If you ask a writer where they get their ideas, more than likely the answer will be everywhere. So true! Watching the way people gesture in an airport, catching interesting snippets of conversation at the grocery store, or being moved by a spectacular live musical performance. All fodder for the mill, where novelists are concerned.
And the really great thing about being a writer is that we get to travel and call it research. I’ve had some lovely experiences traveling, my most recent being on a Valentine’s Day Caribbean cruise. I know, I know. Rough life, right? But we’d been planning the cruise for nearly two years, and as it turned out, we desperately needed a vacation right about that time.
One thing I love about cruises, besides the great food and the chance to dress to the nines, is the opportunity to have new experiences during excursions. Ours included stops in Cozumel, Mexico, the Grand Caymans, and Jamaica.
My husband Joe had a double stroke last September and now walks with a cane, so we had to choose from a more limited selection, but we ended up having a wonderful time swimming with the dolphins and driving a dune/mud buggy. Er—I guess I shouldn’t actually say driving. Joe drove the first half and then everyone stopped to switch places. I made it in the driver’s seat for about two minutes before I was certain I was going to overturn our dune buggy in the slippery, sliding mud and enormous puddles. I had to yell out for everyone to stop so I could switch back. So, while I greatly enjoyed being the passenger under Joe’s expert driving, I discovered that driving mud buggies is not in my particular skill set.
But hey, now I know, right? And don’t be surprised if both of these adventures end up in a book somewhere.
Our favorite part of the cruise and the reason we booked in the first place was seeing our personal friends and favorite singing group, The Texas Tenors. There were multiple concerts and the opportunity to spend time with three of the nicest men you’ll ever meet. Creative well filled to the brim!
Which leads me to another favorite part of our cruise—our quiet, beautiful balcony. Joe had to rest more than he used to, which gave me the opportunity to take my notebook out on the balcony with a cold drink and enjoy doing one of the things I love most in life—write romance. (The odd expression on my face is due to another item definitely not in my skill set–taking selfies!)
This Christmas when the snow is falling and you’re by the fire reading Texas Christmas Twins, picture me writing the story while soaking in the rays in a tropical port. Cheers!
Deb Kastner’s next release is a Harlequin 2-for-1 Classics of a couple of her backlist books, Meeting Mr. Right and The Nanny’s Twin Blessings. If you haven’t yet read them, be sure to look for them in a store near you starting March 20th.
Thanks for sharing about your trip. Sounds like you had a lot of fun.
When I think about observing people I wonder if you’ve ever wrote a scene too close to reality? If so, do you ask permission of those involved or st least warn them?
Oddly, that never happens. It’s like putting a bunch of fruits and veggies in a blender and making a smoothie. I don’t ever base characters on live people and other than perhaps a funny joke or specific characteristic (I knew a woman who wore the wrong jersey to a sporting event, which ended up in one of my books) everything in my brain is blended before serving.
Jill Weatherholt says
Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Deb. Definitely a trip well deserved for you and Joe.
Hi Deb! Even though I am not fond of cruises because I get seasick, I do enjoy hearing about other people’s adventures at sea. Glad your husband is doing better and could enjoy this time away. I also have a difficult time taking selfies. I always feel my arms aren’t long enough. Often made more difficult because I am holding a sleeping granddaugher (ages 7 week & 3 years old). We just need to keep practicing. Best wishes.
My three adult girls can actually make themselves look skinnier, with bigger eyes and lips, with selfies. And Marcus Collins, one of The Texas Tenors (the blond), walks around while he’s singing and grabs people’s phones to take selfies with. Especially funny to me because I CAN’T do it.
Julianne Archer says
Sounds like a fun trip, but like Renate, I get seasick, but someday I’ll take another cruise :) So glad that you were able to go with your husband! I look forward to reading your next release – thanks for sharing.
Margaret Nelson says
I wonder if they have cruises where you don’t eat all the time or have to dress up :-)
Merrillee Whren says
Margaret, they do. Many cruises are much more casual than they used to be. They might only have one what they call formal night, and if you don’t want to go formal, you can always eat at one of the casual dining places on the ship.
As Merrillee said, these days you always have choices. You never have to dress a certain way unless you want to, and whether or not you attend the formal dining room (which these days is mostly casual nights, anyway) is entirely up to you. There’s always an open buffet and (FREE!) room service.
Valerie Comer says
Thanks for that insight into your process, Deb! And I’m SO GLAD to hear Joe is doing so much better.
