1. Write a book series in a popular genre, with appealing characters and plot.
2. Set the books in a place people love to visit.
3. Sell the series to a TV producer with a budget to film exteriors at your story locations.
When my husband Will and I travelled to Scotland last year, we were amazed by the number of 'Outlander' bus tours. These 3, 7 and 10 day excursions focused on sights associated with the time travel book series by Diana Gabaldon, set during the Jacobite risings in the 17th and 18 centuries.
History, romance, mystery, adventure, science fiction, Outlander has it all. The tours stop at locations mentioned in the books or used for filming. I don't know if Gabaldon makes money directly from the tours, but they help fuel her fans' enthusiasm for the novels and the television programs that earn her royalties and gain her new readers. In Scotland we met a man taking an Outlander tour solely for the history. We teased him about being stuck in a bus with obsessive fans, most of them women in love with stories' elusive hero, Jamie Fraser.
|Eilean Donan castle, located at the bridge to the Isle of Skye, played a role in the highlanders' rebellion|
|Will playing Montalbano in Scicli|
On the drive, our first 'Montalbano' stop was Porto Empedocle, birthplace of author Andrea Camilleri and inspiration for Vigata, the fictional town in his detective series. In 2003 the city officially changed its name to Porto Empedocle Vigata to attract tourists, but reversed the decision a few years later, perhaps because the ploy didn't work or residents objected to the commercialism.
|Montalbano's house in Punta Secca|
|Montalbano's beach, with his home and the landmark lighthouse in the distance|
|Me and Will behind Montalbano's desk in the 'Vigata' police station|
|Poster in Ragusa: Montalbano actor Luca Zingaretti (man on the right hand side) endorses this local restaurant|
Riches aside, this must be enormously satisfying for an author.
|Ragusa's stunning hillside landscape is worth a visit even without Montalbano|