East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Permanently dead

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I am putting together the preliminary information and notes for a story I will write this week, because Mr Publisher and Mr Editor are waiting for it, and we do not want to keep them waiting, do we?

The story is an adventure thriller with some urban fantasy elements (proper urban fantasy, not vampires shagging werewolves), and it’s planned to develop across a fair portion of Europe as the main character keeps one step ahead of her antagonists.
A pursuit story, in other words.

For this sort of thing, considering I have a pretty detailed outline already approved by the editor, I will need a few things:

  • a location in the Carpathians for the opening chapters
  • plans and photos for a believable Carpathian castle/mansion/resort
  • a bus/train route from said location to Paris, with times, stops, changes etc.
  • quick-and-dirty details on the way points, for color

I am also looking for photo references for my main characters, but that will have to wait.

The web is of course the answer to a writer’s prayers in this case – Google Maps and Wikipedia are a great starting point, and then websites like Rome2Rio can give us travel times and costs, and tourist information pages provide the rest.

So, after a quick search, I decide my story will start in the Eastern Carpathhians, on the Ukraine side of the mountains.

The main city in the region is Rakhiv, a small town in the Zakarpattia Oblast that fits perfectly my purposes. Wikipedia informs me that

Rakhiv, or more precisely, the village Dilove located close to it, is one of several European locations vying for the symbolic right to be Geographical centre of Europe.

Isn’t that a neat bit to be placed in a story?

But there’s another bit on Wikipedia that really makes my day. This one:

Mind you, not just any dead link. A Permanent dead link – like they put a stake through its heart, and then stuffed its mouth with garlic and chopped its head off. This one is not coming back.
Now I know I chose the right place.

Also, it’s 15 to 20 hours by bus from Rakhiv to Vienna, via Budapest and Bratislava – a nice first leg for my character’s run. Now I just need a few photos, and then I’ll be able to look up a suitable Carpathian-looking castle.
But I have just to drop the Rakhiv name in a search engine to come up with this thing here down below – and if that’s not the epitome of the tacky faux chateau, I don’t know what it is. Bingo!

Well, I actually know what it is – the blog that carries this photo, Pamirhighway, identifies the site as the building works for a new tourist resort. Absolutely perfect.

This is going to be fun.
I’ll keep you posted.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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