My husband Keanan and I went on a cheap cruise to Mexico for our 5th anniversary in December 2013. It was our first ‘real’ vacation that we worked hard to save up for!

I was captivated by the guacamole-loving iguanas, prolific reefs, and the ancient cenote of Dzibilchaltun… along with oppressive heat, mosquitoes, and foul stagnant water pools surprisingly close to the breathtaking coastline.

When I was writing Arbiter, I found an image that would capture what I was imagining for the setting in Malaan. I put it as my wallpaper on my primary computer screen to help get me in the zone for writing.

Click here to view the full-sized image. Is that how you envisioned Malaan?