[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to have author Lexi Blake guest post on the site today. Take it away, Lexi!]
I travel a lot. I like to think I’m making up for lost time since the most I got to travel as a kid was to my grandmother’s house in Arkansas. And I did it in the back of a Pinto, so we’re lucky I’m still here. I prefer to travel in more luxurious surroundings now, but one thing has stayed the same since I was a kid huddled in a blanket in the very back of that Pinto (again, lucky). I still find stories everywhere I go.
My latest book—Lost in You—was inspired by a couple of my trips to the beautiful city of Munich, Germany. I recently spent a couple of weeks trying to figure out where I would kill people in that scenic city. Yeah, it’s that kind of book. And it made me think. Here’s a couple of helpful hints to think about when you’re traveling as a writer.
Do take time to let the city inspire you.
Whether you’re traveling for fun or with small children (yes, some of you are saying but Lexi, I love my children – you know what I am talking about) or purely for business, stop and let the city flow over you. Close your eyes and take in the sounds of the city. Unless you have those small children then you should never blink because those suckers are fast. But seriously, take a deep breath and find a place to sit and watch the people walking by. I was recently in Paris and did this several times, but my favorite place to people watch was the Tuileries Garden. It’s a gorgeous park that runs from the Place de la Concorde to the Louvre. When I was there, there was a great mix of tourists and locals all out enjoying a beautiful day. And when I got still and let my mind roam, that park suddenly became a setting and my characters mixed and mingled with the locals.
Don’t spend too much time taking pictures of security systems.
So you’re writing a book about thieves stealing the crown jewels or maybe even a group of supernatural creatures who want to liberate an arcane object from a local museum and you want to get it right. It makes sense for you to go to said museum and take a look around. But don’t look like you’re actually casing the joint. It gets you in trouble with said security and puts you on certain lists you probably don’t want to be on.
Or so I’ve heard. (The author of this article would like to say a profound apology to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth where she was absolutely not planning to steal anything.)
Do take tons of pictures and video.
If you find something interesting, document it. Though probably not security systems, as I mentioned above. But if you see a super interesting park where it might be cool to set a clandestine meeting between baddies, document that sucker. I did in St. Petersburg, Russia, a few years back at a park that overlooked the Neva River. I took pictures of everything so I wouldn’t forget the pretty flowers and benches and how I could see the Hermitage in the distance. It became the setting for the meeting between my bad guys in Love and Let Die. I recently did it again in the Père Lachaise Cemetery and can’t wait to use it for an upcoming book. Don’t worry that people will look at you like you’re a crazy person for taking shots of sewer grates and grass. Be brave.
Don’t get so close to your tour guide that you feel super bad when he becomes a character in your mind and you feel awful when bad things happen to him.
Love you, Peter! You were an amazing guide and an even better secondary character. Sorry about…well, you’ll see.
Do the work.
The StairMaster is my most hated machine in the gym so when I looked at the stairs that would lead me to Old Falkenstein Castle in Bavaria, I hesitated. I was all nah, I’m good. I don’t need to climb like a million rickety stairs to see what’s left of a hallowed-out castle from like a billion years ago. But I did and I found something stunning, something inspiring. So take that walk. Climb those steps. Go see that thing someone recommended you see that’s off the beaten path. Sure, sometimes you’ll get all the way to the top and all you’ll find is thriller writer Steve Berry, but sometimes you’ll see something incredible. Something inspiring that you can bring home to your readers. Sometimes, you’ll find wonder…
And my last tip is..
Don’t go to Dirty Dick’s Pub in London the day before you’re going to take what turns out to be a fifteen-hour flight in coach.
Just don’t. Sure it sounds cool but it ends poorly.
That’s it. Go forth into the world, writers and readers alike, and find your wonder!
About the Author:
Lexi Blake is the author of contemporary and urban fantasy romance. She started publishing in 2011 and has gone on to sell over two million copies of her books. She lives in North Texas with her husband, kids, and two rescue dogs.
Lost in You by Lexi Blake, out now!
Robert McClellan was forced to serve as a soldier in a war he didn’t understand. Liberated by McKay-Taggart, he struggles every day to reclaim the life he lost and do right by the men he calls his brothers, The Lost Boys. Only one thing is more important – Ariel Adisa. The gorgeous psychologist has plagued his dreams since the day they met. Even as their mission pushes him to his limits, he can’t stop thinking about taking his shot at finding a life beyond all this with her.
Ariel Adisa is a force to be reckoned with. Her performance in Toronto proved she’s more than just a brilliant mind, but Robert still acts as if she is a wilting flower who needs his protection. Joining him on the mission to Munich should be the perfect opportunity to test their skills and cement their relationship. She and Robert are an excellent match. But when a stunning secret from Robert’s past is revealed, their world is turned upside down and nothing will ever be the same again.
While they chase dark secrets across Europe, Robert and Ariel realize that the only thing worse than not knowing who you are could be discovering who you used to be…