Foreign airs

So the way it started was, last year I had a conference in Hawaii and my family badly needed a break, too, so I flew them out for ten days following my conference, even though I had a book I needed to work on.  I told them—I told myself—that I would be working on the book most of the time, but really I could work anywhere, although in fact I was far from certain about that, since it had been roughly forever since I’d written anywhere but my study.

So off we went, and during Left Coast Crime I wrote a lot, and when we moved over to Maui and my family joined me I wrote even more, and at the end of the 2 weeks away I’d averaged  better than 2000 words a day, which I don’t always manage at home.

So this year when my daughter said she would be in Lisbon for the year I thought, well, I’m writing a book, maybe I can write it in Lisbon.  Maybe I can even set it in Lisbon—that might be fun:

And then we were talking about side trips and the south and the north of Portugal and I was looking at a map and I said, What about Morocco?  Because draw a line from Lisbon and it’s about as far from there to Casablanca (Casablanca!) as it is from San Jose to Portland, and really, if you can take a one hour plane trip and find yourself in Casablanca (!) why would you not?  Really, why?

So we did:

And then things started to come together in some really, really interesting ways, and the book I had been shaping in the back of my head as a kind of silly change of pace from the last two Russell stories, which had a fair amount of darkness in them when you look at it, began to grow in some intriguing directions, becoming exotic and complicated and fun, yet with an edge as well…

Almost as if the air of Morocco and Lisbon had got into it…

Thinking of Morocco?  Mark Willenbrock is Mad about Morocco, and when you’re finished with a tour led by him, you’ll be mad for the place as well.  Looking for a home-from-home in Fez?  You’ll never want to leave the Riad R’Mila.   When you’re in the medina in Fez, you may want a bite to eat, a glass of mint tea, tasty food, or perhaps a musical evening?  Drop in at Cafe Clock.  Or maybe you just want to look over the shoulder of a local while you think about a visit?  Then  Riad Zany is the blog for you.

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  1. Sara on April 10, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Are those heaping piles of SPICES?!? Oh goodness… must have smelled incredible! Thanks for sharing the pictures!

  2. strawberry curls on April 10, 2010 at 7:53 am

    This is armchair traveling at its best!! I love all the links and the pictures are incredible. How exciting that Russell and Holmes will be on another exotic adventure and we (your loyal readers)get to share it in 2011!


  3. MaryL on April 11, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Ah! The night plane to Lisbon! Someday WE will be on it, won’t we Rick?

  4. Meredith on April 12, 2010 at 12:07 am

    So I sez to the good husband “Laurie’s in Morocco.” And the first words out of his mouth are “Is she going to Casablanca?” And we muse aloud “well, why wouldn’t she?” See, you entirely sustain our faith.

    You brought a little Stilton to a Bouchercon. Err…. can you figure out anything that can be transported from Morocco??? In a more practical vein, for the serious cooks among us (probably not including moi) perhaps recipes and where to get spices? The pictures are gorgeous. And Holmes and Russell trotting around there — what a fine idea. 🙂 best to all//Meredith

  5. Megan on April 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    A teacher from my high school is currently living and teaching in Rabat, and he sends huge forwarded emails about life in Morocco. It’s definitely on my list of places to visit once I get rich (or get within swimming distance, whichever comes first). I would read a Russell adventure set in Morocco with delight.

    To be completely honest, I’ll read any Russell story with delight. But Morocco’s still a completely awesome idea!

    Have fun, and send more pictures!

  6. Erin on April 13, 2010 at 7:46 am

    I’ve got saucer eyes over the spice mountains 0_0 I want to go to there…

    My boss has been leaving piles of meyer lemons at my desk for the last couple of weeks (paradoxically he has a tree, but doesn’t particularly like lemons) and I’ve been trying to think of what to do with them. The big thing that has been popping up in searches is preserved lemons (in salt), which are apparently a common ingredient in Moroccan food? If I can’t be there in reality, perhaps culinarily will do 😉

    Anyway, can’t wait to read about Russell and Holmes in Morocco. Their traveling adventures are my favorite!

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