It’s essential for a writer to explore the places where characters meet and interact. I traveled to Turkey long before I ever decided to write Over My Dead Body. Once I started writing the novel, I realized the stellar architectural buildings of St. Marks Square in Venice and The Hagia Sophia in Turkey could provide a compelling depth to a relationship in the novel for a couple of my characters who shared a mutual love for architecture. I paid great attention to the buildings when I visited each of those places.
I traveled to Turkey in the early 90s and was able to visit Antalya, Ephesus Izmir, and Istanbul. While in Istanbul, I walked the Tuesday bazaar, which is the closest you will get to an outdoor Super Wal-Mart. I toured the Hagia Sophia, a former Greek Orthodox Church turned into a Mosque but is now a museum. It was an impactful visit and an impressive architectural structure, one I will never forget. I loved it so much; I used it for a significant meeting place in my novel where two characters could meet if they ever got separated from each other during WWII.
I also had the honor of visiting Ephesus, founded in the 10th Century BC (BCE). The friend I was with secured a private tour at 7 AM by the caretaker and we were able to explore the ruins in virtual privacy. As one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, your imagination can run away with you with all the fantastic adventure possibilities. I suspect Ephesus could resurface in my next novel since it holds so much early church history, and my main characters grandfather, Caleb, was last seen headed to Turkey.
One of the most exciting parts of my trip was taking a cruise across the Bosporus, an essential line of water that separates Europe from Asia. Many who work and live in Istanbul take this cruise to and from work daily as many residents live in Asia and work in Europe. Imagine your daily commute is crossing continents. On the journey, you hear Buskers playing music and can grab a Turkish coffee or Salep on a cold day. Salep is a thick hot cinnamon flavored drink made with orchid tubers. I have only been able to find Salep in Turkey. If you ever see it on a menu, you must try it.
If you were going to write a novel, where on this beautiful earth would you choose as a location? Leave your answers in the comment section below.