Travel to write.

Published Feb 24, 2024. L Brown, author.

People frequently ask me, ďWhere do you get your ideas?Ē The seed of a story, for me, almost always begins with a character, a pictured scene or an interesting idea that I get while traveling and investigating ancient ruins, or while haunting a museum.

Fresh out of college with degrees in creative writing and history, I traveled to Istanbul where I lived for three months, investigating the walls that kept both Islamic and Christian armies at bay for a thousand years. Afterward, I volunteered to work on archaeological digs in central Turkey, exploring the vestiges of the Hittite and other civilizations several thousand years before Christ. I was hooked. I knew that my future would involve historical fiction. My novel to come out of this experience was The Colors of Fire.

In order to convey to the reader a true and vivid sense of place. I can spend hours in a library reading about an exotic locale, or spend even more hours in a museum examining artifacts from that location, but until Iíve been there, until I have walked the ancient paths and gotten the dirt from ancient times in my sandals, in my nose, in my mouth, I have only been there in my imagination. Travel spurs both intellect and imagination. It plants the seeds of detail that will eventually grow into a vivid and realistic narrative. Itís a matter of writing from the heart as well as the mind.

I love using travel for character development. It gives me insight into the people of that land, and by extension the ancestors of those people. Travel allows me to capture the mood and feel, the sounds and smells and emotions of a setting. I have often discovered details in an archaeological dig or an ancient ruin that showed up in my story to lend an element of realism that otherwise might have been missed.

Years later I toured ancient Roman ruins and walked the Appian Way out of Rome. With more than 2300 years of history, the ancient road shows intact signs of a mysterious and fascinating past, still clearly visible among the chariot ruts in the ancient stones. For me, combining my love of exploration through ancient civilizations with my adventures in writing is an exciting journey in itself, and Iím happy with the end result, Of Princes and Kings

What is really interesting about it is that character development in a realistic and memorable fashion seems to bring people together and promote understanding and compassion for other cultures. It can create in readers the desire to experience the culture and history of other civilizations and other times, experiences they may not have been familiar with. Some readers wonít get it. They may only come away with the feeling of having read a terrific novel. That OK. Iíll take it.

Colors of Fire

Of Princes and Kings