Today I’m delighted to introduce you to the fabulous Monica McCabe. Adventuring is in Monica McCabe’s blood. She’s addicted to travel, National Parks, & exploring new places and mysterious locales. She’s climbed glaciers and ancient Mayan pyramids, dived shipwrecks and reef caves, camped in Sasquatch country, and drove across the USA three times. When not traveling she’s writing romantic suspense and adventure for Lyrical Liaison, Kensington’s digital line.
Welcome, Monica! Please tell us about your stories behind the stories!
I freely admit that I’m addicted to travel. My favorite thing in all the world (besides critters and a good glass of wine) is to visit places new to me, sparkling locales that I’ve not experienced beyond pictures or Google Earth. Whatever it takes…planes, trains, cars, or boats…it doesn’t matter. Let’s just go!
That wanderlust impacts my writing too. Some authors start their story with characters. The WHO is important. They want to know everything about them – eye color, hair color, where they went to school. Not me. I start my story with the WHERE. Then I move into the WHAT. Until I get deep into location and plot, characters are just a vague impression.
Setting motivates me to begin the book. Imagery helps create my story. I have a blank wall next to my computer and as I build my story world, that wall turns into a collage of pictures that detail out every major scene location. The deeper into the book I get, the more images fill that space.
What inspires me to choose a location? I can’t say. I saw something, heard something. It doesn’t take much to capture my imagination. I’m always game to research location. I love digging in to find the details that make a setting feel real. Google Earth, Trip Advisor, travel journals, tourist sites, I’ve a whole list of places to hit when a destination catches my eye. That’s why every one of my Jewel Intrigue books takes place in locales far away from me.
DIAMOND LEGACY is set in Botswana, Africa. It’s the perfect place for a story about diamond smuggling because mining for the gemstone dominates the country’s economy and work force. Unfortunately, it also inspires a ruthless criminal underground. But you can’t imagine Africa without being dazed over their spectacular animal kingdom. So intro Roz, a kleptomaniac monkey who threatens to steal the show.
EMERALD FIRE opens in St. Lucia, West Indies. What better place to hide modern day pirates? Full of secret coves, luxury yachts, & breathtaking scenery, it’s every bit the perfect Caribbean island. It’s also a hotbed of high-seas and high-stakes action that is hard to combat. We visited a few years ago, after I wrote the book. Despite the danger, I absolutely want to go again.
PHANTOM PEARL is a book divided. First half takes place in the rainforests of Far North, Queensland, Australia. Remote and beautiful, it’s an exceptional location for an epic WWII mystery. A treasure hunt is on and the truth hides in the wilderness.
Then it’s on to Singapore for a grand finale on Jurong Island, a massive industrial seaport. It’s a maze of piers, cranes, ship traffic and desalination plants. Perfect for a showdown of epic proportions. I’ve yet to visit Singapore, but it’s on my list. Did you know their airport is consistently voted best in the world? It’s a destination all its own.
The best part … all that delicious research seems to be justified. Because book reviews have a consistent theme – vivid imagery, sensory description, a few even declare the setting takes on a life of its own. I had one swear I’d been to Africa. I wish!
That said, research for PHANTOM PEARL hit a whole new level. Hubby and I visited Australia. It was two weeks of pure awesomeness. This article could easily cover how endlessly amazing the country is, but I’ll restrain myself. Let’s just say – if you’ve ever thought about going – DON’T WAIT. DO IT. It is absolutely worth the 17 hour flight to get there.
Meanwhile, I’m hard at work on the next book in the Jewel Intrigue Series. The story opens in the Florida Everglades, but will move to the other side of the planet pretty quick. I’m currently scanning the globe for that second location.
Tell me the #1 spot on your bucket list and you’ll be entered to win a free digital copy of your choice – DIAMOND LEGACY (Africa) or EMERALD FIRE (St. Lucia) or PHANTOM PEARL (Australia). Choose your destination!
To learn more about the series, or to sign-up for her newsletter (it might include travel photos!) visit Monica at her website: www.monicamccabe.net