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The Sirens of Suspense

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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WENDY TYSON's background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals, including KARAMU, Eclipse, A Literary Journal and Concho River Review. She's the author of Killer Image, an Allison Campbell mystery. Deadly Assets, the second Campbell novel, will be released July 22, 2014 by Henery Press. Wendy (under the pen name W. A. Tyson) has also authored The Seduction of Miriam Cross, a thriller published by E-Lit Books in November 2013. Wendy lives near Philadelphia with her husband, three kids and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs.

 

 

Find Wendy on Facebook and Twitter.

http://www.watyson.com

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item1 THE TRAVEL BUG item1
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I’m the daughter of a self-proclaimed homebody. Growing up, travel was limited to a once-a-year trip to Ocean City. We’d venture ninety miles from our house outside of Philadelphia to the New Jersey shore for three weeks every summer, packing our lives and bringing them along with us. Don’t get me wrong—as a kid, those three weeks were magical. Our house (we rented the same one every year) sat two blocks from the boardwalk and beach. My grandparents and great-grandmother joined us, and at any given time we had at least one aunt or uncle or set of cousins there, too. And when we were older, we were allowed to bring friends. Days were marked by long hours at the beach and late afternoon card games. Nights were a collage of amusement rides, arcade games, funnel cake and walks along the beach. The walks were my favorite. There was something surreal about having the cold sand under my toes and hearing the steady pounding of the surf while just above me, on the crowded boardwalk, humanity celebrated summer. The nearby crowds made the solitude of the darkened shoreline seem even more pronounced.

I fell a little in love with the solitude—and the surf. I always wondered what it would be like to swim at night, to wade out into the water and get carried along with the waves. The beach that was so friendly during the day suddenly took on an ominous tone, and as a child I imagined sharks and giant crabs and maybe even mermaids. The idea excited me a little. It would be an adventure.

Unlike my mother, I am not a homebody. I have a major case of the travel bug and a strong need to explore, and luckily I married a man who suffers from the same ailment. Since my oldest—now nineteen—was an infant, my husband and I bundled him up and took him along wherever we went. In those days, we were young and poor and trips generally consisted of camping or stays in cheap roadside motels. As we’ve matured in years, our means have grown and so has our understanding of how to travel frugally so we can stretch our trip budget. Like their older brother, our twins, now eleven, have spent their lives going places.

In June of 2011, a few months after losing my father, with whom I was very close, and while my husband was working on projects in England and Macedonia, we decided to spend three weeks in Greece. It would be an education for the kids, we reasoned, my husband could work more easily from there than the States—and I desperately needed to get away. I had visions of writing for hours, taking in the view and relishing the solitude while finishing my novel-in-progress. We booked the trip. We’d spend four days in Athens and almost three weeks in a house on the island of Corfu, in the Ionian Sea. It so happened that the trip coincided with the financial collapse in Europe and the riots in Athens and elsewhere. “You’re not still going?” people asked. We wavered—we didn’t want to put the kids at risk—but it was my homebody mother who spoke with the voice of reason. “The media always exaggerates,” she said. And she was right.

Greece was beautiful, and the people were warm and welcoming—despite the charged political climate. Climbing the steps to the Parthenon and looking across Athens was a heady feeling, and as I glanced at the awe on my kids’ faces, I knew we’d made the right decision.

Because of the unrest in Greece, airline workers were striking without notice, so we’d decided to use more reliable modes of public transportation—a bus and a ferry—to get from Athens to Corfu. We stepped off the ferry alongside a United Nations of travelers to get a glimpse of the sun rising over Corfu. The island has a rich history of battles and conquests, and even its Greek name—Kerkyra—is tied to Greek mythology and the god of the sea, Poseidon. Looking out over those aquamarine waters, we could understand why. Breathtaking.

While in Corfu, we met few English-speaking people and even fewer Americans—most came to the island for a single day as part of a cruise—so the boys picked up rudimentary Greek. We walked miles to the outdoor market, navigated our not-so-reliable manual transmission rental through narrow, winding roads slick with olive oil, and explored Corfu Town, a magnificent city rich with European history.

I found solitude and adventure on Corfu, and the perspective born of distance did ultimately act as a salve to my grieving heart. But I also realized that, like my mother, I had packed my life and taken it along with me, as I do with every trip. My family. My books. My writing. My memories of simpler times and loved ones whom we’ve lost. Greece, in turn, left its indelible impression on us. Perhaps that give-and-take is the point of travel.

We returned to the States newly invigorated and determined to apply the habits for simpler living we learned from the Greeks. We expanded our kitchen garden, walked more, and fresh Greek salad remains a summer staple on our dinner table. Corfu is even the setting for my latest crime-novel-in-progress. The next year, we found ourselves in France, Italy and Switzerland, and I see echoes of these countries in my children still. Later this year, we’ll pack our car and drive to Montana—again, bringing pieces of our lives with us and taking bits of our adventures home to stay.

 

 

WHERE WOULD YOU LOVE TO TRAVEL? Tell us by commenting on the blog below or on our Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win a a copy of DEADLY ASSETS (U.S. entrants only, please.)

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