My early books weren't inspired by places I've been, but I remember taking a road trip with Fred and Josh in 2002, and in the middle of New Mexico, Fred said, "I wonder what's down that road," and he pointed down a dirt road. By the time we got to our destination, I had filled pages of a notebook with what had been down that road. That book became Blame It on the Texas Stroll. Yes, it took me that long to find the heroine for the hero that popped into my head that day.
The next story inspiration location was the Bluestone books. I was visiting my dad and stepmom in Minnesota and we were driving back to Minneapolis from their lake house. We passed by a bar that was designed like a log cabin and my stepmother said that the owner had been trying to sell it for months. She went on to say how the town had been affected by the recession and people weren't traveling to the lakes so much. By the time we got back to Minnesota, I'd come up with the whole Bluestone series.
A few years later, Fred and I found ourselves as empty nesters, and we started going on road trips. On one trip down to Shiner, Texas (yes, to the brewery!) we stopped for lunch in Gonzales, at a restaurant called The Running M Bar and Grill. We had been driving around and seeing a lot of drilling equipment, a lot of wells, and I started wondering about the oil boom and how it would affect a quiet little town. The Boom Town series was born.
And last, my Off-Season books were inspired by the quiet little part of Padre Island we like to visit every fall, the families who live on the island, who work in the service jobs there.
And guess what? I have another series planned down the road, inspired by another road trip to West Texas! So yes, trips inspire me!