Murder isn’t the only aspect of my stories where I try to be creative. Yeah, a lot of my heroes are agents for Decorah Security, and a number of them are even werewolves. Plus a lot of my heroines make their living from the arts, because those are professions I can identify with. And as an added bonus, when murderers come at them with a knife or a gun, they’re free to pack up their paintbrushes or cameras and disappear.
One thing I try to do in my work is set my stories in interesting places. I used Washington, DC, a lot because the city has cachet in the world of spy novels. It also happens to be the city where I grew up, so I know it well.
Similarly, I often use Columbia, Maryland, because I live here now. And right down the road is two-hundred-year-old Ellicott City, where the kitschy shopping street is wedged between massive cliffs leading down to the Patapsco River. Another location I go back to again and again is Maryland’s Eastern Shore because of the colonial charm, waterman culture, and opportunities for small-town politics.
I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I don’t know as much about some of the other locations around my state. But I had an opportunity to remedy that situation at a Blogger Bash sponsored by the Maryland Office of Tourism. They got a number of writers together with marketing directors from some of the state’s counties and also some interesting vendors. I knew Maryland had wineries. In fact I picked up a brochure for the Patuxent Wine Trail, which includes wineries in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Prince George’s and Saint Mary’s counties. And I had a nice chat with the winemaker from Big Cork Winery, which is thirty minutes west of Frederick.
One of the people I loved talking to at the bash was Betsy DeVore, the Director of Marketing and Digital Communications for the Hagerstown Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.
I’ve driven past Hagerstown a lot of times on my way west. She made me want to stop there. It might be cool to set some scenes at the Antietam National Battlefield or the Chesapeake & Ohio National Historical Park.
And tell me–where do you look for interesting locations to use in books–or simply to enjoy for a quick getaway?