Friday, June 26, 2009

Road-trip Inspiration

I recently returned home after an almost two-week road trip, filled with happy memories and loads of inspiration--there are just so many stories to tell, and so little time to tell them all! I'm a serious history buff--not to mention the fact that both my undergraduate and graduate degrees are in history--so it doesn't take much to inspire me. Pretty much every history-filled place I visit leaves me desperate to write a book about said place. Is it just me, or do others experience this, too??

A few years ago I visited the North Carolina Outer Banks and Roanoke Island, and came away desperate to write a YA book about the mysterious disappearance of the original Roanoke settlers. My bookshelf is full of research books I bought and read, and I brainstormed ideas for quite a while. Unfortunately, I never got around to writing the book.

But this recent trip similarly inspired me. First up, Williamsburg, VA. I'd LOVE to write a Colonial America-set romance. Armed with a new knowledge of the streets, residences, and life in Colonial Williamsburg, I can totally picture a book set there.

Same with nearby Jamestown--I've always wanted to write a YA romance between an early settler and a Powhatan (in the vein of Pocahontas and John Smith--only with teenage protagonists). But after visiting Jamestown....I swear, it was like stepping back in time. I could hear the voices of characters just whispering in my head as I walked alongside the James River and through the shady woods where the Powhatan tribe lived.

Later on the trip, we spent a couple of days in Savannah, GA, which left me longing to write a Civil War era romance set in that moody and atmospheric southern city! And later, we toured the Antietam Battlefield, further fueling my musing about a Civil War set book.

It's amazing how a vacation can fuel my imagination, and how, whenever I'm visiting a historic site, the 'voices' come out to play in my head!

How about you? Any place you've visited that has inspired a book or just a story in your mind? Or made you want to write a book set there? Any historical site/place you've visited that has made you want to read a book set there?

*Photos from top to bottom: Sunken Lane at the Antietam Battlefield; Draped bed in the Governor's Palace, Williamsburg; Path alongside the James River, Jamestown; Dunker Church, Antietam Battlefield.


Cecile said...

Those are some beautiful photos you have there!! Kristina, you are right, being in places like inspire a lot of thoughts!!! I can only imagine being inspired to write from photos like those.
I love visiting towns "historical" side. Wondering what happen all those years ago, what people were like, what they did, how they did it.... It still simply amazes me!! Thank you for sharing these with us.

I am sorry that I do have a particular place or writing story... but I do store what I have seen and learned... and one day... one great day... I will jot things down!
I hope you have a great weekend!! And again, thanks for sharing this! I makes me want to visit places like this and take up history!!

Amanda McIntyre said...

gorgeous pics, Kristi!
The Outer Banks and Savannah are two of my most want to visist places! One of my all time fav authors Anne River Siddons writes a lot of the Outer Banks in her books-and Savannah--my gosh, dripping with history! I for one would love to see more Civli war and pre-civil war romance out there!

I am so pumped now to head out on the road next week! We're heading to Niagra, down too Gettysburg, to Philly and Chesapeake Bay and the Washington /Virgina area. before I hit Im hoping--like you--to get lots of pictures!!

Im so glad you got inspired!!!!!! ;))

Hopefully Charlotte who has been locked for days in her room--has achieved dizzying heights of inspriation....;)

BTW--we are going to attempt to blog from RWA on site for those of you unable to attend!;))

Amanda M

Kristina Cook/Kristi Astor said...

Ahh, if only PUBLISHERS wanted to see more Civil War and pre-Civil War set historicals, LOL!

I do think one day they'll come back in vogue. I'm waiting.....

Kristina Cook/Kristi Astor said...

Oh, and Gettysburg is by FAR my favorite battlefield to visit. I hope you can spend at least a full day there.

Of course, my senior thesis was specifically on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, so seeing the place in person was close to a religious experience for me....

Amanda McIntyre said...

okay--tell us what is unique to the third day?

Im hoping to do the ghost walk your they offer!

Amanda M

Barbara said...

Hi Kristi! I love the pictures--gorgeous!! And I agree that the palces we visit do inspire us.

I absolutely loved visiting Victorian Cape May in New Jersey. Gorgeous town. We took a carriage ride tour around, and even did the haunted tour and had a blast. We were only there three days and it wasn't nearly enough. I'm hoping to go back one day soon.

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Your pictures are gorgeous! It sounds like you had a great time! I have three 'must see' places in the US, they are New Orleans, Savannah and Charleston. One day I'll get there, I swear!!!

I went to Williamsburg abut eight years and thoroughly enjoyed it. A lot of really fascinating 'hands on' stuff. And the shopping was fun, too!!!!

Writing about US history feels very intimidating to me, mostly because I'm foreign to it and would be afraid of making a grave mistake! I feel better with English/Scottish mostly because it's integral to Canadian history and isn't daunting to me! :)

I'd love to read a really angsty civil war book! So, who's gonna be the first to write it!!!!!

Genella deGrey said...

I have a colonial Single-Title written, and the sequel, but we'll see if either of them ever sees the light of day. LOL

Tombstone, AZ set the spark in me of which you speak. Wrote it. Waiting for publishing house to give me a yay or nay.


Peter said...

I really liked this book too.My book True Love Is Not Common;, has similar main characters. I grew up reading this author. Hope My book one day will reach many readers as this author.