When I started writing historical fiction set in ancient times and exotic places around the world, I had no idea that I’d be able to embark on so many adventures around the globe to research my books and see amazing sights. My research has taken me to Egypt, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Israel and Jordan, and this past month I revisited many of those beautiful places via a cruise around the eastern Mediterranean.
The trip was partly research and partly an anniversary trip with my husband, and he gamely let me drag him through Rome, Sicily, Athens, Pompeii, Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, and Ephesus, not to mention all the photos and he videos he took for me!
But one particular day was extra-special…
My upcoming novel, Isle of Shadows, is set on the Greek island of Rhodes. But as the cover design was coming together, with a beautiful photo of Greece in the background and a model the publisher hired superimposed over the photo, I had a suspicion that the original photo had been taken somewhere on the island of Santorini. And so the hunt began!
From our cruise ship, docked in the middle of Santorini’s caldera (the huge sea-water filled crater that resulted from a volcanic eruption over 3500 years ago), we took a small boat to the shoreline of the island. A cable car took us to the clifftop city of Fira, and my husband and I quickly made our way through the picturesque streets to an ATV-rental store. A few minutes later we were speeding up the rocky coastline, toward the city of Oia on the northern tip of the island. Gorgeous views along the way, but absolutely stunning sights to come when we reached Oia. (Google “Oia, Santorini” and click on Images to see what I mean!)
We wandered up and down streets, winding around whitewashed buildings, blue domes gleaming in the island sun, all the while comparing the vista to the cover of Isle of Shadows.
And then suddenly, there it was!
It took a little positioning to get the angle just right, and some patience while a guy who looked like he had nowhere to go hung around in the picture, smoking his cigarette. But finally we were able to take some perfect photos. If you look at the background behind me, then at the cover of the book, you’ll see what I mean!
And then, as if the discovery wasn’t perfect enough… A nearby church started playing some music, and couples began dancing in the courtyard. I took a 30-second video to capture the moment.
I hope my special memory has given you a taste of this wonderful island! With every story I write, it’s my passion to transport readers to wonderful places.