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I’m writing Road to Nowhere, the fifth novel in the Sylvia Wilcox mystery series, this month. November is National Novel Writing Month, and the goal is to write at least 50,000 words. Today  I have a little over 46,000 words. I expect to reach 50,000 words by Sunday. Now that a lot of the first draft is done, time has been freed up time for me to do some research. This is excellent because Sylvia and Martin will be traveling to several U.S. states this time around.

I was born and raised in Detroit, but I’ve always had a fixation with the Old West. There’s just something enchanting about deserts, Old West towns, and mountains. I’ll never forget my first train ride through the Rocky Mountains. I’d purchased a one-way train ticket because I didn’t know where I’d end up. Initially, I thought New Mexico or Colorado would be my final destination, but I ended up staying in Utah. Once I was settled in, I started taking road trips to the national parks and surrounding states. Before I married, most of my traveling was done alone, and while some roads were interesting, dangerous, or full of sites to see, many of them were just roads through scrub brush or foothills. I made up stories to pass the time, and now that I’m mostly at home, those stories have come back to dance around in my head.

Road to Nowhere was inspired by a trip we took in 2019. We took our time meandering around Wyoming, looking for cool sites to see. We spent a night in Laramie and explored the town the next morning, but all the other exploring we did took place on empty, isolated roads. This idea thatWriting this story is a great reminder of how much fun road trips are! This is the first year in over a decade that I haven’t taken a road trip anywhere. Spending time recalling memories of previous journeys has helped keep me upbeat and happy this year.

A Sylvia Wilcox Christmas was released today. I am very excited to have a holiday-themed book in the series! The story will tie up a few loose ends from the previous books, so if you haven’t read Who She Was or Displacement, A Sylvia Wilcox Christmas will be SO much more fun if you read those two books first. Remember, Who She Was is free, so if you haven’t given it a read, now is the perfect time time to pick it up.

The Sylvia Wilcox series deals with mysteries but there are other themes that can be found in all of the stories. One major theme is identity. Who we are, the labels we wear, and the way that we live are inspired by our experiences and who we’ve been told to be. This theme has always fascinated me and it keeps popping up in my stories. Why are you the person you are right now? Have you changed over time? Or do you view yourself as the same person you were a year ago? Ten years ago?

 

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