“Make Sure You Have a Map” Insider Knowledge

Looking for a bit of insider knowledge about Make Sure You Have a Map? Here are a few fun facts about the book and my writing process:

  • While I travel, I am a creature of habit: all my writings from my travels are written in black or brown Gallery Leather journals. Besides writing in these journals each night when I travel, I also keep small notebooks in my pocket or bag to take notes and keep track of my travel expenses.
  • I write (well, type) on a tiny ASUS netbook, which I first bought before I moved to Colombia in 2011. It has survived not only Caribbean humidity, but the desert heat of the American Southwest, two summers in Alaska, and winter rain in Washington. Most tablets now have bigger screens than my laptop, but it has served me well through all these moves (and two books!).

Bryanna Plog working on Make Sure You Have a Map

  • Favorite drink while writing: Trader Joe’s vanilla and cinnamon tea, served with a bit of milk.
  • Favorite writing soundtrack: anything from a Putumayo world music album. Much of Make Sure You Have a Map was also written while listening to John Legend, Ed Sheeran, and Black Violin. The final edits were mostly done to the Hamilton soundtrack, because American history told through hip-hop is just that awesome.
  • The first story written in the collection was “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” the first draft of which was written for a college writing class in spring 2009.
  • The back cover photo is of my friends Cortney and David on our backpacking trip through the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in Katmai National Park, Alaska. Part of this trip is featured in “Stick to the Trail.”

Back and front cover for Make Sure You Have a Map

  • The cover photo from Make Sure You Have a Map is from Death Valley National Park. I took the photo on the Mesquite Flat Dunes. I briefly mention this trip in the story “Stick to the Trail.”
  • The final story to be written was “Drink Colombian Coffee,” which was finished in February of 2016.
  • And for any graphic design nerds out there, the book is set in Crimson typeface. The title is in HVD Poster and the subtitle and chapter titles in Belligerent Madness.

Do you have any questions for me? Feel free to leave a comment or head over to the “contact me” page to send me a message.

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