To access all our features

Open the Goodpods app
Close icon

Catnip For A Novelist. Traveling For Book Research With Thriller Author Layton Green

Books And Travel

05/14/20 • 36 min

Share icon

There are certain places in the world that are so full of stories, they become ‘catnip for a novelist,‘ as Layton Green talks about in this interview. We delve into the lure of far-off cities, why the occult draws us both, and how to turn a trip to a new place into a book.

In the introduction, I talk about my own experience of traveling for book research and how I find story ideas in new places including Amsterdam, New Orleans, and Bath, plus how synchronicity often happens when I delve deeper into history, culture, and religion.

Layton Green is the award-nominated, international bestselling author of the Dominic Grey thrillers, as well as the Blackwood Saga fantasy series and loads of other books.

  • Researching The Summoner in Zimbabwe
  • Why occult and religion continue to inspire stories
  • Planning travel around book ideas
  • Tracking ideas while traveling
  • Writing about a place as an outsider
  • Some of our favorite graveyards, cemeteries, and museums
  • Why New Orleans inspires so many stories
  • Recommended books with a sense of place

You can find Layton at

Transcription of interview with Layton Green

Joanna: Layton Green is the award-nominated international bestselling author of the Dominic Grey thrillers, as well as the ‘Blackwood Saga’ fantasy series and loads of other books. Welcome, Layton.

Layton: Hi, Joanna. So nice to talk again.

Joanna: Oh, absolutely. So I wanted to ask first, so I first got to know you, I read The Summoner when it came out years ago now, and I knew I wanted more of your thrillers and we met later on.

Tell us about the origins of that book with your travels in Africa.

Layton: I will. And first off, I’m a fan of yours as well. I think it’s almost funny how our interest in fiction coincide over the years. When you came out with your...what was it ‘Mapwalker,’ is it the name of that series?

Joanna: Yes, ‘Mapwalker.’

Layton: I was like, ‘Did she just take that from my head?’ I mean, that is ridiculous. I love your ideas. But back to The Summoner. That was my first, really...not the first novel that I wrote, but the first one that came out. And after I had written my first novel called The Letterbox which is back out now, I just was thinking, I wanted to write a book that actually sold.

I was naturally drawn to mysteries and thrillers and I thought, ‘What would be cool and different and interesting?’ And my fiancée at the time, my wife is Zimbabwean, and I had been doing some travel there. And I thought, ‘Not a lot of people go to Zimbabwe,’ and I am a huge traveler, as you know. And I thought, ‘Okay. I’ll write about that.’ It was turned out to be a strength and a weakness. A weakness in that I had so many editors love the book but say, ‘No one’s interested in Zimbabwe so we can’t publish this book.’ And it turns out that they were kind of right. But it was also a strength. People who did like the book were the people that do love to travel to exotic places and were fascinated by that new culture.

So I am a traveler that is bored by going to the same place — I won’t say twice, I do like to do some repeat — but I really am intrigued by new and different cultures. And I consider Zimbabwe a little bit Africa light, but it was my first time to Africa. And I say that because the English were there for a long time and are still there and English is widely spoken, and the streets of Harare are wide and beautiful and it’s not a hard place to go, honestly, but then you go into the countryside, and you see the villages and the exotic flora and fauna. And there’s actually some really cool ruins there from the Shona culture. Think they’re around 800AD and the Portuguese claim they discovered them, but obviously, they were there for a very long time before that. So I think it was my first time to Africa and I was very excited to write about it and just explore that culture.

Zimbabwe. Photo by Layton Green

Joanna: And you also wrote about the occult in the area, or I guess, the local religion in the book. So tell us about that.

Layton: Okay....


Episode comments


out of 5

Star filled grey IconStar filled grey IconStar filled grey IconStar filled grey IconStar filled grey Icon
Star filled grey IconStar filled grey IconStar filled grey IconStar filled grey Icon
Star filled grey IconStar filled grey IconStar filled grey Icon
Star filled grey IconStar filled grey Icon
Star filled grey Icon

1 Rating

Star iconStar iconStar iconStar iconStar icon

eg., What part of this podcast did you like? Ask a question to the host or other listeners...


Generate a badge

Get a badge for your website that links back to this

Select type & size
Open dropdown icon