On the trail of The Silver Spider, Part 3: Scouting a location

My upcoming novel, The Silver Spider, takes place in Panama, an amazing country of contrasting landscapes and cultures. From the indigenous Kuna people of the San Blas Islands to the ancestors of West Indians who arrived to build the canal, from Spanish colonial forts to the engineering marvel that is the Panama Canal - talk about inspiration!

In 2011-2012, we spent three months cruising both coasts of Panama aboard our 35 foot sailboat before heading out across the Pacific (see our blog on www.namaniatsea.net). Though I wasn’t consciously scouting locations for a novel at the time, our experiences in Panama eventually inspired The Silver Spider. Where better than the crossroads of two oceans to interweave the stories of a seventeenth century Spanish soldier, an engineer working on the Panama Canal in 1912, and modern-day sailors?

Specifically, locations in The Silver Spider include the San Blas Islands (turquoise water, palms, tropical paradise), historic Portobelo, locations in and around Colon / Cristobal / Shelter Bay at the Caribbean side of the canal, the canal itself, Balboa / Ancon / Panama City on the Pacific side, as well as the nearby island of Taboga and Las Perlas (a beautiful island chain forty miles off the coast). Portobelo almost takes on the role of a character in the story, and all the locations figure heavily into the unfolding action. It’s my goal to write a novel that appeals to those who have been to Panama themselves (whether by land or by sea) as well as armchair travelers who enjoy a good yarn. I’m hoping for a 2015 publication date - stay tuned!