Kathleen Ernst is the author of fourteen historical novels for young readers and the Chloe Ellefson mysteries (Midnight Ink.) The second Chloe book, The Heirloom Murders, will be released on September 1st. She invites you to visit her blog, www.sitesandstories.wordpress.com, to follow her meanderings through the intersection of history and fiction. See her website, www.kathleenernst.com, for more information about her books. Today Kathleen is here to talk about road trips, and she's also giving away a copy of one of her books. Read on to learn more. -- AP
Hitting the Road
If asked to name a guilty pleasure, I wouldn’t name smoking, drinking, or ice cream—even though Wisconsin, where I live, has fantastic ice cream. My vice? Road trips. (I do at least drive a hybrid car.)
Since I earn my living as a writer, I travel to bookstores, libraries, schools, and conferences on a regular basis. And since most of my work is either historical fiction or fiction that somehow pertains to the past, I add research trips to the mix. You get the picture.
Over the years I’ve learned that there are two kinds of road-trippers.
Some people simply want to get from Point A to Point B, as quickly as possible. Me, I’m a meanderer. I love to take back roads, poking around new areas. I always try to schedule extra time into any road trip so I can pull over if something catches my eye.
I’m a sucker for those historical markers that lots of states sprinkle along their back roads. I also love little community museums—the kind that don’t get a lot of attention, but exist due to the loving care of dedicated volunteers.
Meandering also means I have permission to stop for the unexpected encounter. Once my husband and I stumbled over a strawberry feast being sponsored by a local historical society. Inside a magnificent old building, an elderly woman played WWI-era tunes on an upright piano while guests gobbled shortcake. More recently we chatted with the man painting the mural below, his small town’s tribute to all veterans.
This kind of travel is fun. It also provides constant fodder for my novelist brain. The protagonist of my Chloe Ellefson mysteries is curator at an historic site. She loves exploring as much as I do. Each book in the series will feature some new museum or site or historic theme. I get to do the travel and research that makes that possible. Am I lucky, or what?
How about you? Are you a meanderer, or a straight-line traveler? What’s been your favorite back roads discovery?
I’m grateful to Anastasia for allowing me to celebrate publication of The Heirloom Murders: A Chloe Ellefson Mystery by guest-posting here. And I’m grateful to readers! I love my work, and I’d be nowhere without you. Leave a comment, and your name will go into a drawing for a free book. The winner can choose any of my seventeen titles. The Heirloom Murders, one of my American Girl mysteries, a Civil War novel—the choice will be yours! To learn more, please visit my website,www.kathleenernst.com.
Thanks for joining us today, Kathleen. You've given me the urge to ramble. Now if gas prices would only come back down... Readers, would you like a copy of one of Kathleen's books? Post a comment to enter the drawing. -- AP