When you travel--or even go about your daily life at home--do you begin to imagine plot twists and twisted characters at every turn?
A while back, we were at a lovely resort on Chesapeake Bay, not far from Cambridge, Maryland. My husband’s company held its annual meeting there, but while the employees were busy in meetings all day I spent some time exploring the small town and the surrounding area.
My biggest surprise—jellyfish! Having lived in the Midwest my entire life, I never had a clue that there could be unbelievable numbers of them that far north—floating like wispy, gelatinous, menacing little clouds at the surface of the water every evening, and very visible along the long pier leading out into the water in front of the resort.
They brought back some unpleasant memories of jellyfish encounters in the ocean along Mexico, believe me…but also, got me thinking. Chesapeake Bay is not that far from Washington DC. What a twist those jellyfish could be in a romantic suspense plot involving political intrigue, if someone planned an escape across those waters!
The language, vernacular, and local culture of an area always fascinate me wherever we go, and I take hundreds--even thousands--of photos (Yay for digital cameras!) and copious notes. For instance, during our trips to the U.K., who knew that every pub and restaurant would serve “mushy peas” with fish and chips?
Today, with the world at our fingertips via the Internet, we can research facts in seconds. But there’s nothing quite like there—talking to the locals, seeing how friendly a community is, picking up literature on their regional festivities and other events. The vegetation, the hidden creatures, the different sounds of the bullfrogs and the birds, all can add such verisimilitude --the small details that make a story seem real. I've now written e-book Christmas novellas set in Scotland and Ireland, and will write one set in England for next year. It was such fun, incorporating details and speech patterns that I couldn't have gleaned from the Internet and reference books!
I would love to hear about where you live! Can you imagine a great mystery or suspense novel unfolding in your community? What are some of the unique and interesting details about life where you are?
Blessings to you all!
USA Today bestselling author Roxanne Rustand has written forty traditionally published and indie novels. She is now working on writing books for Love Inspired, and is enjoying every moment! You can find her at: