Where is the best place you’ve ever vacationed? Has that setting made its way into any of your books?
Anyone who’s read a Cait Morgan Mystery knows how difficult it is for me to answer this question: all those books are set in places where I’ve lived or have visited frequently. The south of France, BC wine country, Pacific coastal Mexico, Vegas, Hawai’i, Amsterdam…I have spent years or months in all of them, and have often sneaked there for a short vacation too! And they are all in my books (Budapest is up next, by the way, folks!). My WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries are set in Wales where I grew up, so there's that, too.
|Yes, that's me floating in the Dead Sea|
I’ve been fortunate to travel a great deal during my life. At least, I see it as fortunate – I know that, for many, travel isn’t something high on their personal agenda. So I’m going to talk about places I have visited and loved, which have not made their way into my work (yet!!).
Jordan: I adored Agatha Christie’s beloved Nabatean and Roman city of Petra where she lived for more than a year with her archaeologist husband, Max Mallowan; floating in the Dead Sea made me giggle (yes, the water tastes absolutely disgusting but being told that just isn’t the same as tasting it for oneself!); Amman’s amphitheatre is stunning; Jerash is about as perfect a Roman city as I have seen anywhere; Mount Nebo makes one feel utterly spiritual and the Crusader citadel of Kerak Castle took my breath away. It was great fun to ride a camel through Wadi Rum, where the Seven Pillars of Wisdom frame the landscape.
|Yep - it's me! At Petra, New Year's Eve|
Tunisia: I decided I wanted to be at Carthage for my birthday one year. Having grown up studying Latin, it was a place that had filled my teen years with wonder. I managed it, and was bitterly disappointed! Yes, I know a city famous for being sacked will probably look a bit sorry for itself, but I’d hoped for more than remained, which boiled down to a few columns and the subterranean parts of the Roman baths. Fortunately the joy of visiting Tunis itself, with its wonderful Bardo Museum, made up for this underwhelming experience, as did a totally joyous trip to the village of Sid Bou Said, which is known for its blue and white architectural themes. I made the stupid mistake of buying a star-shaped lamp made of brass and glass there – given that it was about two-feet in diameter it made for a very interesting flight home!
|Outside the museum in Cairo|
Egypt: if I have to pick a favourite, this is it. I’ve spent a lot of time in Egypt (months), and there hasn’t been a moment I didn’t enjoy. No, hang on, I take that back….about fifteen minutes after sunset each night, a wall of hot air would roll across the Nile and hit you like a giant hairdryer, followed about ten minutes later by swarms of the most nibbly mosquitoes I’ve ever experienced – those moments…running to find the respite of the hotel’s air-conditioning…weren’t much fun at all! I’ve cruised the Nile, visited Agatha Christie’s suite at the Old Cataract Hotel at Aswan, clambered up inside the pyramid of Cheops in Cairo and have stood in the Temple of Karnak at dawn on Midsummer’s Day. I had the magnificently-painted tomb of Queen Nefertari all to myself for half an hour on the morning of my 35th birthday and I’ve ridden through the
|Tip: don't wear black when you're on a motorbike in Egypt in August|
|Apple shisha - my favourite!|
I’m not sure if any of these places will find their way into my future books, but I’ve loved them all, and hope to return one day. Where have you been that you'd like to revisit?
Cathy Ace writes the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (book #2 THE CASE OF THE MISSING MORRIS DANCER was published in hardback in February, and will be available in trade paperback on August 31st, and the Cait Morgan Mysteries (book #7 THE CORPSE WITH THE GARNET FACE was published in paperback in April). Find out more about Cathy and her work, and sign up for her newsletter at http://cathyace.com/