Blogger: Michelle Ule
Location: Home, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Whenever I travel, I make a point of stopping at the airport bookstores and examining their displays. Since airplanes seem to be one of the few places left where you can sit in tranquility (or in cramped misery) and quietly read, the books offered suggest what likely buyers would want to purchase. It makes for a good marketing expedition.
The Bucharest airport is an unlikely spot for much shopping–they don’t take their own Lei currency there, only Euros–but I did push through the paperback rack, curious about what would attract the literate Romanian. While I couldn’t read the titles, I could check out the authors, and the names didn’t surprise: John Steinbeck, Jodi Piccoult, Ken Follett and Rosamund Pilcher. It appears escape literature is just as popular behind the former Iron Curtain as here. Chick lit paperbacks also abounded.
I didn’t buy anything.
But the Venice airport bookstore, the one on the second floor, held a vast array of interesting books in both English and Italian. (I purchased a Richard Scarry Italian-language version of The Word Book for my adorable grandson). One whole section suggested English-readers frequent the place.
But what really caught my eye was a ten-foot-long display of books written about Venice–and most were in English. Some I had read, like Donna Jo Napoli’s Daughter of Venice, and some looked intriguing like Laurel Corona’s The Four Seasons, a novel about Vivaldi’s Venice. But what a splendid idea–providing this traveler with a way to prolong the visit with a good read on that wretched 12-hour flight home!
Some locations are better suited for prolonging the experience–I purchased Phil Doran’s The Reluctant Tuscan for my trip home and read Sarah Durant’s The Birth of Venus while in Florence. My husband and I shared a Kindle version of Dracula while I was in Transylvania, and I was happy when he Skyped me to put the book away, “too terrifying.” It was.
Paris, London, New York, New Orleans–some places are so imbued with mood that a novel only needs their names in the title to invoke a positive response. Our own Stephanie Grace Whitson accomplished the same thing with A Garden in Paris and A Hilltop in Tuscany.
What books are strongly linked in your mind with a location? How can a writer capitalize on a romantic spot to aid their own writing and selling of their work? And where in the world needs another novel?