Anne Winkler-Morey stops by Travel Writing World to answer a few questions about her career as a writer. She is the author of Allegiance to Winds and Waters: Bicycling the Political Divides of the United States (2022).
How did you first become interested in writing travel books?
I had been writing social commentary for decades when I embarked on an epic bicycle trip, 12,000 miles around the contiguous United States. I knew I would have to write about the experience. As a historian I was interested in documenting both time and place.
How did you manage to get your first travel book published?
I took ten years to write this first book, whittling down a thousand pages of road stories and learning how to write a long narrative with popular appeal. By the time I got my manuscript to the place where I was ready to get it out, I was worried about its timeliness, so I went with a hybrid publisher, Wise Ink.
What is your writing process like, both on the road and at home? And how long does it take you to write a book inclusive of the research, travel, writing, and editing phases?
See question 1. I plan on taking another bike trip into the heartland of the US. My writing process is much quicker now and so I will give myself one intense year to get that book done post- trip. On the trip I tried to write every day. I used both a notebook and a computer because I did not always have access to electricity. I did much research after the trip, about the places we traveled. For my next book I am already doing research beforehand.
What books or authors influence or inform your own work?
I am inspired by travel writers like William Least Heat Moon and Tony Horowitz, but I also look to the work of people like Robin Wall Kimmerer and Louise Erdrich who write so beautifully about place.
What advice would you give to someone interested in writing a travel book?
Take great notes. Take photos when you can’t take notes. Keep your senses open to the mistake that leads to the best story.
What is so appealing about the travel book as a literary form?
Well, it moves! There is a built-in pace to these works. Painting pictures with words of real places is inspiring to the armchair, as well as the actual traveler. Such books also are historical documents of a place.
Why write about travel?
Traveling opens your mind, allows you to see things from multiple angles, and can you lead to question your shibboleths and assumptions. It is so important to share those insights with others.
Anne Winkler-Morey stops by Travel Writing World to answer a few questions about her career as a writer. She is the author of Allegiance to Winds and Waters: Bicycling the Political Divides of the United States (2022). You can find out more about her and her work on her website.
If you enjoyed this interview with Anne Winkler-Morey, you might enjoy our other author profiles for more behind-the-scenes interviews with authors of travel books.