I love to travel, and it’s always fun to use our travels to research upcoming books, because there are unique aspects to every locale—the culture, the restaurants, the slang. I am always learning!
Though I’d always thought of New Orleans as being a unique world, I had never thought about the rest of the Gulf shores…until our daughter and her husband moved there. We’ve just come home from visiting, and I realized her area would be a perfect setting for a contemporary inspirational novel someday!
It’s beautiful….with miles upon miles of beautiful white sand beaches well east of New Orleans, with lovely mansions facing the Gulf (and still, many vacant lots with sweeping cement driveways leading to nothing, because the eye of Hurricane Katrina swept away every last sign of habitation.)
The cuisine is amazing at the restaurants, often including items we just never see on a menu in Iowa–all-you-can-eat crawfish, for one! Or say, a menu item with a name like this one! :)
And along the coast, one can purchase out-of-this world fresh caught fish and shrimp right off the dock. Be still my heart! One day we bought fresh speckled trout for the grill, and for two other days, we bought huge fresh shrimp for just five dollars a pound.
Until this trip, I didn’t know that the really fresh shrimp have a bluish, iridescent hue…much less know how to clean them. Which I did, with coaching and some trepidation. The second shrimp photo is after the shrimp were cleaned, marinated and grilled. Yum!
All wonderful details that could ring true in a book set there.
But there were other interesting things there that I’d never imagined as a Northerner—again, useful for verisimilitude (realistic details.)
For instance, the night the Formosa termites were swarming near our daughter’s house. I’d never heard of these tiny critters. We hurried home, made sure all the windows were shut tight, turned off all the lights and turned the AC much colder. Apparently these teensy bugs are drawn to light and can get through the tiniest openings (including window screen mesh.) They can come into a house in large numbers, and though they soon die, they leave quite a mess. And then there are the palmetto bugs, and lizards….What a fascinating place.
My next Love Inspired, A Single Dad’s Redemption, is the third of four books in my Aspen Creek Crossroads series, and will be out in July. This series is set in scenic western Wisconsin where we have relatives, so the research for that one was easy.
I would love to hear some interesting and unique things about where you live!