Ask The Authors: What is the most exotic place you have visited?

Lou Berney: Cambodia. Some of the time it feels like you’re in the distant past, other times like you’re on another planet, and occasionally like both.

Chelsea Cain: I have traveled all over the world, but the most exotic place I have ever been is The Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada.*  It is an old-school motel, with a clown theme.  We’re not talking heart-warming clowns here; we’re talking John Wayne Gacy type clowns.  There are pictures of wicked-eyed clowns everywhere.  Even over the beds.  And the office has a collection of clown figures that must number in the hundreds.  I am not scared of clowns.  But this place?  It haunts me still.  Plus, it’s right next door to a creepy pioneer graveyard!  I swear, you look out your motel room window and you see graves.  Tonopah is in the middle of nowhere — it’s just rocks and dirt and scrub brush and abandoned mines.  We just stumbled on the motel on a road trip.  It may be my favorite motel ever. (*It is possible that this entire memory is an hallucination.)

Charlaine Harris: Alaska, which is part of  America but so incredibly different and wonderful .

Craig Johnson: The Great Blue Hole in Belize; I’ve dived for a number of years but never gone the depth I did there, one hundred and forty feet without narcosis. There were skeletons of Sea Turtles in the caverns where they’d gotten disoriented and couldn’t find their way out… Sobering.

Richard Kadrey: Probably a partially-excavated Mayan ruin in the Yucatan. We had to walk a few miles down a dirt road, through villages where they don’t generally see gringos, past pig farms and corn fields to find the place. A few temples had been carved from the jungle but most were still just humps of soil and palm trees. We arrived around noon and the heat was unbearable so we went swimming the sacred cenote. Later, a local family came down and swam with us. When a bee buzzed around our heads, the children all laughed and shouted, “Kukulkan!”

Jess Lourey: Belize, where my mother ate roast gibnut *before* they told us it’s a giant chipmunk.

Val McDermid: The Hindu temple on the island of Mauritius. It’s the only sacred Hindu site outside India.

Hank Phillippi Ryan: The inside of the nuclear reactor at Georgia Tech. The control tower at Logan Airport. The Massachusetts  civil defense bunker,100 feet underground, in a blizzard, where there’s not only state of the art elaborate communications devices, but also a 60’s era morgue.   Checkpoint Charlie in 1967.  The police station in Nevis, West Indies, where there was a poster on the wall warning of a burglar on the prowl who “might be disguised as a vicar or a meter-reader.” That’s exotic.

Duane Swierczynski: Sadly, Edinburgh. (I need to get out more.)

For answers from Megan Abbott, Tess Gerritsen, Gregg Hurwitz and more, check out issue 52 of Crimespree.