Research In Morocco For Blood Passage
One of the coolest things about writing a story set in Morocco was that I had to go there to do research for the second book in my trilogy, Blood Passage. Poor me, right? I love to travel, but this trip was especially meaningful because the country is now so intrinsically linked to a story and characters I love. It was a surreal experience imagining my characters running through the souks of Marrakech and sleeping in the Sahara while I was doing those things myself.
My story is about jinn (genies, Djinn) and Morocco has a lot of jinn lore. It seemed like the perfect place to set my book. This was confirmed when my driver to the Sahara, Moustafa, told me personal stories of jinn sightings. What can I say? It’s a magical country. There was no way I could have done this authentically by simply reading and doing Internet research. When you travel to a new country, it gets in your bones. My favorite scenes of the book are set in places that were magical to me: the Sahara, riads (Moroccan guesthouses), the souks. I have a lot of favorite scenes that take place in a cave, too. For that, I travelled to Virginia, which, while I was in the cave, was just as exotic as Morocco.
One of the greatest advantages of travelling to the set of your novel is that, while there, the story will begin to take shape out of its natural surroundings. Before I went to Morocco, I was banging my head against my desk, stuck on the plot, the setting, the characters. It was a nightmare. But as soon as I got back from Morocco, the story flowed out of me. That’s not to say it was easy by any means, but the creative blocks had been eliminated. I think this is, in large part, due to the sensory details of Morocco. I could hear the call to prayer in Marrakech or the way the sand blows against a tent in the Sahara (you should put that on your bucket list: it is the single coolest thing I’ve ever done). I could smell the food, see the women who did henna in the Djemaa el-Fna, the main square in Marrakech. To me, Morocco had become a real, living breathing entity.
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