Fangtastic Friday Travelogue

My husband and I just returned from settling our son into graduate school in New York City, and on the way there, we spent two nights in Gettysburg, PA.  Now, we’re all history nuts in our family, though we have our favorite eras.  I like Tudor/Stuart England, our son is into Holy Roman Empire, and my husband is a Revolutionary War buff.  Well, guesss who of the three of us was most enthralled with Gettysburg?  Yep, that would be me.  It’s an eerie kind of place, and it appeals to my paranormal bent.  Where else can you find 10 vendors offering ghost tours and psychic readings out the ying-yang?  But beyond the rampant commercialism, it’s a place where more war casualties occurred than in any other conflict in America’s history.  In July 1865, the little town of then 2,500 inhabitants (7,500 now) became a maze of hospitals.  Almost every building in Gettysburg housed the wounded and dying, so it’s no wonder there are ghosts galore.  So, I’m thinking, why not add a vampire to the mix?  I was duly inspired, and I’m currently working on a story that involves Gettysburg College and a certain tenured professor who may have incisors a bit longer than the norm.

One of the many incredible monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield.

After leaving Gettysburg, NYC was culture shock, but not in a bad way.  I had the good luck to attend an event at the Sony Style store where Sony introduced its new generation of e-readers and Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches Trashy Books talked about the genre we all love, romance.  Her blog is my absolute fave, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet her.  And she’s just as nice as she is funny.  I read her blog for a healthy dose of snark and to see what interesting new words I can add to my vocabulary.  Really, the gal’s like Willy Wonka on steroids with all the wacky words she concocts.  She enriches my reading because she always has a great book to suggest, such as One Dance With a Duke by Tessa Dare, which I am currently loving.  Here’s a photo of Sarah and me.  No, that is not a bustier over my t-shirt.  It’s just a t-shirt.

Susan Blexrud and Sarah Wendell at the #sbtbSony Meetup in NYC on September 1.

Also at the Sony event was Angela James, the powerhouse executive editor of Carina Press, and many writers and readers from the NYC area.  The new Sony e-readers are impressive, and one of the best features is the relationship Sony has established with libraries.  If your library is one of the participating systems, you can download books for two weeks, just like you’d check out hardcovers.  Cool, huh?

So, here’s what I’d like to know.  How have your travels inspired your writing or enriched your reading?

16 Responses to “Fangtastic Friday Travelogue”
  1. Well, as Susan knows, three books sprang directly from my three years spent in Ireland. Talk about a life-altering experience! It truly is a land of enchantment, with a pull so powerful that words can’t describe it–though I tried! As generations of immigrants and thei rfamilies have known, you can leave Ireland but it never leaves you.

  2. susan leech says:

    Many times after visiting an area I go and find books related to the area. I lived about 45 minutes from Gettysburg,PA a couple years ago and being in the area got me interested in Civil War stories. Had anyone asked me years before if I wanted to read a war story of any kind I would had laughed at them. It is quite interesting and yes..I am sure many ghosts can be found in the older homes in that area and surrounding areas. The underground railroad homes would also be quite interesting but sad to say I never visited any while living in the area. Several of these homes are now hotels and dining places. susan L.

  3. Jannine says:

    Susan, what a wonderful subject. Yes, my travels when I was only 18 sparked a story which resulted in my book FOREIGN EXCHANGE that I co-wrote with a friend. I had gone to Italy for about 6 weeks, living with my aunt and uncle, who was a general in the Italian air force. Talk about culture shock. Italians in Italy are so different from Italians in America, I had learned. LOL, it was such an eye opener.

  4. Roxanne Semon says:

    You know that i write for assessment so I am always looking for ideas when I travel–stories by the Cherokee, lives of sea turtles, running down city streets, imagining life on the prairie. The latest was my kayaking trip among the orcas Not only are they fascinating in the scientific sense, they may well be a metaphor for humanity’s trashing of the environment. Plus, they communicate with each other, each pod with its own “dialect.” Therein lies a story!

