I'm an anomaly. I freely admit it. Unlike everyone else I know, I rarely travel. Exotic places around the globe have never been graced with my esteemed presence. Other than an occasional writer's conference, you will rarely see my eyeballs outside of the town where I live.
But writers write about places other than where they live, right? If I only wrote about the town where I live, trust me, most of you would be bored out of your minds. There's not a whole lot shaking around here.
I'm a voracious armchair traveler, though. Through the magic of books, I've visited many places around the world. I've been to some of the most exotic locales on earth without leaving the comforts of home.
I've walked on the beaches in Hawaii, my toes curling in the black sands while the crystal blue waters lap gently, each wave curls against the shore. The trade winds blow a soothing breeze, and the scent of hibiscus and plumeria fill the air.
I've strolled along the Champs-Elysees in Paris, smelled the freshly baked bread and pastries. Jumped back as reckless drivers sped through the streets and dined at sidewalk cafes across from my love on a romantic getaway for two, while sipping champagne and sharing intimate moments.
I've visited the pyramids in Egypt. Slalomed down the Alps. Gone deep sea fishing off the Florida Keys.
Good writers transport me (and hopefully you, too) to places we might otherwise never see through the magic of their words. They bring alive the sounds, scents and tastes of every element, so much so that if you were to close your eyes for just a moment, you'd find yourself transported deep within the pages of the story—feel as though you are right there with the hero and heroine—experiencing every nuance of their surroundings.
This is what I try to bring to life when I'm writing. My romantic suspense books are set in and around New Orleans, Louisiana. The French Quarter. The Big Easy. Just hearing the name of the place evokes preconceived notions of what it's like. I want you to hear the Cajun and Creole dialect in the words. Feel the energy of the crowds on Bourbon Street at night. Experience the joy and excitement of Mardi Gras. Smell the spicy jambalaya so hot and fresh it makes your mouth water for the first bite.
So, the next time wanderlust strikes and you can't physically get away on some tropical escape—step within the pages of a book and fly away.
Kathy Ivan is busy writing her next New Orleans based romantic suspense, and wishing she was there. Her current release, Connor's Gamble, is on sale now at most e-book retailers.