|Prague city map|
Author Kathryn Orzech writes mystery, suspense, and thrillers set in New England “and other exotic locations” where everyday women face chilling situations, flirt with romance, and brush with the supernatural. An avid film fan, news nerd and traveler, Kathy’s other interests include history and geopolitics, archaeology and psychology, earth science, and parapsychology, leaving few subjects off her literary table. Her real-life website, DreamWatch.com, true paranormal experiences of everyday people, has been online since the late 1990s and was the inspiration for Premonition of Terror when she wondered, What if…? Learn more about her and her books at her website.
“Exotic Location” Prague, Czech Republic
After character development and plot, setting is next important to me. My world travels (30-plus countries) offer readers a glimpse of another place and culture. Most of Premonition of Terror, a psychic thriller with a global terrorism threat, is set in the northeast USA, with key scenes set in Prague.
A hoard of international souvenirs is stored in my basement, stacked in plastic bins labeled by country. When drafting Premonition, I was torn between an overseas setting in Budapest or Prague. I reviewed my stash of brochures, receipts and mementos including the street maps I used while there. Prague emerged the clear winner.
At first glance, districts on a city map can be confusing with the Old Town, New Town, Lesser Town, and more. I needed the big picture so my first stop was the elevated location of Prague Castle for a confusion-clearing overview. Prague’s most striking feature is the Vltava River that runs through the city, thus easing navigation to at least determine which side you were on.
Said to be one of Europe’s most haunted cities, I found Prague to be fascinating, vibrant, and affordable, an easy walking city with deep-rooted culture. From historical castles, palaces and cathedrals to underground cave restaurants with delicious food and “outstanding” beer (so I was told); from concerts and galleries to river cruises and ghost walking tours, it’s no surprise that Prague attracts visitors from around the world.
Protagonist as innocent tourist
I have no qualms about writing what I don’t know as long as my point of view remains that of a stranger, a visitor, a tourist. In Premonition of Terror, protagonist Kate Kasabian explores popular attractions including Old Town Square with the 600-year-old Astronomical Clock, the Charles Bridge, Powder Tower, Peace Wall, and Prague Castle.
Old Town Square. The Old Town looked to me like a fairy village with Romanesque and Gothic architecture in a labyrinth of cobblestone lanes, and there was always something interesting happening at the square. I especially enjoyed evenings with new friends at favorite sidewalk cafés to people-watch and listen to conversations at nearby tables in a medley of languages, background I used in the book.
The Charles Bridge (aka: Karluv most). An icon bridge and one of many river crossings. Completed in 1390 (30 mostly Baroque statues were added later), it connects Old Town with Lesser Town. More than 500 yards across, by 9:00 AM it is a gauntlet of hawkers, tourists, and an occasional pickpocket. I relished the incessant activity.
Lesser Town (aka: Mala Strana). A lovely area in which to walk, home to Prague Castle and foreign embassies. As my steps crushed fallen leaves against worn sidewalks, I felt I was back home in the Northeast.
John Lennon’s Peace Wall. Let me explain. Sometimes called Prague’s answer to the Berlin Wall, this graffiti-covered wall is often credited for having inspired the Velvet Revolution, a non-violent youth rebellion against Communism. The Peace Wall began with an image of Lennon, a remembrance following his murder. Lyrics from his songs and messages of peace, love and freedom soon followed. Located near the French Embassy, an impulse to find the Peace Wall draws protagonist Kate to Mala Strana where not all is as peaceful as it appears.
Writing this post stirred memories of the sights and sounds of Prague, so thank you all for that.
Premonition of Terror
DreamWatch.com, true paranormal experiences, began as a hobby. It was supposed to be fun—until premonitions from around the world predict the same catastrophic attack.
The last time reluctant psychic Kate Kasabian revealed a prediction, people close to her were hurt. But with thousands of lives at risk, she has no choice but to badger her FBI brother to investigate. He refuses to help. When she sets off to prove her suspicions, he thinks he’s heard the last of her supernatural silliness—until the legendary Matt Chase from Counterterrorism alerts agents to a credible threat eerily similar to Kate’s warnings.
Tracking clues from Prague to New England, Kate trusts dreams and premonitions while Chase relies on technology and global intelligence, but can their unlikely alliance stop the U.S. plot?