From Pages to Places: Travel Overseas with a Bestselling Novelist

From Pages to Places: Travel Overseas with a Bestselling Novelist
Literary tours have been around for quite a while, and traditionally have focused on visiting locales made famous by bestselling novels. In the past such itineraries have been straightforward: a group gathers at a hotel, boards a bus, takes some photos of a inspirational setting, and then repeats the process the next day.

Internationally bestselling novelist John Shors has decided on a new approach to literary tours, opting to travel with readers and adventurers to the places celebrated in his novels. Shors has long sought to connect with readers on a personal level. In fact, through a ground-breaking program he created nearly a decade ago, he has now spoken with more than 3,000 book clubs around the world about his novels. His literary tours are the next step in what he sees as creating strong, long-lasting relationships with readers.

Shors has published six novels, which have won numerous awards and have been translated into twenty-six languages. His most famous book, Beneath a Marble Sky, recounts the legendary story behind the creation of the Taj Mahal. He has also written Temple of a Thousand Faces, a bestselling novel about Angkor Wat, and is finishing a novel set on the Great Wall of China. His books appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction, as well as people who like to travel.

“Every day I receive an email from someone who has read one of my novels, and is now planning a trip to one of the places that I've written about,” Shors says. “At some point it occurred to me that, given my passion for travel, I should lead groups of people overseas. After all, I'd been going to Asia for twenty-two years and know the landscape really well.”

After deciding to embark upon this new adventure, Shors created his own travel company, established an itinerary, and reached out to his many readers. Shors' first trip will take readers to Thailand and Cambodia. Bangkok and the islands of southern Thailand (settings in his novel, Cross Currents) will be explored. Then the group will fly to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat and other temples. Shors will accompany the group the entire trip, as well as will local guides. Participants will not only travel to places brought to life within the pages of Shors' novels, but will experience everything from tasting delicacies at off-the-path eateries to enjoying traditional massages to visiting charities that Shors supports.

Roberta Knox, a psychotherapist from Irvine, California, will soon travel with Shors on his maiden trip. Knox has read three of Shors' novels, and he called into her book club. "John's personality, friendliness, openness, and experience with these countries; his passion for the stories, will make him a great guide,” she says. “The fact that he's taking us to these places that are so meaningful to him is very appealing.”

Shors will lead several groups of readers to SE Asia in 2014. His trips later in the year will focus on Cambodia and Vietnam. He plans on guiding people to India in 2015 to see the Taj Mahal. In 2016, he'll lead readers to the Great Wall of China. The size of all groups will be limited to twelve participants, not including guides. Shors believes that the small size of the groups will allow them to cover a lot of ground and get to know each other well.

The groups on Shors' tours will stay mainly at boutique, luxurious hotels, and not the larger chains. His goal is to provide tour participants with as authentic of an experience as possible, and to him, smaller is better.

“Of course, we'll experience joys like having tea at The Oriental Hotel in Bangkok,” Shors says, “but I'd like to also get people off of the beaten path, to show them places that not only inspire me as a writer, but also as a person and a traveler. I'm really excited about these trips. I think that they are going to be extraordinary experiences for everyone.”

If you're interested in more information about one of Shors' personalized, luxury trips, please contact him through his website at