donderdag 1 mei 2014

A trip to a world I have written and dreamed about

Every writer knows that it is best to write what you know. And yet, I ignored that pearl of sacred wisdom when I started work on my first full novel Shadow of Time three years ago, because I decided to set it on the Navajo Reservation - a place I had never visited.


A Carefully Planned Road Trip

My husband and I saved up for a full year before setting out for the US West Coast. My main goal during our road trip was to make it to Navajo Nation. I'd written about Antelope Canyon, the town of Page, Lake Powell, Lone Rock Beach, Canyon de Chelly, as well as a couple of villages that didn't even really exist. The villages of St Mary's Port and Naabi'aani were invented by me; however, I knew exactly where they were supposed to be on the map.


Time For Some Visuals!

People who've already read the book know that St Mary's Port is close to the beach of Lake Powell, between Page and Wahweap. The actual place is completely empty, but there's plenty of space to build a village, in my humble opinion! :)


In 'Shadow of Time', the two main characters go on their first date in this slot canyon: Antelope Canyon. I used a picture of this canyon on the first English edition of the book, and Antelope Canyon is still on the front cover of the Dutch and Chinese edition. Visiting this place and being able to get in there before the hordes of tourists showed up was truly majestic.


In Chapter 1, Hannah runs into Josh at a gas station without realizing it's him (she knew him as a young boy). I imagined the station to be next to South Lake Powell Boulevard, but alas, there was no gas station... however, there is a square spot of soil that LOOKS like they're going to build something there, so there might be one in the future!


A pivotal moment in the book comes when Josh tells Hannah his secret. They are sitting right here, on Lone Rock Beach, when he tells her his story.


For the historical flashbacks in the book, I used the location of Canyon de Chelly. This is what the canyon looked like at seven o'clock in the morning, just as the sun was rising. Visiting this place was one of the highlights of the vacation for me.


And this is Spider Rock. In the book, Hannah keeps having nightmares about the rock plateau overlooking this part of the canyon. Why? If you haven't read Shadow of Time yet, I suggest you should! :)

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