But I didn't want to forget to talk about it because it was a lovely trip. I went with family and met wonderful people and saw beautiful things and learned lots of history and ate amazing food (so much pastry!) and drank so much wine. I was ridiculously lucky to get to go. I've always loved travel, but recent years haven't seen me able to travel as much as I would've liked. This trip was a fantastic opportunity...and also reignited my travel bug, which might not be such a great thing depending on when my next chance to get away is!
It was also a really inspiring trip in a lot of ways. But here's one very fun and exciting one. Does something look familiar about this particular chateau?
I got to visit Chateau de Chambord in the Loire Valley, which you can probably tell from the cropped cover photo above is the castle used on the cover of A Dance of Water and Air. I was so exciting I was absolutely shaking when I realized where I was! I only wish I'd know—I would've brought a copy of the book along and taken some pictures with it! This is absolutely one of my favorite of my book covers, and Chambord makes a lovely palace for Edmund and Arden. Not having the book didn't stop me from taking a bunch of photos anyway. It's a such a beautiful building! Here are a few more photos (including one of my in my very large summery hat) and one of the whole cover.
Travel has always been so inspiring for me. Being in new places, experiencing new things, learning, soaking up culture and art...all of those things have always sparked ideas and creativity. The worlds and characters in books owe so much to the bits and pieces I've absorbed on travels. I think this trip will do the same. This year has been a difficult one for writing for me—I've talked about why before, and I'm not going to go into it again here because I'm trying to be upbeat and ride on the giddy wave this recent trip caused. I'm hoping the little sparks of story and character and setting ideas that began floating around my head during this trip will get me writing steadily again. The Chateau de Chenonceau and Carcassonne's walls and towers struck me as sort of magical and fairy tale, and the countryside and coast were so beautiful. Returning to Paris makes me finally want to write that story set there that's been floating around in my head for too long. I need to finish the next Chronicles of Tournai book (and maybe this trip did shake some things loose because the end of that is finally coming together!), but after I finish, we'll see where my imagination takes me...
In the meantime, while I let my subconscious decide where we'll go next, here are a few of the (hundreds of) pictures I took while I was away.