I'm an avid world traveller. I've now been to about 134 countries, and I've lived in 19 places across the planet. Why have I spent over ten years never living in one country, and not for longer than a few months? Because I'm dedicated to my principles. I believe that if you want to write something truly representative of a foreign culture, mentality, or lifestyle, you really have to live that life. When I was trying to capture tribal life in in We of the forsaken world..., I stayed with an indigenous community in Manu Jungle in Peru, sleeping in their hammocks, eating alongside them fruits and vegetables from the jungle. In that same way, if I wanted to set a story in a random part of the world, I would want it to be a place I have at the very least visited, interacted with people, or observed.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of the way we live. I'm lucky to have been able to travel before it all occurred. Not every story of Girar is set in a country or region or city I've visited. For such places, I tried really hard to use the Internet to get in touch with locals, using websites like Goodreads and Couchsurfing to find beta-readers. I also did my best to research what I could.
Nonetheless, a lot of myself has gone into Girar. These stories don't necessarily represent my family, nor do they fully represent the countries they are set in, but in merging my love for my parents with my love for the world, I truly believe I have created something worth reading.