Today I am so happy to host Maggie Hall here on Ticket to Anywhere and learn a little bit about why she chose the setting she did for her debut novel, The Conspiracy of Us (13 January 2015, Putnam Juvenile). When I first learned that this book was set in Paris I became so excited for it. I took my first trip to this amazing city in October 2014 and have every intention of returning to it one day. I also spent a little time in the Istanbul airport and while airports aren’t my jam I would one day like to spend time in this fascinating sounding city. The Conpiracy of Us sounds also sounds fascinating and after reading Maggie’s post below I want to read it even more!
A fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance–perfect for fans of Ally Carter
Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.
To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family–but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she’s falling in love with.
I knew from the beginning that CONSPIRACY would be set abroad. It makes sense for the story, of course, since the twelve families of the Circle are scattered around the globe, but setting a story in a city unfamiliar to the main character automatically makes it more of an adventure, too. Avery, my heroine, had never been out of the country before the start of this book, so I wanted settings that would be really exciting and striking for a first-time traveler.
Of course, I immediately thought of Paris. Paris is the cliche “best place to travel” for a reason. You can walk down any random street in that city, look up, and you’re looking at a building older than the United States as a country. You’ll follow your nose to a crepe stand, and realize your life hasn’t been complete until you eat a thin sheet of pastry wrapped around a scoop of Nutella and cooked by the side of the road. You’ll almost be run over by a Vespa driven by the most chic older lady you’ve ever seen, and you’ll laugh it off. You’ll eat bread and cheese for dinner, sitting with hundreds of well-dressed French people on the banks of the Seine river, and never want to eat anything but bread and cheese again. And then you’ll look up and see the Eiffel Tower in the distance, and wonder if you’re actually in a movie, because this place isn’t real, is it? That’s Paris. It’s magical.
And then there’s Istanbul. It’s such an interesting city—it’s on the very edge of Europe, and in some ways, it’s very European. It’s as fashionable as the big European cities, and has a feel much like some of them in ways—but if you look even slightly under the surface, there’s a side to it that no European city has, because it’s also kind of in the Middle East, with the rich traditions, colors, food, and feeling of that culture that is so different to most Western travelers. There are kebab stands on every corner in some neighborhoods. There are ladies in all manner of lovely headscarves, and also ladies in miniskirts. There are breathtakingly beautiful mosques that sound the call to prayer all through the day, and also lovely churches. Istanbul is really a study in contrast, and it makes it such a lively and intriguing city.
To me, travel means seeing the world differently. Seeing how people in other countries and other cultures go about their lives, and realizing that the world is not as small as it sometimes seems to you. Of course, when I travel, I am not usually running for my life like Avery is! But even for someone in a situation like hers, having her story go on in a place that’s as foreign to her as the revelations she’s learning along the way adds an intensity—and a beauty, I think—to her journey.
Check out the other stops on the tour
Effortlessly Reading – 1/13
Two Chicks on Books – 1/14
Ticket to Anywhere – 1/15
Mostly YA Obsessed – 1/16
Reading is My Treasure – 1/17
A Dream Within a Dream – 1/18
The Midnight Garden – 1/19
Seeing Double In Neverland – 1/20
Jessabella Reads – 1/22
The Book Cellar – 1/25
The Books Buzz – 1/29