Feeding the Writer's Muse--With Travel!

by Kayla Perrin

I don't know about you, but if I hear the word "travel", I'm ready to pack my bags. I love getting to explore different cities and cultures, and the great thing about being a writer is that what I do allows me to travel a lot for conferences, booksignings, research,etc.

But what I especially love about travel is the way it allows me to fuel my Muse. In a writing slump? Get in a car, on a plane, or on a boat and head somewhere else!

I did some of my best writing on my novel, SPRING BREAK, a suspense from St. Martin's Press when I was in Cancun with my young daughter for her spring break. At home, with the phone ringing and emails piling up, I couldn't relax the way my Muse wanted me to in order to meet my rapidly approaching deadline. But sitting on a lounge chair at the beach, looking out at the turquoise blue water of the Caribbean Sea...well, I can tell you that ultra relaxing setting only helped provide energy for my creativity.

Aside from your Muse being happy, traveling to different locales and experiencing different cultures is all fodder for a writer. I went to Paris, and knew I would have to set a story in that vibrant, romantic, and exciting city. (That's my dad pictured at The Louvre in 2007). Sure, I could research Paris from the Internet in my home, but in order to write about a place with the utmost credibility, you need to go there. You need to live it, to breathe it. The story I set in Paris is an erotic tale called ONE NIGHT IN PARIS, and it was just released on August 25th, 2011 in an anthology called OBSESSED, released by Cleis Press.

I have a number of books I've set in countries that I've visited. GETTING LUCKY, which is the sequel to GETTING EVEN and GETTING SOME which goes on sale September 1st from Spice Books, is set largely in Cancun, Mexico. I traveled to the resort where the main characters visit and therefore was able to write about everything exactly as it really is. This location is a key part of the story, and when you miss any details or mess them up, readers will let you know. And again, the perk is that being in such a serene setting only helps you get lots of writing done.

ISLAND FANTASY, my romance novel released in February 2010, was set at the beautiful Gran Bahia Principe resort in Jamaica, and one of the story's most romantic scenes took place at the stunning Dunn's River Falls on the island, which is pictured on the left (with a tiny glimpse of my mother and daughter at the bottom left of the photo as they climbed the falls). St. Lucia has ended up as a main location in one of my novels (Love, Lies, & Videotape). I've traveled to Rome, London, Venice...and I plan to use these fabulous locations as settings for future stories. Of course, aside from the exotic locales are the cities in North America: Miami, Chicago, New York, Buffalo, Los Angeles...all places I've visited and set stories. I'm currently working on a series of books set in Cleveland, and while I was there years ago, I think I'll have to take the drive there very soon in order to visit neighborhoods, malls, landmarks, etc, in order to really capture the city in my writing.

And isn't it exciting to watch Hollywood movies and say, "I've been there!" You almost feel even more a part of the story when you can recognize places you've visited. When I watched Jason Bourne walk the same streets in Paris that I had, and Angelina Jolie's character in the movie THE TOURIST explore Venice the way I did four years ago, I got a thrill. I got a thrill seeing Westminster Abbey where Prince William wed his bride, knowing that I had been in the church just a few years earlier. It's that same thrill you can give readers who live in or have visited the places you've visited...if you get the details right. That quaint cafe the mainstream world doesn't know about, that treasure of a beach most people don't explore...share these unique details of the places you've visited with your readers.

The way I see it, the more traveling you can do is not only great for your Muse, it's great for your stories. Because being able to write about other places with authenticity will only add richness to your writing.

So, pack your bags...and bon voyage!



  1. I completely agree with travel as the perfect way to fuel your creativity. I went to Italy last year and I was able to fill and entire chapbook with poems that were inspired by Venice, Padua and Capri.
    Venice especially is a surreal city that, if you pay attention, can sweep you up in its most smallest details and hidden gems. Go into those small churches, eat the black ink spaghetti or risotto and immerse yourself in the emotions of history, culture and lust. A great place to inspire the senses which you really do need to pay attention to as a writer.

    The Wanderfull Traveler

  2. I love that you take your daughter with you on your trips - she is getting wonderful experiences travelling with her mama. ;)


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