The view of the sea from a hilltop. A beautiful place.

How do you write about a place you’ve never been to? How do you convey the distinctive feeling and atmosphere of somewhere unfamiliar?

That’s the problem I’ve been facing these past weeks while plodding away at the third book in our series, Darkness, Set us Free. I have seen a fair amount of our beautiful country (it was only two weeks ago that I explored the Otago region in the South Island), but recently, our characters have found themselves in territory I have never been to. And embarrassingly, it’s not too far from home.

I’ve read all of DOC’s reports on the area to try and get a feel of the terrain and obstacles my characters might encounter. And there’s only so much scouring of Google Earth one can do. Additionally, Trip Advisor reviews can only go so far.

My back-up plan was to spend a weekend there, hike the trails, and get a good feel of the place.  Unfortunately, with the seriousness of Covid-19, it looks like I probably won’t have the chance to explore this area anytime soon.

For now, I may have to take some creative license until I get the chance to visit this place in person! It will be interesting to see how my description in the book compares with real life.

Have you ever had to write about a real place that you’ve never been to? How did you do it?

Let me know in the comments below!



It seems like an age ago that I last wrote a blog post! So much has happened in the world these past couple weeks, and I’m sure much more will happen in the coming days.

While I have been doing some labwork, most of my time has been spent been frantically preparing for when Covid-19 impacts my workplace. So far, for staff at least, it’s business as usual. But as it seems to be everywhere in the world, that could change tomorrow. In fact, as I am writing this, our government has asked us to restrict all non-essential domestic travel. The world we live in right now is a crazy, crazy place. And these are unprecedented times.

On the bright side, despite the looming inevitability of having to stop working in the lab for an extended period of time, I have been putting my chemistry lab skills to good use. Following WHO’s directions for making hand sanitizer, we have been preparing large batches of it (since it is practically sold out everywhere).

In addition to this, we have been mixing our own disinfectant to ensure our workplace is as clean as it can be. We all have to do our part!

Unfortunately, you might find my lablife posts lacking over the next weeks/months. But I will endeavor to replace my lab goings-on with interesting science articles and facts.

In the meantime, please think about those who are at risk. Wash your hands, listen to the advice coming from health professionals, and be kind to each other. We are all going through this together.