The year 2013 marks my 20th anniversary as a published writer. There were many years in the beginning when I despaired of ever being able to say that. So to celebrate this milestone anniversary, I decided to get the rights back to my first seven books (originally published by Bantam) and turn them into ebooks. It’s been a grueling year-and-a-half process, but they’re finally available. And because of the help of JW Manus, they’re gorgeous, with dazzling graphics as chapter headings. I was lucky to find Jaye, who is without a doubt a leader in the field of ebook creation. She believes ebooks should be as beautiful and respected as print books, and has proven that with her designs for mine. I can’t wait for you to see them!
I also, in this anniversary year, decided to–finally!—create a website. I resisted doing so for a long time, as I was too busy writing, but with Jaye’s help, I think we’ve come up with something stunning and a little different.
The main difference is that I’d like to share with you some of the stories behind the writing of my books, and some of the many places I’ve gone to research them. I grew up with an international background in a family of travelers, and this is reflected in my work. In the past 20 years, I’ve been to every place I’ve written about, and then some. I’ve journeyed to all seven continents, including Antarctica.
Writers are as different as any other group of people. I have great respect for an author who can sit in a room and imagine a world he/she has never seen. After all, Stephen Crane never experienced a Civil War battlefield, but he managed to write THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE.
But setting is so essential to my work that I need to go there myself, to absorb the spirit of the place, to meld with it and channel that energy. I know, for instance, that I can never describe Paris as brilliantly as the great authors have. What I can do for my readers, though, is depict the city through the unique eyes of my characters, to see everything from their points of view, to notice things only they would notice. An artist would see that world through color, light and shadow, while an actress might imagine the epic stage scenes that had transpired there. Therefore, no two descriptions of the same city in different books would be the same.
My mode of travel through the years has been different, but I found early on that, since I write historical novels, taking cruises is an ideal way to see places as my characters would. A cruise ship usually docks in the older part of town and, as my characters often arrive by ship, I can put myself in their shoes from the first sighting of land.
I’m not a backpacker. My characters are glamorous so my travels are glamorous and romantic. I stay in some of the best hotels because they do. When I write, I create a fantasy that could only happen in that particular place. But I’ve learned tricks along the way of how to travel like a jetsetter on a budget. I’ll include some of those tips in later blogs. I’ll share with you cruises I’ve loved, hotels to die for, and some practical information along the way.
So please join me on an adventure of travel and amour around the world. Whether you’re a reader of romance, an inveterate traveler, or just want to experience these wonderful places from the safety of your armchair, I hope you’ll find these blogs to be interesting, informative, and most of all entertaining.