Always Hunting for the Next Story

No matter where I go, I’m always thinking of a future Jaspa’s Journey book. Whether it’s a possible location for Jaspa’s next adventure, or a promising storyline to be transplanted to another place, I’m always on the lookout for inspiration.

And our recent trip to Cuba was no exception.

Rather than going to the usual cookie-cutter beach resort, we instead spent our time exploring the cities, towns and countryside. Along the way, we got an idea of how real Cubans live and their daily challenges, while discovering the island’s history, landscapes and wildlife. All of which provided no end of possible sites and stories.

Old Havana from the water [photo: Rich Meyrick]

Potential places for Jaspa and his friends to have Cuban adventures are almost limitless. Take Havana alone… For one, there’s the nightly canon ceremony and firing from Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, overlooking the city. For another, there’s the cramped streets of Old Havana, with all its magnificent and tumbledown buildings.

Loading the 9pm canon at Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña [photo: Rich Meyrick]

And tell me Bisckits couldn’t get himself into all sorts of scrapes with those classic old 1950s cars, for which Cuba is so famous. Or on the ferry that crosses the harbour.

Rich & Sue posing in a classic convertible in Havana

Getting away from the capital, Jaspa and the gang could explore the stunning landscapes we hiked, or the ghosts of abandoned plantations we visited. They could have dangerous encounters at the waterfalls where we swam. Or stumble like we did, through the historic town of Trinidad in a blackout!

The UNESCO World Heritage landscape around Viñales [photo: Rich Meyrick]

And there’s all sorts of potential for local Ses characters, thanks to the wildlife we discovered on our trip… including the World’s smallest bird (the Bee Hummingbird) and a cave full of bats (not forgetting the crabs that prey on them!).

Bat cave near Playa Giron on the Bay of Pigs [photo: Rich Meyrick]

So does this mean you can expect a Cuban Jaspa’s Journey at some point in the future? Probably not. Honestly, it would be difficult to write a meaningful story set in Cuba without mentioning the prickly subjects of the country’s poverty and politics. And perhaps Jaspa’s Journey isn’t really the place for that.

Many buildings in Old Havana remember better days [photo: Rich Meyrick]

On the other hand, “Never say never!”

The above post is taken from this month’s Fiction Meets Fact Newsletter. To receive future newsletters in their entirety (together with a Free Jaspa’s Journey Booklet including the short story Freefall over London and Jaspa’s Journey images to colour), click on the image below.

Upper middle grade readers can now travel the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first four – The Great Migration, The Pride of London, Jaspa’s Waterloo, and The Hermit of Kennecott – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.


About Jaspa

Jaspa's Journey is a series of award-winning, travel-based adventure novels for strong middle grade readers by Rich Meyrick. Join the Adventure! Read the books! Follow Jaspa’s ongoing Journeys at Let's explore this amazing world together! And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
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