|The image of McConnell's Mill that has inspired a new story|
Sure, I love to travel just for travel's sake. I've tasted the morning breeze as we rose above the Serengeti in a hot air balloon -- just for adventure. (http://www.balloonsafaris.com/ ) I've cruised the inside passage of Alaska and toured the glaciers in a helicopter simply because the mood hit me. I've been to Japan and Korea and Mexico -- all for the fun of traveling. However, as an author, I often travel for research. And believe me, tracking down a story can be one of the more exciting reasons for leaving home.
As a writer, I choose my destinations based on a variety of needs. Sometimes, I'm looking for an interesting location for a novel or short story. For example, I once measured the corner of Baltimore and Steinwehr in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to see if a bus loaded with explosives could make that sharp of a turn. And I took pictures of Fort Jefferson, the most remote American National Park, (https://www.nps.gov/drto/index.htm), so I would remember how it looked when I described it in one of my books. Sometimes, just driving by an old farmhouse can stimulate my thinking and I will carry the image with me for years before it comes out as a full blown story. I am pondering such a tale set at McConnell's Mill not too far from my apartment -- from a picture I took on a lovely spring day.
Sometimes, I find stories in my travels. The first chapter of my novel, In the Shadow of Suribachi, began in the Key West, Florida, library where I thumbed through old books filled with newspapers with articles about the keys in the 1930s. And sometimes, I travel because I already have a story in mind, and I want to know more about it.
A couple of years ago, I was working on my family tree and discovered that my grandfather's grandfather -- Allen Brown -- had been murdered in the Pope County Militia War during Reconstruction in Arkansas. Well, I had no idea I had a great great named Allen Brown who had lived in Dover, Arkansas. All I had of him was a picture of his grave and some bits and pieces about the Pope Country Militia War on the Internet.
|Grave of ancestor that gave rise to the search for his story.|
|One of the old newspaper articles we found at the Russellville, AR library|