Authors on the Bench

December’s Question

Any traveling “detours” that drive your companions crazy? Do they ever end up in your books?

Diane A.S. Stuckart: I much prefer to travel by car than any other way, and I love those ubiquitous roadside markers that commemorate births and deaths and battles and so on. If it were up to me, I’d stop at every single one along the trip route. My husband, on the other hand, hates those markers with a passion, mostly because his dad had that same compulsion as me and insisted on stopping at every one they passed during family road trips. And so, we compromise – I get to stop at one or two markers a day, as long as we’re making good time, but we bypass the others. Sigh!

Maggie Toussaint: I love the ticky-tacky souvenir shops in every tourist destination. For many years I collected refrigerator magnets from places we’d been. Later I switched to coffee mugs, as I didn’t need one more magnet. Coffee mugs are great for beverages, of course, but also for pens, short flowers, toothbrushes, loose change, and so on. I’ve also been known to try on hats in the souvenir shops.

Lois Winston: I’m a sucker for cupcake bakeries. Wherever I go, I look for them. If I find one, of course, I buy a dozen. Filled cupcakes are the best. Anastasia has an incurable sweet tooth, which is often satisfied by her coworker, food editor Cloris McWerther, who is also her best friend and sometimes plays Watson to Anastasia’s Sherlock. FYI, the most delicious cupcakes ever can be found at House of Cupcakes in Princeton, NJ. 😉

Terry Ambrose: On a trip, I need bathroom breaks. That usually equates to a stop at a Starbucks for coffee. While my wife doesn’t mind a stop at Starbies, she usually draws the line at places with porta-potties. Her usual comment is, “That’s easy for you.” Hey, I get it. Biology is biology. There are no two ways around that!

Nancy J. Cohen: If there’s a country store selling unique local items or a historical house that offers tours, I would stop. A winery might be worth a detour if it’s nearby. Everything becomes fodder for research.

Debra H. Goldstein: Most of my traveling companions are exercise nuts. Consequently, when I look for a building’s elevator, they all roll their eyes. In my books, Sarah Blair is like me in that she finds the kitchen more frightening than murder, but she doesn’t shy away from walking up a flight of stairs.

Cheryl Hollon: My husband and I love to track down unusual neon signs when we’re on a road trip. We’ve been to the Neon Museum in Las Vegas several times and have recently discovered another one in Cincinnati. Ferg’s Sports Bar and Grill, a treasured local watering hole in our hometown of St. Petersburg, has saved quite a few from demolition and used them to lure customers into taking Instagram photos. It’s a clever marketing strategy.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN:  Any traveling “detours” that drive your companions crazy?