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Travel with Truly

SPOILER ALERT: Well, not really. There are few hints as to things going on the story here, but no so much that it will ruin the experience of reading Agent Apple. I leave it up to you whether you wish to peruse this travelogue now, or after.

Oh...go ahead! Read it now. Just make sure you come back for a second look after reading the book.

Truly gets to see some pretty awesome places in her travels, and by some strange coincidence, they are all places that I've been to as well - imagine that! Another perk of being an author I suppose. You can make your characters skip down the very same streets you once did, although I was never held prisoner like Truly, and never once chased by terrorists. Phew!

So here are a few pictures to help you follow Truly and Ty's adventure. I hope that someday you'll get to see some of this fantastic world of ours - as a tourist of course, not as a spy.

Come on, do you really want to be a spy?

Our tour begins at FBI Headquarters in Washington DC, where this adventure really starts. Ugh. What an ugly building. I admit, I was a little disappointed when I saw it for the first time. But a place doesn't have to be pretty to completely up-end your life. Just ask Truly...

Now let's jump across the Atlantic Ocean to the fair country of Italy and the valley town of Aosta, where the bad guy has a super fancy vacation villa. This structure is called the Porto Romana. It's one of the oldest Roman ruins still standing today. I walked under that big arch and found a lady dressed as Snow White there. She and some little Italian children were dancing around the square and singing "sexy" over and over. It was uh...really weird.

And then I went for authentic Italian pizza, at the very same little restaurant down a crooked street where Dover, Hunt and Ty go to get information on the villain.

I must say, however, that the real-life owner of the restaurant was not a criminal, as he is in the book. He was just a pizza maker and a very nice one at that. He introduced me to his little girl, Georgia, and understood my faltering Italian when I asked where I could find the bathroom.

This is how you say "where is the bathroom?" in Italian:

Dove la toilet?
( doe-vay la twa-let)

Feast your eyes on this place! There actually are abandoned villages all through the Alps (the mountains between Italy and Switzerland) but sadly, I never got to visit any. I only drove by. Truly on the other hand, got to sleep in one. How lucky is that? This is the type of mysterious place that Truly and her friends hide out in. Wanna see a close up?

Now this is my kind of vacation spot! No jokes. I love crumbling dirty things, especially if there's graffiti on the walls. I could just sweep out the spiders and rats and move right in. It might be just a little bit scary at night though...

Now we come rolling into Geneva, Switzerland, where we catch sight of the Jet d'Eau. Yeah, it's just a gigantic spray of water shooting out of Lake Geneva, but when you're standing there, staring up at it, I have to say, it's quite awesome. Ty certainly thought so. If you plan on getting very close, bring an umbrella. It has a charming way of changing direction and soaking innocent onlookers.

The Old Town in Geneva is built on the highest point of the city, and it's surrounded by part of a wall that used to be the fortress. I think it would be very cool to live in a place as old as this. There are no fortresses on the Canadian prairies - we just had pioneers...and prairie grass. No kings or knights or walled cities. But we do have buffalo, and that's pretty cool.

How awesome are these narrow, cobbled streets? These are the very streets where Truly and Ty are chased by Gustav and his thugs. I didn't see a single thug while I was in the Old Town - at least, not that I know of. I did however meet up with a nice Egyptian who had broken his foot while skiing.

This is the Hotel d'ville in Old Town, which is not a hotel at all, but the old City Hall. See how the arched windows slant? It really was once a ramp for town officials to ride their horses to the top floor. Because they were too important to walk, I guess. I wouldn't want to have to clean up all that horse poop.

The St. Pierre Cathedral where Truly and Ty have an emotional reunion. It is dark and cool and fancy inside...and yes Ty, it does smell old.

And finally...we end up at the best city in the world. My favorite, and Truly's: New York. These are brownstones along Manhattan's upper west side, like the one that serves as a safehouse for Agent Apple and her team. I used to sometimes grocery shop near here when I lived in New York.

This is United Nations Headquarters, where countries of the world meet to solve world problems. I spent ten years as a volunteer, walking through these dark, dingy, smoky hallways. Truly and Ty were lucky they only had to pretend to be volunteers. The UN is not a fun place, although I met some wonderful people there. There is good work being done here, but there is also evil, as some countries try to boss the rest. Of course, Agent Apple is a story, and not real at all, but I wrote Truly's experiences with my own in mind. It really can be stressful and upsetting at the UN - but they also really did have warm cookies in the cafeteria.

This is conference room 1, where Truly and Ty watch as the bad guy tries to gain control over the world. You can see how the rows of seats curve around the room. I used to walk down there, among the rows, chatting with delegates, even though I was almost as shy as Truly.

This is my collection of UN security badges from all the UN meetings I went to. I used to have really long hair sometimes...and sometimes really dark hair, sometimes blond. 

This vision of beauty is one of my favorite places to walk in New York - the Brooklyn Bridge. It's a lovely place for a stroll. I've even crossed it in the middle of the night. You can see all the city lights from this bridge.

Here's a broader view of the bridge. One thing I have never done is dangle over the side as Truly does. You can see that it's really quite dangerous. So why does Truly dangle? I don't want to give that part away. You'll just have to read about it.

And finally, in honor of Truly's faithful friend, Ty Moala, the famous New York cronut. You do not want to miss any of the food from that city, whether it's pizza or hotdogs or cupcakes. I daydream about it all sometimes...

And that concludes our tour. I hope you spotted at least one place you'd like to visit. And if you never ever get to go there in person, there are these and so many other wonderful places you can explore in books. Truly might even lend you a few - she has quite a collection.

Nowadays she's really into travel books.
She's thinking that her next adventure will be in Rome.

Ty has only good things to say about it.

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