Giveaways Inspirations and Influences

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Morgan Matson on Inspirations & Influences

Today, are super excited to be the next stop on the official Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour UK blog tour with a guest post by debut author Morgan Matson on the inspirations and influences for writing the book.

Please give it up for Morgan Matson!

The question that I seem to get asked most often is, “Did you really take the road trip in Amy & Roger?” And the answer is yes.

I have always loved road trips. When I first got my license, growing up in Connecticut, I’d always feel the urge to go to the next town I could drive to in an hour or so… if for no other reason than it was there and I hadn’t been yet. I went to college in California, and so my first cross-country road trip involved the reverse of Amy and Roger’s journey – a trip from Connecticut to California to get my car across the country. That trip was my first taste of just how fun an extended road trip could be, and just how big and beautiful and unknown to me most of America was. Five years later, as I was moving back to the East Coast, I needed to get the car across the country again. And this was the time I began thinking of how a road trip might encompass more than just a physical journey. That maybe it could tell the story of an emotional journey as well.

I wrote the first draft of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour drawing on these first two road trip experiences, but with the knowledge that I wanted these characters to go places that I hadn’t yet been – Graceland, Kentucky, Colorado. So there were a lot of holes in that first draft, as I knew I couldn’t write about a place until I’d experienced it. So I turned in the first draft to my editor, flew to Los Angeles, rented a car, and started to trace the path I’d written about in the book. I told the rental company I would have the car for ten days – two weeks, max.

I was on the road for a month.

(And the rental car got very expensive.)

Because that’s the thing about road trips – even when you think you know where you’re going, the journey has a way of changing on you. I ended up taking detours, side roads, and basically going away from my own itinerary. I visited an old friend in South Carolina and had amazing barbecue, and my grandmother in Wichita, and ate of at NuWay Burgers – which, of course, made it into the book. Much to my shock, I was forced to get off the road early when it started snowing in Colorado (even though it was May and it was not supposed to snow in May, in my experience). A lot of what made it into the final version of the book was because of experiences on this road trip – like the Loneliest Road in America. This is an incredibly desolate road in Nevada that’s famously deserted – and I found it totally by accident. Like Amy and Roger in the book, I headed out of Yosemite National Park the opposite way of most people, and ended up on it, not knowing what I’d gotten myself into. It was terrifying while I was driving it – I was alone, getting spotty cell service, and had no idea how to change a tire – but after I’d found civilization again, I knew immediately that I had to go in the book.

I loved taking the research road trip across the country. A lot of the songs that I listened to ended up in Roger’s playlists from those places. And the pictures in the book are pictures I took while on that trip. The actual road trip I took influenced the book hugely, and made me realize that I’m actually a writer who needs to experience something before I can write about it honestly – which means I likely won’t be writing fantasy books any time soon.

About the Blog Tour:

Make sure to check out the other cool stops on the tour:

Giveaway details:

We have three copies of the book to give away. For a chance to win leave a comment here telling us about YOUR most epic detour. It can relate to a roadtrip buddy, snack, music or place (and make sure to share it on Twitter with other readers too using the hashtag #MyEpicDetour). Contest is open to UK addresses only and will run till Saturday 16th July 11:59PM (PST). Good luck!

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  • Katie Hackett
    July 10, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Never really had one sole outstanding epic detour. Usually follow the straight and narrow path in life 🙂 Closest thing to a detour I ever took was in Wales as a kid, wandering around searching through caves of leaves and branches. Never knew what I’d come across.

  • Nikki Egerton
    July 11, 2011 at 1:58 am

    What a cool post 🙂
    I’d have to say my most epic detour was probably dropping out of college at 17 to get married and have 3 kids!
    I’m back on the road now though, studying an English Lit degree part time.
    Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  • Claire M
    July 11, 2011 at 1:59 am

    My most epic detour has been choosing my A levels, I haven’t actually done them yet but the ones I’ve chosen will take me down a completely different route to before. I’m hoping that this coming year will bring many epic happenings, and if there’s a detour involved — may it be epic!

    Thank you for running this giveaway, I’ve been desperate to get my hands on this book for a long while now!

