Shortly before I finished my first book, the story for the second book started rolling around in my head. While I waited on others to read and proofread, I started writing again. The first book took my main character to Florida; this time I wanted her to go to New York.
I’ve been to New York City twice by myself. The first time, my boss asked me to fly up on a Friday afternoon to deliver his passport to him at the airport. Instead of turning around and flying right back home as he expected, I took a cab to the St. Moritz Hotel and stayed the weekend. The second time, I won a contest at work. The prize was a trip for two to Disneyworld. Disneyworld? I traded my tickets in at the travel agency for a weekend in New York City with a girlfriend. A few days before we were to leave, she had to cancel, so I went by myself. I had a blast on both trips.
As I’m writing my book, I know I want Susan to walk around the city, but I don’t remember enough details to write from memory. I will never again complain about the slow-moving Google car that comes through town and takes pictures. I toggled back and forth between the Google map of the city and the street view. The street view is amazing, and I spent a couple of days with it walking around New York City reliving memories and plotting Susan’s route. I have a healthy respect for writers before the internet age. Research for everything must have been so much more difficult then.
I currently have Susan in New Orleans. I’ve been there before, too. I’ve already spent a few hours walking around the city via Google Street View. I don’t need to do it for this book, but I can’t make myself stop as I look back over fond memories.