Your cruise sounded like fun! I’ve never been on one, but like to hear others experiences.
JoAnn Durgin says
So thankful and praising the Lord for Joe’s amazing recovery! I smiled all the way through your photos on Facebook. Jim and I just returned from a cruise to the southern Caribbean, and you’re soooo right about needing a vacation. We needed it, too, but I dare say you two needed your trip even more. You’re certainly a lot braver than moi in attempting to drive a dune buggy. I “tried” with a snowmobile once; those beasts are heavy! And to have your favorite singing trio onboard the ship? Cruise of a lifetime. Congrats on all your books and keep writing, my friend! Blessings.
Jackie Smith says
Deb, so glad you and Joe were able to enjoy the cruise……well deserved. I will be on the watch for your books; just read (and reviewed on A.) The Doctor’s Texas Baby…..loved it. Blessings on you and your writing.
I saw that review. THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking the time to share! Reviews really help authors.
Arletta Bartel Boulton says
We went on a cruise for our tenth anniversary and would probably only go on one again if it was a Christian artist themed cruise. We didn’t enjoy most of the activities on the cruise and felt like there was too much time siting around. I guess we are “doers” and like to be kept busy sightseeing.
I think that’s what made our cruise so special. We enjoyed our favorite singing group, who are Christians and are, in fact, going to be releasing a gospel album. Even with Joe’s cane, we’re the active type, as well.
Julie Arduini says
I love cruising. If it were up to me, it would be the only vacation I would take. When I host book clubs, I share the writing process and explain everything is fodder to me. Most people go to the mall or an airport. I’m looking around asking, “What if…” LOL
Merrillee Whren says
Your cruise sounds wonderful. My husband and I love to go on cruises.
We were talking about taking one just so I can write. It’s a nice thought!
Winnie Thomas says
Thanks for sharing your cruise with us. It looks and sounds like you had a great time. I haven’t been on a cruise yet, but my husband really wants to go on one, so I imagine we will sometime. I’m not fond of the water. I’d rather spend my time on land sightseeing.
Cruises are a nice mix of water and land. I live in Colorado so we aren’t anywhere near the ocean. And cruise ships are so big most of the time you don’t even realize you’re on the water, unless you go outside.
Kimberly Rose Johnson says
It sounds like you had a great trip. I’m thinking that mud drive wouldn’t be my thing either. :)
Thanks for sharing about your cruise, how lovely for you and Joe to have that time together,made more special because he is doing so well. My mum loves cruises, she flew to Canada a couple years ago and toured around the western part of the country, then left from Vancouver for a cruise through the north passage with stops to explore parts of Alaska. She loved it and is planning her next one…somewhere:)
I’d love to cruise to Alaska! It’s somewhere in the middle of my bucket list.
Karen Hadley says
Sounds like a great trip. I’ve never been on a cruise but people I know enjoy them. Have a great week!
Jessica B. (USA) says
It sounds like you had a great time. Glad you were also able to squeeze in some writing time.
Ah yes, the rough life of a writer ;-) How fun that you & your husband had such a good, relaxing and fun time together. Swimming with the dolphins would be awesome! I can totally see that in a book someday along with all of the other adventures you had.
I love to hear about author’s inspirations. Sounds like fun research.
Sally Shupe says
Love the picture of the dolphin! I would love to take a cruise but would want to go with people I knew. I’ve never been and would have no clue. Just lounging around writing sounds like so much fun. But I’d like to get out and do some stuff too.
That was what was great about this fan cruise. Because we’ve been fans of The Texas Tenors for awhile now, we’re good friends with not only them, but many of the fans. So it was great having the opportunity to catch up again.
Sylvia L Bridwell says
Hey, Deb, it was great seeing you and Joe again on the cruise. We did not get to do a lot but it was great fun catching up with some of the other TTT fans. We hope to see you again on the next cruise. Keep up the great writing!
**Waving!** Wish we could have participated in more of the fan events, but hopefully Joe will keep recovering, slow progress that it has become. Great seeing you there!
Amanda Geaney says
Everyone I know who has been on a cruise has had a great time.
After watching a History channel special on the USS Indianapolis in High School, I cannot bring myself to take one. Deep water, no land in sight, and sharks are my three main reasons. However, I told my husband I would take a Viking River Cruise (as seen on PBS before Downton Abbey :) ). Having the shore within a swim-able distance sounds like a good first step to getting my sea legs.