Although I live a simple life, and in fact, as a single mother, I have often struggled to make ends meet, somehow, through sheer determination and for the love of it, I have managed to write in some of the most astounding places. The views from my windows and terraces have inspired my works. How insipid and flat would be the world of the Night Angels if I had not climbed the dunes of Merzouga or walked the streets of Istanbul? Here are twelve of my favorites, so far…
1. LAKE BLED, SLOVENIA
This was my view, once upon a time, when I was writing at Lake Bled. You can see the castle rising from the mist, perched on the rocky ledge. My inspiration for Professor Strejan’s castle in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES.
This lake, that I came to as a child, just ten years old, and then as a teenager, vowing that I would come back and live here, and low and behold, I did as an adult. My daughter is half Slovene. I lived here when it was part of communist Yugoslavia and I still consider it my second home and visit often. I have many dear friends here and it is a place I always feel welcome. What a treasure.
2. FEZ, MOROCCO
This most breathtaking view of Fez has a special place in my heart. After one month in the Sahara Desert without hot water, or even a real shower ever, or proper heating (don’t get me started), my friend Lux and I escaped on the night bus to Fez, where we found the most fabulous hotel in the Medina and climbed our way to the top to sit and drink martinis and be inspired, her in her art and me in my writing.
What’s not to love about writing in a room like this, in the heart of the Medina?
3. LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND
This is Ouchy, near Lausanne, Switzerland, on Lake Geneva. The little pink building towards the left is where I stayed with my daughter and my niece. I was working on my childhood memoir, Into the World, and had traveled all this way to visit the 17th century castle I had lived in as a child; chateau d’Echendens, on a hill above the city. In the mornings I ran along the lake side and the day we went to visit the castle…well, it was as if I was back there again as a child, running through the streets of the village after school, being chased by the children, who wanted to fight me and my sister, because they were convinced we came from the land of “Zorro,” since it was the only American TV show, besides Perdue dans la Space (Lost in Space). My sister and I would climb over the castle wall and peer back and taunt them.
4. DJERASSI ARTISTS RETREAT, BIG SUR, CALIFORNIA, USA
This is the view from my time at Djerassi in Northern California, where I spent one week living in a pod-like room with this amazing view, and working on Key of Mystery, book I in the Night Angels Chronicles.
5. ISTANBUL, TURKEY
And I suppose you could say my favorite place ever, the penthouse terrace on the steep little street, just off Istiklal Cadessi, in Beyuglu, Istanbul. From here, I could watch the ships come and go on the Bosporus, the knife that slices through the East and the West, the inspiration for Into the World and the Night Angels Chronicles.
6. MARTHA’S VINEYARD, UNITED STATES
I guess they are all favorite spots. This is Martha’s Vineyard, where I have been three times as a writer’s resident at Noepe. I think I will keep returning. There is something magical about this island in October when all the tourists are gone, the shops close for the winter and it is just the ghosts of the past.
7. LAKE ARENAL, COSTA RICA
Where I spent one month of bliss, in Costa Rica, writing every day. First, in a house overlooking Lake Arenal, then at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, right beneath the active volcano, and last, on the coast, the sunsets held inside of me forever.
8. SAHARA DESERT, MOROCCO
Here is the view from my monkish room in the Sahara Desert, in Morocco, where I spent one month writing. It was not an easy time. But the magic is apparent. Birds were my constant companion, flying in and out of the open window.
9. SEDONA AND PHOENIX, ARIZONA, USA
Sedona and Phoenix, where I spend quite a lot of time, visiting my son and his partner, and writing, writing! These are both views from my rooms where I write.
10. OJAI, CALIFORNIA, USA
Closest to home, and what feels most like home, is Ojai. I go here on many weekends just to get away and write and see a peaceful perspective. The horse always says hello to me.
11. TYRONE GUTHRIE CENTRE, IRELAND
Here, the most brooding and mystical place, where I must return, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, in Ireland. This was my view from my bedroom window. This was and is pure magic.
12. HAMBIDGE CENTER, GEORGIA, USA
And here, the little cabin I called my own while a resident at the Hambidge Center in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia. My very own cabin, where I was free to dream and create.
Most appropriate to end with the street that I walked up and down, to and from my penthouse flat in Istanbul. I would return there in a second. I think Istanbul, so far, is my favorite city, and my most city to write. I would say Ireland, so far, is my most inspiring countryside.
I say, SO FAR, because who knows what my favorite will be tomorrow?