Tuesday, March 26, 2013

There was a time when I wanted, more than anything, to yank my three kids out of school and move to Europe for a year, stopping for two weeks at a time to settle in, absorb the unique nuances of the town or city, and then move on to the next. We’d been bitten by the travel bug a couple of years earlier, when we went to Italy for the first time with friends, and then returned with our kids, and then returned again just the two of us for a romantic escape. (Errr, I mean…RESEARCH.) We treasured the opportunity to rent a villa or apartment, market every day, and walk everywhere, soaking up the sights, smells, sounds of each spot, getting to know her history, her people, her texture. We got so excited about this means of travel, we created a family travel web site, TheWorldisCalling.com, dreaming of advertising sponsors who might finance said-dream-trip.

As I began to research for my Grand Tour Series a couple years ago, I took my girls to England and France, and the idea of our year away grew bigger in our minds. Unfortunately, the more we prayed about it, and the more we stared at our bank account, the farther away it seemed. Then the Lord brought in a new ministry aspect to our life that we got really jazzed about, and we were absolutely positive that He wasn’t sending us to Europe. He wanted us to stay right here at home.

So, last fall, I put that dream to bed (and our travel blog on hiatus) at the same time I was completing the first book in the Grand Tour Series. My story was about a Montana girl, swept up into a vastly different life, and eventually traveling throughout Europe. I found it ironic and yet sweet, that I’d had the chance to taste some of what my heroine would experience, and see some of where she was going, but not the whole-nine-yards kind of trip that she takes.

And yet, that’s the beauty of fiction, isn’t it? Through my research and outlining and writing, I have “visited.” As a reader, I love that in the pages of a book I might learn about a unique locale, and finish it feeling like I’d almost been there. Books like Liz Higgs’s lovely Scottish vistas, rich Southern fiction, the isles off Britain in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, or Texas in The Help are some examples that come to mind. I adore that added bonus as a reader, and hope to provide something of the sort in my books for my readers too. Just as we experience the highs and lows, challenges and victories, tragedies and triumphs of the main character, we also get to “tour” with him or her too.

For now, that’s just enough for me. Although I wouldn’t mind a return trip to the Southern coast of Italy, or Tahiti, or Croatia, or…Well, let’s face it. I’d like to go everywhere. But I can wait. I have a stack of good books that will give me a sweet little glimpse of far-away, fabulous places.

COME BACK FRIDAY for a chance to win a copy of Grave Consequences!

Lisa T. Bergren is the author of over forty books in many genres, from children’s picture books to adult nonfiction. Her most recent release is Grave Consequences, the second in her Grand Tour Series, following Glamorous Illusions. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and three children. You can find out more about her at LisaBergren.com, Facebook.com/LisaTawnBergren, and @LisaTBergren.


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