I classify the novel as “travel fiction”. According to Condé Nast Traveler, a fiction travel book is “a book in which a place is as important a character as the protagonist; … it’s a book that has shaped the way we see a certain place; it’s a book whose events and characters could be set nowhere else.” While the characters in Valley of Thracians have been described by an early reviewer as “memorable”, the setting plays a major role in the narrative.
Bulgaria is a scenic country, full of picturesque mountains and quaint villages. The country and its citizens have a burning desire to quickly emerge from an eastern European mentality and catch up with the rest of the world. In my book I highlight some of Bulgaria’s rich history, fascinating culture and customs, and even Bulgarian cuisine.
This is not a travel guide to Bulgaria, yet the story could take place nowhere else. As it does for the main protagonist, who arrives in Sofia on a mission to find his missing grandson, Bulgaria comes alive in the story. Yet descriptions of this off-the-beaten-track destination don’t interfere with the fast-paced nature of the suspense.
As background, my job in Internet marketing was relocated from Tel Aviv to Sofia for two years, 2009-2010. During that time my wife and I traveled extensively around the country, seeing the sights, and learning about Bulgaria’s colorful past. We made many friends and even learned a bit of Bulgarian. Okay, a very small bit of Bulgarian.
Since returning to our permanent home and jobs in Israel, I have devoted my free time to writing about Bulgaria, but in the format of a novel.
I hope readers will not only enjoy reading Valley of Thracians but will take interest in Bulgaria. Visit Bulgaria now, before there are too many tourists!
Originally published on the website of crime & mystery writer Laurence O'Bryan.