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  • Writer's pictureJane Ritzenthaler

Location, Location, Location

That's the mantra of Real Estate agents everywhere. But it's also my mantra, when researching a new book. And I sincerely love the research part! Not so much years ago, when I was writing my first book, Devil's Fire. Those were the days of numerous trips to the library, checking out books on everything from magic and spells to the history of New England. Today? A few clicks on my computer, and I can answer critical questions such as when was duct tape invented? (That was part of my historical time travel book, The Body in the Church Pew).

When I've determined the setting(s) for a novel, I prefer they be somewhere I've actually been, whether it's Paris, Mürren Switzerland, or Napa Valley. I'm a stickler for accuracy. Plus, it's just more fun recalling the scenic beauty, people and foods of a location. Which brings me to why I'm going to England.

My next book (working title: The Ivy Close) tells the story of a genealogist who longs to know more than just the basic facts about her own family tree. So she journeys to England, where her long line of ancestors came from. Pulling on my own genealogical research, my paternal great-grandmother was a Kemp, hailing from Norfolk, where the original Robert Kempe built Gissing Hall in the 15th century.

The manor house was remodeled in the 1820s, and eventually turned into a hotel. Alas, it fell into disrepair and was put up for sale. Tempting as it is to try and visit my "old homestead" I decided that would be a bit depressing, and decided to look elsewhere for a setting. I settled on the Cotswolds, an area northwest of London sprinkled with rolling hills, picturesque villages, thatched cottages...and sheep. I turned once again to Rick Steves, digesting his guidebook on England. Lots of recommendations about specific B&Bs, and helpful references to the practicalities, such as transportation. I've carved 10 days out of my schedule, and will fly non-stop from Phoenix to London on September 27th. Hopefully, that is. As a retired employee from America West Airlines (now American Airlines), I can fly internationally for less than two nights in a 3 star hotel. The only catch is I fly standby. But in all the years of doing so, I've only been bumped twice. I'll be watching the flight statistics with an eagle eye for the next few weeks, and prepared to make adjustments if necessary.

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Yvonne Oldenburg
Yvonne Oldenburg
Sep 17, 2022

How exciting!


Sep 04, 2022

Jane, got a buddy ticket for me???

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