Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Have Stories Will Travel by Merrillee Whren

The photo above was taken in Marienplatz, a square in Munich, Germany. In the past ten years, I've been fortunate enough to visit most of the countries in western Europe. Travel opens up a person's  imagination as well as revealing history and current events.

After seeing all these new places, I wanted to incorporate some of my experiences into one of my books. I wondered how I could possibly do that when all of my books are set in the United States. The book I'm working on now is the sixth book in my Front Porch Promises series, and it is set in Tennessee. How could I possibly get my characters to some place in Europe? I came up with a plan.

 My hero and heroine, Jeremy and Whitney, work for a company that is mostly internet based. Think Amazon on a small scale, run from a little town in Tennessee. The head of the company wants to expand to Europe, and he is sending the two of them to Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands to negotiate some deals. Most of the book takes place in the US, but it is fun letting my characters experience something new.

Jeremy and Whitney do well on their adventure to those three European countries and come back home with some great deals for their company, but a surprise twist takes them back to one of those countries. I can hardly wait to write that part. I'm what we writers call a pantser, because, for the most part, I have no idea what is going to happen next as I write. But in this unusual case, I'm writing toward this big twist that popped into my mind as I was writing an earlier part of the book.

Here are some of the sites my characters will see.
A Maypole in Viktualienmarkt, a market area in Munich.
A golden carriage in the museum at the Nymphenburg Palace near Munich.
The Grand Place, a central square in Brussels, Belgium
Working windmills in a small town near Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Do you like to learn about faraway places when you read fiction? Do you have a place you've read about that you would like to visit?

Merrillee Whren is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award presented by Romance Writers of American. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty-plus years, and has two grown daughters. Connect with her on her Facebook page and sign up for her newsletter.


  1. Hi Merrillee,
    My daughter lives in Ireland, so my husband and I have had the opportunity to visit Europe many times. We love it! Best wishes on your story and keep us posted.

  2. Josie, it's nice that you can visit your daughter and take some side trips. Traveling is a lot of fun.

  3. I have visited Europe 5 times. Visited England, the Netherlands, France, Poland, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Plus always enjoy arm chair travels.

    1. Oma, I've been to all of those countries except Poland. We are planning to go back next year to parts of Italy and France that we haven't been to before. And armchair travels are fun, too. I read a book a good number of years ago called China Run. It was an interesting picture into China.

    2. Yearly my son visits China for business. I have traveled to Japan and several Canadian provinces.

  4. Fun! I've never been, so I will travel through your stories!