We’re so excited that Blair McDowell, the author of Romantic Road, stopped by to chat with us today.
The spark came from a visit to Rothenberg on the Romantische Strasse in Germany. The setting simply cried out for a story. My favorite scene is the one where Lacy throws a pitcher of beer at her pursuers.
I did some interesting research for this book. A friend sings with the Vienna Opera, the setting of one scene in the book. She gave me a tour backstage, a setting that was integral to my story. I visited a vineyard and cave on Lake Balaton. I stayed in a medieval hotel in Rothenberg. In fact all the hotels and restaurants named in Romantic Road are real places, places I’ve been. I believe in first-hand research where ever possible.
A writer must know his or her setting intimately to make it believable. I’ve traveled or lived in the places in which Romantic Road was set. I’ve talked to people who live in these places. Zsuzsa’s sentiments in the chapter set in Budapest are ones I’ve heard from Hungarian friends.
My experiences in these places took place over a number of years. I was familiar with Hungary when it was under Russian occupation, and I am familiar with it as it is now.
I know the places in which I set my stories. Still, two years ago, I traveled the route on which I sent Lacy as I was writing the book, so the settings would be fresh in my mind.
It wasn’t really different. I always try to immerse myself in the setting as I’m writing any book. I spent time on Corfu and in Venice when I was writing The Memory of Roses; I set Delighting In Your Company on the Caribbean Island where I’ve had a home for forty years. Sonata is set in Vancouver, the city closest to where I live in Canada. The only difference with Romantic Road was in the timeline. I found I had to construct a careful history for my characters in this one, complete with dates and I had to refer to the timeline frequently as I wrote.
“How do you do? I’m Lacy Jones, from Ames, Iowa.” Lacy’s a simple country girl with a flair for languages that send her to New York to work as a simultaneous translator at the U.N.
Max has a weird and wonderful sense of humor and no sense at all about women’s clothing. He’s resourceful (he has to be to keep Lacy alive) and he’s charming when he wants to be. Max was fun to write and I think he’ll be fun to read.
Nope. I assume they’re living happily ever after.
What an interesting question. It would have to be Ian McQuaid from The Memory of Roses. Just because he’s my all-time favorite character. I think he could give advice to Max some good advice on his love life.
Workaholic. Compulsive. Driven. That’s terrible, but they’re the first three words that occurred to me. I wonder how anyone lives with me.
First of all, finish the book. Then start sending it out. Ignore rejections—they happen to all of us—keep sending it out. And while you’re waiting for someone to accept it, start writing the next one.
The hero in Outlander. Wow! Kilts and all!
Where Lemons Bloom has just been contracted to Wild Rose Press. It’s set on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, one of the most gorgeous spots in the world. In it, a brief encounter with a mysterious Italian pulls a naive art historian into a world of dangerous secrets.
No. I think you’ve pretty well covered it.
Thanks for inviting me.
***About Blair McDowell***
Blair McDowell wrote her first short story when she was eleven and has never ceased writing since, although only recently has she been able to return to her first love, writing fiction. During her early years, she taught in universities in the United States, Canada and Australia, and wrote several highly successful books in her field.
Her research has taken her to many interesting places. She has lived in Europe, Australia, the United States and the Caribbean and Canada, and spent considerable time in still other places, Iceland, the Far East, and the Torres Strait Islands off the coast of New Guinea. Now she travels for pleasure. Portugal, Greece and Italy are favorite haunts.
Her books are set in places she knows and loves and are peopled with characters drawn from her experiences of those places. The Memory of Roses takes readers to the Greek Island of Corfu, where a young woman finds her future while searching for her father’s past. In Delighting in Your Company, the reader is transported to a small island in the Caribbean, with a heroine who finds herself in the unenviable position of falling in love with a ghost. The setting for Sonata is the city of Vancouver, with its vibrant multicultural population and its rich musical life, and the heroine is a musician who finds herself in unexpected danger.
In her most recent release, Romantic Road, Lacy Telchev, is pursued along Germany’s famous Romantische Strausse as she follows clues left by her late husband in order to solve a mystery that she doesn’t understand, while being chased by dangerous and cunning adversaries.
She hopes her readers will enjoy reading these books as much as she enjoyed writing them.
Blair is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America (Greater Vancouver Chapter), the Romance Writers of America (Women’s Fiction), and The Writers’ Union of Canada.
***About Romantic Road***
Published by The Wild Rose Press on January 18, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Goodreads Buy the Book
This novel is a mix of hair raising suspense, romance and a sprinkling of humor.
When Lacy Telchev buries her husband she finds herself in treacherous waters. Igor, much older than Lacy, had secrets. Suddenly Lacy is being chased across Europe by men who believe she can lead them to those secrets. Evading her pursuers with the aid of a chance acquaintance, the handsome and mysterious Max Petersen, Lacy travels across Germany, Austria and Hungary, to a shattering discovery in Budapest.
Along the way, she meets three women from Igor's past. As Igor's story unfolds through them, Lacy is less and less certain who her husband really was. Who can Lacy trust? Will she survive to find out?
A shadow came between her and the sun. She opened her eyes and sat up abruptly. The man, the dark skinned man she had last seen on the road from the Berkshires, sat down across from her. His partner stood behind him, his pale grey eyes boring into her.
The seated man spoke. “Mrs. Telchev, you’ve given us a great deal of trouble.”
Lacy looked around frantically. Where was Max?
“We mean you no harm. But we must have that manuscript. Your husband told you where he hid it. It only makes sense. Tell us where it is, and we won’t bother you again.”
At that moment, the waitress placed the pitcher of beer Max had ordered on the table in front of Lacy. Lacy glanced down at the beer, then up at the seated man. In one sweeping gesture, she threw the contents of the pitcher into his face and overturned the table. The second man moved to grab her, but she was out of her chair and running before he could get to her.
Good luck and be sure to check out the other stops on the Romantic Road Blog Tour!