In May 2016, my mother and I went to Colorado to visit my sister, and while we were out there, we went to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
This is one of the coolest places I've ever seen, not only because it is a random bit of Sahara between the semi-arid high plains and jagged, still-snowy peaks of the Colorado Rockies, but also for a more personal reason:
This place was taken straight out of my imagination.
My YA series White Stone is set on a desert river surrounded by hills. I looked at a lot of pictures of rivers, desert towns, and sand dunes while writing it, so I didn't exactly make the setting up out of whole cloth, but I didn't know that a place like it actually existed.
It was like someone opened up my brain, created in all ways the desert river I'd imagined for White Stone, and then set me loose to play in it.
How can I describe how amazing it was? The White Stone series has been my main writing project--more than that: my obsession--for years, but I'd never felt closer to it than I did while at the Great Sand Dunes.
It is an unbelievable place, and it was an unbelievable experience. I have no other words for it.
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