Thirteen years ago I moved to the Seattle area. It was a risk because I had never been to Seattle and I didn't know anyone who lived there. I was nervous, but my anxiety level really shot up when I left the airport and followed a very vague set of directions to a city called Bellevue. For a Midwestern girl who was used to flat land and cornfields, this place was strange and weird.
And then I took a wrong turn. I was lost and I was about to panic when I saw a freeway sign that said San Juan Islands. Wait a second, I thought. Those are the islands from Joy! Joy was a Jayne Ann Krentz book I had recently read.
It turns out that the San Juan Islands aren't right next to Bellevue, but that was okay. I saw something familiar. I was near a place I had read in a favorite book. And as I settled into my new home, I saw more places Krentz mentioned in her other books. Day after day I ventured out of my small comfort zone to see the places that I had only read about.
These days I'm delighted when I read a book and recognize a place. Last year I took a short trip to San Francisco and I had an Abby Green book with me. One of the scenes was set in a San Francisco hotel. (Yes, I made a point to go to the hotel and I looked around.)
I haven't taken any reader tours yet, but they sound fun. There's a Twilight tour in Forks, Washington for those who loved the books and movies. Debbie Macomber hosted the Cedar Cove Days last year for her fans. Cedar Cove is a fictional town, but it is based on Macomber's hometown of Port Orchard, Washington. If I ever get to the UK, I want to take the Inspector Morse tour in Oxford and see all the sights of his (and now Inspector Lewis's) cases.
What about you? If you could visit a place (fictional or real) that you read in a book, where would it be?