Next week I’ll be in Ireland. I’ll be on a honeymoon. No, not mine but my son’s and his new wife’s. Her folks will also be along, as well as one of her aunts. Most people are taken aback when I tell them this, but evidently Family-moons and Buddy-moons (where the couple take friends along with them) are becoming the “IN” thing.
I’m glad. I’ve wanted to go to Ireland for years. About fifteen years ago my husband and I talked about taking a trip there where you rode horses from castle to castle. That sounded like fun, but life got in the way, and we never made the trip. This year it will be “horsepower” that takes us from castle to castle (with a few bed-and-breakfast stops in between).
A car might be more comfortable than riding a horse, but I’m not sure about driving on the opposite side of the road. We’ll see.
So will my next book be set in Ireland? I doubt it. I don’t write historicals, and I don’t see my protagonist (P.J. Benson) in the “Crows” books traveling over to Ireland. But I may change my mind once I’ve made the trip. Or the trip may stimulate my imagination to create a new set of protagonists and a new mystery.
Traveling is wonderful for the writer, both as a stimulus for ideas and for research. Oh, sure, nowadays we can virtually travel via the Internet (photos, videos, articles, and blogs), but going to a location is the best way to truly “see” a place.
There’s not only the visual, but also the sounds and smells. There’s the feel: of the road, of the linens…of the toilet papers. (I still remember how the toilet paper felt when I was in England years ago. The paper in the public “loos” felt like butcher paper.) There’s the taste of the food, the ale, or the whiskey. The degree of sunlight … if there is any sunlight. I hear it rains a lot over there. It will be interesting to see what’s shown on the television. The ease—or difficulty—of making a phone call. Will I understand the accents or the different words they use for familiar objects? We’ll be using Euros. I’ll have to learn how to convert dollars to euros…or the other way around.
Whether or not I ever write a story set in Ireland, all of these experiences add to my pool of knowledge. “Write what you know,” the so-called experts say. Well, this trip is going to add to my “know.”