Friday, April 19, 2013

BLOG TOUR: 24 Bones by Michael F. Stewart

Thanks to Bewitching Book Tours for hosting this blog tour. I have the author of 24 Bones, Michael F. Stewart, here talking about writing. Welcome!


Writing Exotic Locales

So you want to give your writing a little extra flair, or perhaps you're penning an international thriller; whatever your reasons, you need to research your setting. More than that, you need to give your work an air of verisimilitude. Go for it. Travel research is worth the effort, both for your book and for personal enjoyment. I get more out of travel for writing than I do for personal reasons. The main reason is the research that I do before I even set foot on a plane. I researched 24 BONES for several months before I traveled to Egypt. It made the experience very rich indeed.

The more you know about a locale before you travel there, the more you’ll get out of it.

You can learn a lot from Google though. Seriously, between soundscapes, images, video, recipes--to give a sense of taste--international news for a sense of politics and language, really you're only missing the senses of touch and smell, many of which can be implied. For instance, what's the smell of Jacaranda or Bougainvillea? I dunno, but walking through a Cairene garden might conjure these scents, right?

So, yes, I think you can do a lot of travel from your laptop, but there are some distinct advantages to feet on the ground. Actually visiting the location gives you a strong sense of space, the distances between locations, the ‘air’ of a setting, the insects in the grass, the prickle of heat, how the asphalt absorbs the sun.

You’ll never really understand why Indonesians eat with their right hands until you’ve had to wipe your butt with your left.

And I never would have come up with the scene in 24 BONES when Pharaoh is levitating on the sound generated by the hidden chambers within the King’s Chamber. I don't know what possessed me, really, but it started when I arrived early to visit the Great Pyramid. For a special few minutes I was the only one inside. Within the King’s Chamber I noticed that every sound reverberated powerfully. I had researched the resonance of the chamber but being there was entirely different. So, checking over my shoulder, looking down into the Grand Gallery to ensure I was alone, I then clambered inside the rose granite sarcophagus, and began to hum.

Nothing short of magical. It was what I came for; what all the research, the work had led to, the moment of the novel's climax.

I do have one tip, aside from doing all of your research in advance, so that you know where your gaps are and can focus on the specifics, the small things you can never glean from Google like how the women sit on scooters, or the music some car brakes make, or the constant frenetic honking along Cairo’s ring road. The second tip is to go alone; loneliness puts you out there with nothing better to do but work on your book and forces you to connect with locals. They'll be the best conduit to understanding their culture and will show you places and experiences as only a local can.

How else would you find this?


About the Author
After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.

Find the author:

24 Bones

Every five hundred years the phoenix dies.

Samiya, born-into-shadow, is soon to battle her born-into-light brother. Abandoned by their parents, neither wishes to play the preordained role of beast and hero. When their loved ones are taken hostage, they are forced to follow the path laid out in myth, culminating in a battle first fought six thousand years ago in ancient Cairo. A mythic clash where one defeats the other and both become gods.

To break free from their fates, Samiya and her brother must unravel a mystery twisted by cults, greed, and magic. But myth is a powerful force and failure to live up to it may not only destroy their lives but the lives of the ones they love most.

When the phoenix dies, the only certainty is flames.

“Terrific! A successful blend of genres, complex and fascinating characters, and loads of suspense make 24 Bones a must-read.” Nate Kenyon, bestselling author of The Reach, Prime, Bloodstone, and The Bone Factory.

***Up for grabs at this tour stop are 2 copies of 24 Bones. Enter via the Rafflecopter below!***

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I think it would be fun to write about exotic locations! You get to go and visit and do a whole bunch of research. It sounds like so much fun!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    mestith at gmail dot com

  2. That is one particularly freaky picture there. All that amazing travel must just fire up the imagination.