Using Location Experience as Research

As I’m writing the next book in my upcoming Love and Honor series, I have my characters in Kuwait.

It’s important to know as much about an area you’re writing as possible. The Internet has opened up so many doors for authors. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent on Google Earth, “walking” down a street.

But for Kuwait, it’s cool because I’ve been to Kuwait. My husband was in Afghanistan but was sent to Kuwait to take a 2-week long class, so I met him there. While we were there, it was the 20th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait. My husband was with the 101st Airborne during that war and was in the front wave of the liberation force. The population was very pro-American the week I was there.

This is a picture of Gregg with his father and his sister on Easter Sunday 1991 in Kuwait. They were all deployed to Desert Storm in three different Airborne units – 101st Airborne, 82nd Airborne, and 18th Airborne.

Gregg, his father, and his sister

We stayed for a few days in an apartment provided by his company, then his class started and we stayed at a Hilton resort on the beach that had THE.MOST.AMAZING food ever. Like, ever. We talk about it often, and how we’d go back just to stay at that resort and eat.

I’ve driven the streets, shopped the shops, eaten the food, interacted with the populace (while my husband, who is fluent in Arabic, translated).

Hallee in front of one of the 3 malls in Kuwait

We’ve discussed a few times taking a job in that part of the world to let our children experience a different culture, but God’s never opened those doors in a perfect timing kind of way.


  1. No amount of research can replace the tastes and smells of a location, the warmth of a smile, the feel of an atmosphere, the sound of the music of voices of another language — or the feeling of isolation that may result when experiencing life as an outsider. What a wonderful book this next will be with your experience of Kuwait and a positive interaction with the people. Fiction can be a door that not only opens our minds to possibilities of other places, but our hearts as well.

    1. Well said, Susan! I agree.

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