Comparing and contrasting leads to great ideas and validation!
Seems I’ve been doing a lot of confessing over these last few blog posts. Today’s is that I’ve never paid much attention to travel fiction – or books, in general. Other than the Lonely Planet books I consulted when first drafting Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World. When I began writing this novel all the way back in 2004, the Internet was barely into its tweens – and there were no sites like TripAdvisor or Orbitz – and no shared economy platforms like Airbnb or Uber. I have subsequently used these sites for research, and they’ve even made an appearance in the novel because they are so ubiquitous in the life of a world traveler today.
So travel books, not a big thing for me. In putting my big toe into the water of comparison and contrast – checking to see what might be out there that’s at all like Stan – I find loads of travel books I should probably read, and authors’ sites to visit. Though not fiction, the best known contemporary work that perhaps rivals Stan a little, at least in terms of the motivation for the travel, is Elizabeth Gilbert’s runaway hit, Eat Pray Love. (That book has been published and celebrated its 10th anniversary in the time since I started writing Stan, just as a point of reference.)
Of course, there’s the classic Around the World in 80 Days, as well as Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.
When it comes to comparing websites and marketing efforts – there’s another big toe to be dipped. I’ve recently come across Chris Pavone’s site. He’s the NYT best-selling author of the new international thriller (I got that from said website), The Travelers. One thing I like about his site is the drop-down menu with subtopics: About the Book, Excerpt, and Itinerary. I could easily incorporate that into my author website, once that next book comes to fruition. It’s a story about a Foo Fighters tribute band, so the drop-down items could be: About the Book, Excerpt, and Playlist.
Oh – and a little more searching uncovered the one that seems most like Stan. It’s a book by Francois Lelord, titled Hector and the Search for Happiness: A Novel. From the Barnes and Nobel website:
Now a major motion picture starring Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, and Christopher Plummer. The international bestseller with more than two million copies sold.
“Once upon a time there was a young psychiatrist called Hector who was not very satisfied with himself. … And so he decided to take a trip around the world, and everywhere he went he would try to understand what made people happy or unhappy.”
Hector travels from Paris to China to Africa to the United States, and along the way he keeps a list of observations about the people he meets. Combining the winsome appeal of The Little Prince with the inspiring philosophy of The Alchemist, Hector’s journey around the world and into the human soul is entertaining, empowering, and smile-inducing—as winning in its optimism as it is wise in its simplicity.
How excited am I to hear (a) it sold more than 2 million copies and (b) it became a major motion picture. Oh – and it’s book one in a series, something I never thought I’d do. The other titles are Hector and the Secrets of Love and Hector and the Search for Lost Time.
I think I have some reading – and website visiting – to do!
Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.
LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to change the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.