by Jennifer Bonds
It’s that time of year when so many of us will be hitting the road to visit loved ones, celebrate the holidays, and make memories with a warm hug and a bright smile! I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved road trips. Give me all the snacks, the loud music, the wind in my hair, and the open road!
Granted, road trips look different now that I have two little ones, but that’s a post for another day.
From the moment I received my driver’s license, I’ve loved exploring, and in the days before GPS, I wasn’t going to let a little thing like navigating via map or printing out directions keep me from living my best life. From concerts to beach vacations, I’ve taken all kinds of trips, but my favorite ones are the ones where the journey is half the fun. I love visiting kitschy roadside stands and attractions (Who wouldn’t want to see a water tower shaped like a catsup bottle?), so when the pandemic hit, I couldn’t help but feel jealous of the folks who were hitching up their RVs and setting out in search of adventure.
The wanderlust hit hard as I scrolled social media, and though I couldn’t travel myself, I mentally cataloged all the places I’d like to visit when the time was right. (I’m looking at you Yellowstone!) It was these daydreams—paired with news of The Great Resignation—that inspired my latest romcom, Miles and Miles of You.
I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if a fed-up twenty-something assistant (who didn’t have to worry about a mortgage or feeding her offspring) decided to quit her corporate job and follow her dream of becoming a travel influencer. It’s bold. Risky. Not something I’d ever do, despite my love of road tripping. Better yet, I wondered, what would happen if her resignation left her boss’s life in shambles and he tagged along, determined to win her back?
What started as a fun, light-hearted question quickly turned to research when I decided Route 66 would be the perfect backdrop for my story, not only because of The Mother Road’s larger than life reputation and abundant roadside attractions, but also because it was a two-week journey from Chicago to Santa Monica, making it the perfect test run for a burgeoning influencer.
I’ve never traveled Route 66, but I knew that if my characters were going to tackle this iconic cross-country trip, the experience had to be authentic from the historical sites (Did someone say 1932 Standard Oil Station?) to the natural wonders (Meramec Caverns) and even the just plain weird roadside attractions (Cadillac Ranch). There was so much to see and do, it was hard to decide which places to feature and how to leverage the sites and experiences to showcase the developing romance between the characters, because the story is, first and foremost, a romance about finding love where you least expect it.
Needless to say, not every location made it into the final draft of Miles and Miles of You, but I’ve got a great roadmap for a future trip down Route 66 and I had a blast writing Miles and Lucy’s story, which released today! If you’re looking for a steamy romcom with all the road trip vibes, be sure to check it out. And if you’re a fellow road tripper, drop me a note below with your favorite road trip story or must-see destination!