April 9, 2019

If you like books, like to travel, and would be interested in hearing authors talk about the places that have inspired their writing, then you might want to check out the Books and Travel website. There are articles about interesting places, as well as a podcast so you can listen to authors talk about the places that appear in their books. Plus, you can sign up for a monthly reading list.

The site is the creation of Jo Frances Penn, who writes thrillers and dark fantasy as J.F. Penn and non-fiction as Joanna Penn.

This is a new site and podcast. So far I'm really enjoying listening to the podcast. It makes me remember the places that have influenced my writing and think about why those particular places made me want to write about them.

Below are some of the places that have inspired me.

WAR SERIES - The entire series is influenced by my time living in West Africa. Although, I didn't spend nearly as much time in the jungle as my characters do!


  • Part of the action in Vengeance takes place in Acapulco, which I visited on a trip with my high school Spanish class.
  • The wildlife rehabilitation center Jenna helps out at was inspired by watching my sister work with rehabilitated birds of prey. 
  • The jungle scenes in Betrayal take place in the Amazon, but were inspired by my visit to a rain forest in West Africa.
  • As I mentioned in my Dear Reader note in Retribution, the cat that Gabby meets at the end of the book while visiting Paros, Greece is the same cat I met when I was staying on Paros. Like me, Gabby named him Pirate.
  • The beach in Payback is a combination of a number of beaches I've visited along the east coast of the United States.
  • The layout of the museum in Aftermath was modeled after the Crime Museum in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, the museum is no longer there. It relocated to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee under the name Alcatraz East Crime Museum.

Are there any places that you've visited that you think would make a great setting for a book?

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