I'm a very lucky lady. Lucky in many ways -- I have a great family, wonderful friends, amazing colleagues, and possibly the best job in the world ... writing full time.
Lately, I've been incredibly lucky in being able to do a lot of travel. Until 2008, my travel had been mostly limited to my "neighborhood" of the United States -- Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana. I still had a day job through 2009, which allowed me to do some fantastic international travel to Germany and Spain, but those were definitely for that business, not for my writing. And having a day job restricted the amount of time I could spend traveling or attending conventions, I thought I probably wouldn't get to do much more.
In 2008, my British publisher wanted me to go to England. So, greatly daring, I boarded a plane for a two-week tour. And it was the greatest time I'd ever had ... I loved England, loved the people, loved the experience and all the new and different sights and sounds. When I returned, I told my husband, and he was a bit crushed that he hadn't gone with me, but as he has a problem with flying I didn't see how he'd ever be able to make it.
Enter 2009, and the sales of the Morganville novels had risen to the point where I couldn't handle the deadlines and my day job any more -- the frequent deadlines were causing me stress, and weren't doing my day job performance any good, either. So I took a leap of faith and left the day job after 10 years, and committed myself to writing full time. Almost immediately, I found myself being invited to travel more -- to conventions across the country, at first (California, Virginia, New York City, Colorado) and then something even more amazing happened: I got invited to San Diego Comic-Con, then New York Comic-Con. And my British publisher wanted me to come back for an even longer tour -- and this time, I was determined to bring my husband. So we discovered that there were still transatlantic passenger ships, and hopped aboard for the journey ... and my husband loved the month-long trip as much as I did. The whole experience was amazing and humbling.
Around the end of 2009, the Morganville Vampires series was sold in Australia, and my publisher there wanted me to come and do a tour, so in 2010 I headed Down Under for the first time ... and again, loved every minute of it. I adored Australia, and visited so many lovely places there ... truly a fantastic experience. My only regret? I wished I could have stayed longer (and that I could have found a cruise ship, so my husband could attend with me). I made a quick stop-over in New Zealand, too, which is gorgeous; I wish I could have stayed longer to explore!Then I was invited by my Brazilian publisher, in 2010, to visit that lovely country for the Bienal do Livro, the Rio book festival ... I spent a week in Rio signing books and meeting people at the festival, and it was an amazing experience, again. I learned a little Portuguese, too! And discovered a great love of Brazilian steaks, and coffee.
In 2010 I also got to attend a wonderful literary festival in Calgary, in Canada, as well as traveling from coast to coast in the US on book tours and to attend conventions. Pretty fantastic year, in every way.
2011 Is turning out to be even more of a travel adventure ... because by the end of March, I'll be heading out on a very long road that leads across the US to New York, on a ship to England, a tour all over the UK, then a 10-day tour in France, then off to Spain, Italy, and Germany for events before sailing back home. Also doing San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic-Con, and many other signing events throughout the year.
So, where would I like to go next? Well, I'm already getting lots of requests from Romania to visit, and maybe it's time to do that in 2013. Time will tell! I've discovered a huge love of travel, and I think what is most amazing about taking these trips is that no matter where I go, we all speak the same language: we love books. We love stories. We need those things.
Even translated, it's still a universal thing, the need to dream, the need to travel in our imaginations.
I asked her about her writing progress and some special places you consider would be great settings on new books. These are her answers:I'm just extremely lucky that I can do it for real, too.
GREAT PLACES FOR SETTINGS:
Oh, so many places. I'd set a gritty drama in Rio, something with passion and fire and danger, that contrasts with the beautiful beaches and majestic mountains. It's a place of great contrasts, and I'd love to write that in. In the UK, I love the north of England and Scotland, those are really great, dramatic settings. London's always full of endless possibilities, too. Australia ... I could definitely do something there, especially in the less well-settled areas. I was fascinated by the "road trains" -- giant tractor trailers that drive through the Outback at tremendous speeds for days to move goods from one place another, through extremely harsh conditions. I would probably transfer that concept out of Australia and onto an alien planet!
MY WRITING PROCESS:I literally write anywhere, all the time. Have laptop, headphones and power converter, will travel. I've written on planes, on ships, on trains, in hotel rooms, in coffee shops, in the waiting rooms at schools before lectures, in cars ... and I have to, because with so much of my life involving travel now, I really have no choice. There's no such thing as "office hours" when you're on the road ... it's a rough and ready approach, but it works for me. (Though it means I often have to pass up that extra cool tour of the area that I'd love to take ...)