Often, the best escape can be found in a good book. These five novels are guaranteed to take you on a summer escape to new and exciting places. Find out what has inspired each of these unique settings. Then pick up a copy so you can experience the excitement for yourself!
Northern Deception is set in the real-life town of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. The town sits on the shores of Hudson Bay and the border of the Canadian arctic. It’s also built on the migratory path of polar bears, which come in from the sea ice as it breaks up in late June, and come through town to venture into the inner landscape of northern Manitoba to summer until the ices freezes again in late November. Humans and polar bears have learned to live with each other over hundreds of years in this place, and not always with positive results.
The actual town boasts 900 residents, and a huge Town Centre which houses the schools, day care, library, movie theatre, hospital, town hall, rec centre, and bowling alley, so that people only have to go to one main place. There are two churches and a Legion as well. The main drag is full of hotels and gift shops for tourist season, which is really the high winter time—or polar bear season—when tourists come from as far away as China to take the Tundra Buggy tours out on the tundra and see these magnificent creatures.
I decided to place my romantic suspense series in Churchill, Manitoba because it’s relatively unknown, unless you’re a scientist and study polar bears or Beluga whales, or you’re a die-hard adventure tourist. In Northern Deception, my heroine is a polar bear scientist and the hero is the owner of an adventure expedition tour company. She discovers that her brother’s car crash wasn’t an accident and he was actually a whistleblower for the company he worked for up in Churchill. That’s the suspense part of the story; the romance part of the story is the special reunion this couple has after being separated for years. I hope readers enjoy learning about this piece of Canada as well as a full-on suspenseful love story with plenty of action!
When I’m writing a novel, the setting is incredibly important to me, almost like a character in and of itself. Some stories have even been sparked by visiting a specific place—such is the case with The Glass Bottom Boat, set on the stunning island of Jamaica, where we had the pleasure of vacationing as a family.
The romantic suspense storyline stems from my somewhat irrational fear of drowning coupled with the glass bottom boat we were supposed to experience—but didn’t! And having the opportunity to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch Caribbean island life in person was absolute gold for my writerly self. Making copious detailed notes and capturing memories in photographs help me to recall essential elements of a setting, and it’s my hope that the reader will be swept away and experience a delicious taste of Jamaica as they enjoy The Glass Bottom Boat.
The first third of my book, With My Soul, takes place in Germany in the years 1945-1946. The main character Willa Jane Wilson is a war bride who has travelled from her small town in rural North Carolina to join her husband in the Allied mission to rebuild Germany. During her time abroad, Willa Jane encounters people who have experienced the devastation of war firsthand. Those encounters and a series of startling revelations about the husband she barely knows start a chain reaction of events that shake Willa Jane to her core.
This book, while fictional, is inspired by my grandmother who travelled with my infant mother to join her husband in Germany where he was stationed as part of the Marshall Plan for European recovery. Like Willa Jane, she returned to the States a single mother on a mission to change the world for the better. Recently, my mother uncovered a box of photos, mementos and newspaper clippings from their time abroad. Poring through these effects felt like travelling not only to another country, but through time to another era when the world found itself in a place of simultaneously great division and great healing. It is my firm belief that when we travel and interact with others whose experiences differ from ours, that we come away with not only a greater sense of empathy, but a greater ability to see clearly the gifts that have been right in front of us all along.
I came up with the idea for Saving Mount Rushmore while in the airport, just before our plane departed for the famous landmark. I wrote feverishly the entire flight, and the first chapters were born. I took many notes, photographs, and videos during our stay so that I could accurately describe the location and events that take place there. I interviewed our tour guide about the Hall of Records, which plays a role in the finale of the story.
Andrea Jo Rodgers
In 2016, my husband and I—along with our nine-month-old daughter and two dogs—jumped in the car and headed a few hours west of our home to Yosemite National Park. It was rainy and cold and spectacular. An autumn wonderland high in the Sierra Nevadas with mountains that rose from wildflower fields. Waterfalls spilled down into gurgling creeks that flowed beneath creaky wooden bridges. Redwood trees towered into a misty sky, standing watch above the copper-colored leaves of the maples and the oaks.
Four years later, Yosemite became the inspiration for Fortune’s Fall—my debut novel in what would become The Exiled Trilogy, and the name of the hidden city my protagonist—Nyssa Ardelone—has to find before the American president finds her. She doesn’t reach Fortune’s Fall until the end, but her journey across a dystopian America (set in 2090) creates a startling contrast to the natural beauty that still thrives within Fortune’s Fall.
Creating this hidden city wasn’t hard after my family’s adventure in Yosemite. When I visited, a million different things spoke to me. The smell of pine needles in the rain and the brilliant green of the grasses that moved in rhythm to the wind. But the main source of inspiration was Bridalveil Fall, which cascades over a sheer mountain wall into an evergreen forest. What if something was hidden behind that wall? What if an entire group of people found their way there in the midst of tragedy and chaos and created a safe haven to wait for a future that might bring peace?
And Fortune’s Fall was born.