Monday, May 30, 2011

Using Your Travel Experiences as Inspiration

Good morning on this Memorial Day! I just want to take a moment to thank all our wonderful military men, women and their families who sacrifice so much so that we might have our freedom and liberty. On this Memorial Day, and on every other day, we honor your service and all that you do.

For those of you who know me, I still have my full time job in New York City. It involves a lot of long hours, but I love what I do. I've met lots of interesting people and have also been able to visit many different countries thanks to the various cases on which I've worked.


I like to travel in general and if the money situation allows, I will visit the locations I plan on using in my novels so that I can get a first hand experience for the locale. Even when I'm on a business trip, as soon as business is over I put on walking shoes and check out the sights in the city. Besides all the tourist locations, I make a point to visit where the locals will hang out and shop. I'll spend some time browsing through local shops and markets and make it a point to try out new foods and beverages.

While I'm doing that, I'll also keep an eye out for how the locals dress, any interesting looking individuals and of course, anything unusual that inspires my mind for a story.

My two Carina Press releases, AZTEC GOLD (Jan 2011) and THE FIFTH KINGDOM (July 2011) were inspired by a series of business trips to Mexico City. I had the opportunity to visit Teotihuacan, a pre-Columbian city which boasts some of the tallest pyramids in the world, the Avenue of the Dead and beautiful murals. You can click here to read more about that visit and a hair rising climb up the pyramid.

But I also spent time in the city itself and got to visit the lovely Chapultepec Park, the museum with the Sun Stone as well as try lots of unique foods, like huitlacoches, a corn fungus that tastes much like a truffle.

Much like the pyramids inspired AZTEC GOLD, the Sun Stone got me thinking about ancient relics and what would happen if one had mystical powers and got into the wrong hands. That's how THE FIFTH KINGDOM was born. In THE FIFTH KINGDOM, a sexy CIA Agent has to find a kidnapped archeologist who may have found Montezuma's tomb. To do so, he is forced to rely on the missing woman's daughter, an expert in Mexican culture who was abandoned by her mother as a teen.

The sparks fly between the two and so does the adventure as they go on the trail of the missing mother and the terrorists who are jonesing for something which may be in Montezuma's tomb.
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Many of the scenes in the book are based on the experiences I had while in Mexico http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifCity and I hope you will enjoy the real life sights, sounds and flavors that I've put into the novel.

That's one of the reasons I like to visit my locations. You can add so much more realism into the stories when you've actually have been there. I think readers can sense that and I love hearing from someone that when they actually went there it was just like I had depicted it in the novel.

Thanks for taking the time to drop by! If you'd like to see more photos from my various trips, take a moment to stop by my Facebook Fan Page at http://www.facebook.com/Caridad.Author or visit my website at www.caridad.com. I post many of my photos there for you to enjoy and share in the experience.

6 comments:

Toni Anderson said...

Caridad--I am exactly the same. I use many of my travel adventures in my stories and love to see how the locals live.
Love your stories.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Caridad, I think you have *way* too much fun with your research. Oh wait--that might just be envy on my part!

Wynter Daniels said...

I think it shows when an author really knows the setting. Good for you that you've been able to visit such amazing places.

Anne Marie Becker said...

One of my stories takes place in Chicago, because I've been there several times and love it. Another is in New York City (which I'll be visiting for the first time in 4 weeks - yay!). Guess I'll have to take a little research excursion during conference!

MaureenAMiller said...

I loved Aztec Gold and I can't wait for the Fifth Kingdom.

I used to travel for a living, and I find that not only do destinations make it into my books, but the 'art of travel' as well. Airports, car rentals, rail...I watch the George Clooney movie "Up in the Air" and it brings back that lifestyle all too well.

Great post, Caridad.

Elise Warner said...

Caridad--I've used my travel experiences in travel articles and short stories. Travel is a welcome bug--once it hits you it's with you always.