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Writing About Places You’ve Never Been

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The book I recently finished writing, The Exquisite and Immaculate Grace of Carmen Espinoza, starts off with my main character, Carmen, traveling down to Oaxaca Mexico to start her junior year of high school in a study abroad program. This is great, except I’ve never been to Oaxaca Mexico.

Enter the travel guide.

What an amazing tool filled with great pictures, history, cultural insights, maps, culinary lessons–tons and tons of great information. Couple that with Google maps and the wealth of information you can find on travel blogs (I found a great one by a woman who moved from San Fransisco to Oaxaca for a year and blogged about her experiences) and the world is suddenly your setting playground.

I did travel quite a bit when I was a flight attendant with United Airlines–but many of the places I write about I’ve never been to. I would love to one day be able to visit to all the places my characters do, but until then, I won’t let the location of my desk keep me from exploring these amazing destinations in my books.

How about you, do you write only about the places you’ve been too?

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