What is your experience with the setting of the book? Have you visited or lived in the area? If ‘yes’, what about the area inspired you to use it as the setting?
I was bitten by the travel bug at an early age and I’ve always been on the lookout for different and unusual places to visit. In the early 1970s when I was finishing up college, I discovered it was possible to fly on FedEx planes virtually anywhere in the world, almost for free. From their Memphis headquarters, I boarded planes with some food and a book and would travel to Europe or South America. Of course there were no reservations and I would often get stuck in locations for a few extra days, but the cost and experience was always worth it.
Wings to Redemption is the first book in the Alex Boudreau Adventure Series. It’s high-tech thriller with corporate and government espionage, frighteningly realistic scientific research and unexpected love all set against beautiful backdrops of some of the most breathtaking geographical and historical spots in the world. Australia, New Zealand, the rainforests of Brazil, Paris, Morocco, San Francisco and the coast of Northern California. I have visited each of the locations used in the story and made it a point to be sure that my descriptions were accurate.
I live in Northern California, so I wanted to base the story here and showcase some of the native and man-made beauty. San Francisco is full of endless surprises for any traveler and the Point Reyes Lighthouse, Muir Woods, Sausalito and the bucolic
town of Gualala, are all some of the most beautiful spots I’ve visited and I spent time in each of these places writing the story.
What are some of local culture nuances you describe in the book that you want readers to pick up on, and why are they important to the region and/or story?
In the early life of the protagonist, Alex Boudreau, I talked about the festivals and traditions that take place in a small, agricultural town set in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. “Mawsim” is a twice a year festival, much like our
Thanksgiving, where the villagers give thanks for the bountiful harvest.
Since I’m an avid ocean swimmer and abalone diver, I have some scenes swimming in the San Francisco Bay and free-diving for abalone along the Mendocino coastline. For anyone who has not tasted abalone, you’re missing a true delicacy. It’s a gastropod that when cleaned, pounded and cooked, tastes like nothing else I’ve ever eaten. And no, it doesn’t taste like chicken. This area has some of the best abalone diving in the entire world.
What are three things from the story that a reader should try or see when visiting the region? (e.g. a specific food, landmark, etc.)
Anyone visiting Northern California needs to start with San Francisco. If you haven’t already visited, I’m sure you’ve read about what it has to offer. The museums are first rate with the Academy of Sciences being my favorite. It has an aquarium, a planetarium and its very own rainforest. Also, the Maritime National Park, next to Aquatic Park, will give you a first-hand look at 19th century sea travel.
The entire coastline, north of San Francisco, is an absolute must see. During the winter months I’ve always thought that the winding roads, emerald green hillsides and rocky coastline looks much like Ireland. Don’t miss the with the lighthouse that was built in 1870. I’ve used that lighthouse setting for one of my absolute favorite scenes in Wings to Redemption.
When is the best time of year to visit? Are there any unique festivals or holidays that are specific to the region when a reader should pack your book and take a trip there?
As Mark Twain said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement. The summertime can have a dense fog layer that hugs the coastline for a good part of each day. October and November are a completely different story. That’s when the weather is the most pleasant and the ocean the most hospitable. Please don’t misunderstand me though, nestled in a house with a roaring fire with a good book, listening to the pounding rain and looking out at the 15 foot waves makes the winter months uniquely enjoyable, as well.
You can find Wings to Redemption on Book Club Reading List