting the best books possible—while all the while…

Maddy Hunter | Not Your Average Saturday Night
Uncategorized / October 25, 2007

Having been raised in New England, educated in convent school, hired as a church organist at age thirteen, and born into a family that boasted five priests, I suspect the last place you’d expect to find me on a Saturday night is in Amsterdam’s red-light district, but two weeks ago, that’s exactly where I was.I write the Passport to Peril Mystery series, featuring travel escort Emily Andrew and her band of quirky Iowa seniors, so I travel the globe looking for exciting places to kill imaginary characters. To date, I’ve committed murder in Switzerland, Ireland, Italy, Hawaii, Australia, and Scandinavia. With NORWAY TO HIDE due to be released at the end of October, it was time for me to select a new killing ground, which is how I happened to be eating dinner in an upscale Dutch restaurant, opposite two fellow tour members who suggested it might be fun to explore the red-light district after the bus dropped us off at our hotel. The red-light District? That den of inquity where brothels had thrived for a century? Where people could indulge in hanky-panky while guzzling ardent spirits and smoking something even more potent than Marlboros? Me? Go there? A bit…

Carla Neggers | Travel Tales: Writing on the Fly
Romance / October 22, 2007

I’m on the road. I just arrived in beautiful Salt Lake City on not such a beautiful day, but what incredible scenery. It’s my second time out west this year. In June, I was in Denver, Phoenix and Las Vegas touring for ABANDON, my most recent book, with side trips to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. In between these two trips west, I’ve scooted off to Dallas, New York, Maine and Toronto. Fortunately, I can write pretty much anytime, anywhere. I spent the first three hours of the flight to Salt Lake working on THE ANGEL, which is due out in hardcover in late April. I love this story, so it was easy to drag out my laptop, put on my iPod and dive in.Not everyone can or likes to write on the road, but for me it can be fun and energizing. Some writers I know like to hole up in a hotel for the last week or two they’re working on a book. Total immersion. No distractions. It’s something I’ve never done, but I can understand the appeal—especially if it’s a nice hotel! I wrote part of THE WIDOW, which is due out in paperback in a few…