The Story Behind Wander & Roam

I thought it would be interesting to do a post on my writing process, because it feels really different from other writers. Most writers I have spoken with begin their novel with a intriguing plot or a compelling character(s). My books always begin with setting, and the story grows from there.

One of my biggest non-writing loves is travel. If wanderlust were an official diagnosis, I would probably meet every diagnostic criteria:

1. Insatiable desire for exploring the world. Check.

2. Random daydreams about new vacation destinations. Yep.

3. Prone to spending hours travel planning, with no real vacation in mind. Guilty.

4. Developed ninja travel agent skills without ever having gone to travel agent school. Super guilty.

Needless to say, all of my books have begun with an airplane, an exotic destination, and a little bit of imagination. This takes me to the story of how Wander and Roam was developed. See, I was never supposed to go to Australia. It was the beginning of March 2011. I had just finalized the last of my reservations and plans. At the the end of the month, I was going to redeem my free airline ticket (Note: See # 4 regarding my ninja travel agent skills) to… Japan. If you remember natural disasters, you might guess how the rest of the story goes.

March 11, 2011: That terrible earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan.

March 11-18, 2011: Spent the week mourning for the incomprehensible losses that the people of Japan were dealing with.

March 18, 2011: With nuclear reactors melting down, the US government issued a travel advisory for Japan.

March 18, 5 p.m.-6 p.m.: Allowed myself one selfish hour to mourn the temples I would not be seeing, the cherry blossoms I would miss, the onsen I would not soak in. (I write this hesitantly, because even in the moment I felt completely awful thinking about a missed vacation when people were suffering, but sometimes you cannot control disappointment).

March 19: Looked into volunteering in Japan for the week, but relief agencies really want to use their own workers. Having random people show up is more a hindrance than a help.

March 20: Boarded a plane to… Australia.

That’s right. I had about 24 hours notice that I could change my flight to a different destination. About the same amount of time it takes to get an Australian visa. I spent the rest of the day doing some frenzied travel planning then boarded the plane. Which leads us to Abby and Sage.

Sydney is a beautiful, vibrant city. From the sailboat-dotted Sydney Harbour, to the iconic Opera House, and into the Royal Botanical Gardens, a story needed to happen here. This place didn’t hold the same magic as England or Costa Rica. My faeries from The Underground Trilogy just didn’t fit.

I tend to stay in multiple places on my trips, so that I can see as much as possible. While it wasn’t the most luxurious or the most convenient of my lodgings, my favorite stay had to be Pittwater Youth Hostel. Just like Susan’s farm, I had to take ferries, buses, and water taxis to get there. As I ate breakfast outside, wallabies hopped around the grounds. Absolutely enchanting, and confirmation that I needed a book idea.

When I completed the Bondi to Coogee hike and came across that haunting, not-to-be-named here so I don’t spoil anything, location mid-hike, the story started to develop. It was clear that Sydney was the perfect place for a romance. Abby and Sage were born. While developing Sage’s character, I tried to give a nod to the other country I missed that March. Someday I’ll actually make it to Japan. Who knows what story is waiting for me there?

For the next week, Wander and Roam is only $.99. I wanted to give a chance for all my readers to grab it at a bargain price. If you’ve read my sweet Australian romance already, feel free to share the discounted price with all your friends.

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