As many of you might know, I’m headed off to Fontevraud Abbey in France (where Adele grew up) and to Trondheim, Norway (Rorik’s home and site of much of the action in Odin’s End.

So it’s a research trip for me – much longed for, much debated, but now with a few requests for full manuscripts, definitely much needed. I’ve done about as much as I can with my books and research articles and emails, and need to talk to a few experts at Fontevraud, Sverresborg, and Nidaros Cathedral.

I got a huge surprise when I shared my intentions with a few folks. One person laughed and said, “It’ll be funny if you do all that and then don’t sell the book.”

Excuse me? I was totally shocked that someone would actually say this, rather than the more enthusiastic “Go for it!” or “I’m happy for you!” But OK – if you look at it from a strictly business sense, then maybe they have a point. But this is more than just “business” to me.

I’ve managed to do a lot of traveling – I’ve gazed up in amazement at the Brandenburg Gate, I’ve laughed with and kissed kilted strangers on New Years’ Eve in Edinburgh, I’ve attended the millenium proms in London and drunk gluhwein in Hanover. I’ve been buffeted by winter winds on the shore of Loch Ness, and I’ve stood staring at the lights glimmering above the water in Amsterdam. And I’ve  – well, seen and done so many more wonderful things that I don’t have the space to tell you.

The thing is – with each of these, I met amazing, fascinating people, each of whom were on an amazing, fascinating journey of their own. And with each trip, with each new person I talked to, my world got bigger.

So – perhaps my detractor is right. I might take this research trip, learn a lot about my subject, and still never sell Odin’s End. Entirely possible, though I’m working my ass off to create a different reality.

But regardless, I’ll take my trip. I’ll see incredible places, and talk to even more amazing people – and I’ll be a better person for it.

So for each of you who might ever doubt, who might calculate the time and the money and waver – go where your writing takes you. Widen your world.