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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A picture journey through my novels

I live in two countries on two continents and I love to travel and so the different places I lived in or visited infiltrated my creative writing. Both my novels, An Uncommon Family and Love of a Stonemason take place in several different countries.

When I first visited these places, I wasn’t planning on using them in my writing. I was just seeing them as a tourist. Once I started to create my stories, I wanted to go back to explore the different locals more closely. It was important to get the details right, and, above all, I wanted to portray them through the eyes and nose and ears of my protagonists. What are the scents, the colors, and the sounds like in Zurich, Switzerland, or Guadalajara, Mexico, or in the exciting metropolis, New York City for Anna and Jonas in An Uncommon Family? How does Karla, the artist, see her beloved Ticino in the south of Switzerland? What did the colors and shapes of stones in the Peruvian Andes trigger in Andreas, the stonemason, in Love of a Stonemason?

In the process of my research, I took quite a few pictures. An author friend of mine suggested I put some of them on my website. This gave me the idea to create a kind of picture tour of my novels. Readers who are familiar with my books may enjoy seeing some of the places they read about. Others who don’t know my books may get inspired to give them a try.

I’m starting with the first book in the Family Portrait series, An Uncommon Family. This novel takes place in Zurich, Switzerland, New York City, and Guadalajara, Mexico. For those who don’t know the book, here is a blurb:

A chance meeting between a middle-aged woman, a widower, and a semi-orphaned child in the city of Zurich, Switzerland, brings together three people who grapple with a past of loss and betrayal. Six-year-old Karla, whose mother died in a car crash, has a hard time accepting the loss. Anna, her aunt and guardian, struggles with her former husband’s deception and her shattered confidence in men, and Jonas, artist and teacher, mourns the death of his wife.

While trying to help Karla, a talented but troubled child, Anna and Jonas develop feelings for each other that go beyond friendship. The budding romance, however, hits a snag when Anna discovers a sinister secret in Jonas’s past. While the two adults have come to an impasse, young Karla takes matters into her own hands. Together with a friend, she develops a plan to bring the two uncooperative adults back together. The plan, however, creates havoc and as it begins to unravel, Karla is forced to learn some difficult lessons.

And now, click on the following link, fasten your seatbelts, put on your walking boots, or hop on a virtual train and enjoy!

An Uncommon Family - A Journey in Pictures

If you enjoyed the tour and want to continue the journey through part two of the "Family Portrait" series, click on the following link:

Love of a Stonemason - A Journey in Pictures


  1. Thank you. I truly enjoyed that photo journey, Christa. You paint beautiful word pictures in your books, but it's also nice to see these photos to familiarize myself with the places, which, for me, are mostly foreign.

  2. Thanks, Linda! You actually gave me the idea to put some of those pictures on my website.

  3. Refreshed my memories of Zurich..absolutely brilliant idea to post pictures of settings in your novel....can totally relate the situations to the place in the mind's eye. Great work Christa. The book is definitely on my buy list soon !!! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi Anagha, so happy to see you here. I think you'll like the book!

  5. I like the journey in pictures so much I list in a new group of links at my website under the caption "Relax Your Mind."

  6. Well done great pictures I wonder what great stories you will have of China and Japan. The pictures really inspired my interest to see Zurich


  7. As you said in your email: "You can now travel those exotic places without leaving your home!" Waaaagh! That's no fun! I want to GO! I guess I'll have to settle for this, though. Thank you for sharing!!! :)

  8. Christa:

    What a delightful blog and photographic tour. As you know, I loved "An Uncommon Family" and am really looking forward to reading "Love of a Stonemason" when time permits.

    It was a real joy seeing these photos as they relate to your story.

    Truly wonderful.


  9. Lindsay, you're an angel. Thanks!
    Sensei, can't believe I'm seeing you here! Thanks for dropping by and we'll have to arrange a "real" Zurich trip for you!
    Monster A-Go-Go, of course, you have to whine! Ha, ha.
    Thanks, Lisette, I'm happy you like it.

  10. From your armchair traveler friend!

    Thank-you for giving me an opportunity to see a bit of the world in your books and photos!

    Much love, Susan

  11. Susan, thanks! I know that traveling from home with a cup of espresso next to you is much more enjoyable than sitting in an airplane for 10 hours or so!

  12. You are so much more organized than I am, Christa. I forget to take pictures. I'm not on Pinterest, but it seems like, since you have so many pictures already, you could create quite a few categories for pictures on a Pinterest page.

  13. Thanks, Helen, I have been thinking about Pinterest but haven't had the time or energy yet to attack another social media, but I definitely will. Thanks for the advice.

  14. Such a wonderful tour. I love your appreciation for places and history.

    1. Thanks, Dorothy, for dropping by. I'm glad you enjoy it!