I don’t know about you, but one of the things I’ve missed most during the pandemic is traveling. Heck, even just getting into a car and going on a day trip. I’m lucky to live in a beautiful seaside community on Long Island Sound, so last summer wasn’t so bad with lots of swimming and boating. But as the quarantine stretched on and on, I definitely got restless for parts unknown. And the holidays were tough, as my family had spent the previous four Christmases cruising with a group of faraway friends who we now haven’t seen since our 2019 trip (but hopefully that will change this winter).
Maybe that’s why I chose to write a book set on Italy’s gorgeous Amalfi Coast. How Not To Mess With A Millionaire takes place primarily in Positano, with jaunts to Capri and Rome, and while I’ve been to Italy (once, in 2019, to Venice and the Dolomite mountains), I’ve never been to any of the settings in the book. And maybe that’s exactly why I chose them. So that I’d get to travel virtually via the extensive research I had to do to portray those places accurately.
The internet really is a wonderous thing. It’s amazing the things you can learn from a simple Google search. Many of my searches involved things like the weather and the prime seasons for tourists in Italy. There’s a smattering of Italian in the book, and I made liberal use of Google translate to help me with that (and then ran it all by a friend who speaks the language to make sure I got it right). I probably (okay, definitely) spent more time than I needed to gawking at pictures of Italian villas and pristine Mediterranean beaches. Reading about Capri and Pompeii was fun, even though Pompeii didn’t end up making the cut (nowhere near as romantic to get stranded in a city destroyed by a volcano as it is to be stuck on an island with jaw-dropping natural beauty, delicious cuisine, and world-class shopping). Although I like to think that Pompeii is city Zoe and Dante would visit together someday, maybe even with potbellied pig Houdini tagging along. (A pig, you ask? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out where he comes into play and how he got his name.)
Fortunately for me, my virtual travels aren’t over yet because I’ve got two more books planned in the Mediterranean Millionaire series. Up next is How Not To Marry A Millionaire, set in sunny Spain. It’s Miguel’s story (you’ll meet him in How Not To Mess With A Millionaire as part of the Mediterranean Musketeers, three friends who meet at Oxford University). So far it takes place mostly in Sorrento, but I’m still working on this one, so who knows where my research will take me and where Miguel and heroine Perri might wind up.
After How Not To Marry A Millionaire, I’ll be internet surfing to Greece, one of the top spots on my travel bucket list, for Xander Castellanos and How Not To Misjudge A Millionaire. I’ve done a smattering of research for this one already, mostly because right before the pandemic hit, I played Rosie in a local production of Mamma Mia, which is set in Greece, and I wanted to learn a little more about the country before doing the show. It seems like the perfect place for a post-pandemic getaway: stunning beaches, warm climate, mouth-watering food, friendly people. I can’t wait to learn more when I start in on How Not To Misjudge A Millionaire—and maybe plan a future trip there at the same time.
Are you anxious to hit the road again? Where’s the first place you’ll go (or you’ve gone if you’ve been lucky enough to start traveling again)? Let me know, and I’ll pick one commenter to win a $10.00 Amazon gift card. And if you’re not quite ready to get up and go yet, grab a copy of How Not To Mess With A Millionaire and experience Italy from the comfort of your couch.