  5. I’m not surprised you were inspired by Gettysburg, Susan. I found it eerie myself when I visited several years ago. Another place with an atmosphere that makes me see flashes of the past from the corner of my eyes is Charleston, S.C. It became a part of HUNGER because I never shook that haunted feeling even years after I’d vacationed there.

    I’m crazy about that picture of you and Sarah Wendell, btw. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Bonnie H says:

    Hi Susan! *waves* I always get ideas when I go places – there are almost always really interesting historical facts about the places, and that inspires me 😀
    Besides, it’s a great excuse – “Honey, we HAVE to go – it’s for RESEARCH!” LOL

  7. Kate Hofman says:

    Susan – I found you! I hav trouble reading pale grey on black, but I noticed you were writing about your Gettysburg visit. I am waiting for a paranormal book from you about this…
    xoxo KATE

  8. Susan Blexrud says:

    @ Kate, You’ll be the first to see the story, sweetie. Thanks!
    @ Bonnie, Good to hear from you. Yes, that’s a great excuse. LOL!
    @ Barbara, I love Charleston, too. It worked fabulously in Hunger.

  9. Fiona Zedde says:

    When I was younger, writing was always been my way of traveling to other places without leaving my little corner of the world. But as my writing and living experience has grown, I realize how much I absolutely love going to foreign and not so foreign places. I’ve also realized that traveling can and does enrich the writing and writing a book can be a great excuse to travel.

    My vampire novel, Every Dark Desire, is set in Jamaica. And it was while I was visiting my island home that the idea for the book took wing and flew. It would have been a much different book if I’d written it in Atlanta where I lived.

  10. Wonderful article, Susan!
    As a writer myself, I think no matter where I go, my imagination kicks into overdrive and begins creating a story. Which is why I always travel with my laptop, pad o paper, and voice recorder.
    I’m looking forward to reading your next work. I know it will be brilliant!
    Haunts and kisses;

  11. Grace Conley says:

    I enjoyed your blog! I’m glad you enjoyed Gettysburg — I’ve always found it to be very atmospheric. My travels have absolutely impacted my writing — even if I fictionalize a certain locale, so far all of my pieces have been based on places I’ve visited.

  12. Kathleen says:

    Susan, you’ll do something wonderful with Gettysburg, I just know it! Can’t wait for that. I’m a Tudor England fan, as well. Have we had a communal drool over The Tudors yet? If not, next time!

  13. Susan Blexrud says:

    @ Kathleen, I’m looking forward to the communal drool. Put my on your calendar for October 8.
    @ Fiona, Jamaica? What a fabulous setting for a story. I’d love to go there someday.
    @ Annie, Thanks for the kind words, sweetie!
    @ Grace, Would love to share a Gettysburg experience. Yes, atmospheric it is!

  14. Suzanne Rock says:

    Hi Susan – loved your post! My Kyron Pack series is about a group of werewolves who own a group of casino/hotels in Ls Vegas and it was inspired by…my trip to Las Vegas. lol. I love how the city itself is so urban, but only a couple of miles away you can really enjoy nature at Lake Mead or the Grand Canyon.

    So glad that you had a great trip!

  15. Kathy Kulig says:

    I live in PA and can’t believe I haven’t been to Gettysburg yet. I hear it’s amazing. My travels have inspired a number of novels. A visit to the Mayan pyramids in Tikal, Guatemala inspired a ghost/reincarnation story. A trip to Sedona, Arizona actually inspired a shapeshifting/demon series. I have a trip to Ireland coming up so I hope that trip stirs up some fresh ideas.Change of scenery is good for getting the creativity flowing. At least for me.

  16. Susan Blexrud says:

    @ Kathy, Oh, you have to make it to Gettysburg. And I, too, was inspired by the Mayan ruins. My time travel novel, Delora’s Necklace, was written after I scaled the 900 steps at Chichen-Itza. It’s an amazing place. Ireland should provide lots of story fodder.

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