Friday, March 11, 2016

A Road-Trip Romance and the Birth of a Story - by Guest Jennifer Slattery

I was young and googly-eyed in love when my husband and I took our first road trip, and it was a doozy. All the way from my home state Washington to a small town in the middle of Nebraska. A town I hadn’t heard of before. You might not have, either.

It’s a railroad town, and back then it was about one street long with a cluster of houses stretched in either direction. We had a bowling alley, a mall with maybe a dozen or so stores, a Mexican restaurant, and lots of bars. Probably more bars than restaurants. And though we enjoyed our time there and the people we met, every once in a while, we grew a little stir crazy. When that happened, we went on yet another road trip, four hours in one of two directions—to Denver, Colorado or Omaha, Nebraska.

Our marriage has been built and sustained on road trips. I think I may enjoy the time we spend together in the car as much, maybe more, as I do our little excursions. Maybe it’s the writer in me, and the adventurous hero in him, always ready to whisk his damsel away. We’ve been on more evening, weekend, and weeklong trips than I could count. It’s no surprise then, for our twentieth anniversary, we returned to the city where it all—he and I—began, Seattle, Washington.

Back when we met, I was young and incredibly unsophisticated. I thought a fancy date meant dinner at the local Denny’s. I mean, it was better than fast food, right? So when my redheaded man with ice blue eyes twined his fingers through mine and guided me toward the towering Space Needle one summer night and asked if I’d care to go to dinner, I quite literally swooned. And probably stared at him for a good ten minutes, bug-eyed and open-mouthed. Not my best look, although the amused smile he gave as he watched me indicated that was precisely the reaction he’d been hoping for.

That night was magical. We rode to the top of the needle then followed a hostess to a window seat, where we gazed out at the twinkling city lights beneath us. I couldn’t take my eyes off the view below and all around me. It was all so elegant. But every time I looked his way, I blushed to find him gazing at me.

Nothing makes a woman’s heart melt like feeling as if she’s all her man cares to see.

That feeling hasn’t gone away, twenty years later, because somehow despite my graying hair, sagging frame, and growing wrinkles, he continues to watch me, with that same twinkle in his eye and slight smile on his lips. Whether we’re at home, or back in Seattle, celebrating our twentieth anniversary.

That’s what we did this summer, and the timing couldn’t have been better, for you see, a few weeks before our planned get-away, I received my big-picture edits for Breaking Free, a novel set in my favorite city—Seattle. My editor loved my story but suggested I add more setting details. Reading her email I laughed then turned to my husband and said, “Looks like we’ve got some sightseeing to do.”

What a joy it was to tour Seattle not only as a couple but also as researchers! God brought my two loves together—my husband, and writing. We had a wonderful time visiting restaurants, looking for unexpected visuals and listening for unique sounds. We visited historical parks, went to a grunge festival (by accident) took a water taxi, road bikes along the coast of West Seattle, walked through Pioneer Square, shopped at Pike’s Place, and more.

And now, with the release of Breaking Free, I get to share many of those special places with you. I hope you come to love this culturally rich city as much as I do. It truly is a place where love and hope blossom.

What about you? Do you enjoy road trips? If so, where are some of the favorite places you’ve been? Where is someplace you’ve always wanted to visit?

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers and devotions for Internet CafĂ© Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at and connect with her on Facebook at

Breaking Free:

Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of what really matters.  Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife, Alice Goddard, and her successful graphic-designer husband appear to have it all together. Until their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?

Read a free, 33-page excerpt here:

Buy it:


  1. Being a Seattle native, this post caught my eye. It's always fun to read stories set in a familiar place.

    1. Hi, Deb,

      Yay! Another Washingtonian! Seattle is such a wonderful, flavorful city! What's your favorite part of Seattle? I think mine is Pike's Place, but largely due to memories.

  2. I have been on a lot of road trips throughout my life. The most memorable would have to be when I was 11. My father had long service leave. We tented our way around Australia for months.

    1. Oh, wow, that sounds absolutely enchanting! Do you have any photographs of that time? And what special memories your father created for you!

  3. I haven't had the chance to travel much so my reactions are similar to the one you described when your husband invited you to the Space Needle!
    Thanks for sharing this enjoyable post.

    1. Hi, Connie,

      If you could go anywhere, where would that be? And you're welcome, thanks for taking the time to leave an encouraging comment. :)

  4. I've traveled from one side of the country to the other and from Minnesota to Florida and loved every minute of it. I think I was born with an airline ticket in my hand! But some of them were road trips...sat in a parking lot in DC one time with a friend. If we went to the left, we went home, to the right, Maine. We chose right!