  • michelle
    July 11, 2011 at 1:59 am

    My most epic detour is putting myself back into college, while still working full time, to add on to my qualification that I already have and then have more opportunities available to me in regards to my job

  • janicu
    July 11, 2011 at 2:00 am

    When I was a kid my parents would take us on a road trip every summer. We lived overseas but we’d come to the States for a couple weeks in July or August and maybe a week of that would be road tripping all over the US. I have a lot of stories about my dad getting lost taking the scenic route and my mom getting mad. Then dad would explain how he knew exactly where he was because of the position of the sun and blah blah blah. All three kids are now excellent map readers.

    My parents where also against having the radio on in these long, long road trips (three kids in the back seat, no entertainment). This was so dad could “concentrate” and get used to driving on the other side of the road. The one time we had the radio on, my dad got tired of it and lowered the volume all the way down so he could “see where he was going”, whatever that means. After he turned off the car, the radio was still on. So the next day the car wouldn’t start. This became their validation for “NO radio for you”. To this day we’ve all been trained to “shut up and look out the window”, and we all have stories of people wondering why we’re SO QUIET when we’re in a long road trip.

  • janicu
    July 11, 2011 at 2:01 am

    (P.S. The above was not an entry as I am not in the U.K. — I was just reminiscing on old times). 🙂

  • Alwyn
    July 11, 2011 at 2:01 am

    I’d LOVE to win a copy of this, I flipped through the first few pages in Waterstone’s Piccadilly today but had NO cash on me which was clearly an error!

    My Most Epic Detour was probably that time in Ireland my Dad thought ‘walking path’ was only a suggestion, especially since it didn’t matter if a rental car got trashed. We ended up hitting a large rock getting stuck in a ditch wedged against a fence. It was rainging and while we tried to get the car out the cows advanced menacingly from their field to investigate. Finally a random potato farmer came along and we asked him (shame faced) if he could pull us out.

  • Hayley
    July 11, 2011 at 2:03 am

    My most epic detour was when I was on holiday in Florida with my family, and we missed a turn-off for a boat trip we’d booked. Not used to American roads, we told ourselves “Oh, no worries, we’ll just take the next junction and we’ll still be there on time.” The next junction was 20 miles away, so we ended up driving much further into swamp-land than we’d ever intended to.
    I tend to have odd detours in thought, but I think that’s territory best left undisturbed.

  • Audra Holtwick
    July 11, 2011 at 2:04 am

    I agree with the first response my detour was when i left nursing school to have my 3 boys.

  • Alpa
    July 11, 2011 at 6:05 am

    My epic detour was driving for 3 days and nights in wales and discovering remote places with a bunch of friends…best tour ever 🙂

  • Alpa
    July 11, 2011 at 6:08 am

    My epic detour was driving for 3 days and nights in wales and discovering remote places with a bunch of friends…best tour ever 😀

  • Jania
    July 11, 2011 at 9:28 am

    This sounds like a book I would really like. My most epic detour happened when I was working as a reporter. I was sent to this little country church, where road signs became numbers in the middle of corn fields. This led to me getting completely lost and driving around the most beauitful countryside ever for an hour.

    I managed to make it to my appointment on time with no idea how I did it and not really caring because I was so relaxed and happy.

  • Stephanie
    July 12, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Great article, ladies, I will definitely be adding this title to my TBR list! I wish I could enter the contest but I don’t live in the UK. However, I do have a detour story.

    I was 15 and had just gotten my learner’s permit, and I had a good friend, 4 years older, who’d often let me practice my driving in her old, green ’79 Pinto car that she’d named ‘Panama’ after the Van song of the same name. We loved to cruise the back roads of the tiny, rural FL town we both lived in just to see where they’d go, we also loved to TALK. Well, that day we winded for 3 hours through some pretty countryside when one of us noticed a sign of a town we’d never heard of St. George Island – turns out we’d traveled almost 150 miles from home – talk about panic! This was back before everyone carried cellphones (’83) and I figured I’d be in a lot of trouble, but, to my surprise, when we got home turns out no one had been worried, it was kind of a let-down. :mrgreen:

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