Tour Stop & Guest Post: The Spy’s Love Song by Kim Fielding

Hi! Kim Fielding here, and I have a new book out. Yay! The Spy’s Love Song is the tale of a jaded rock star and a State Department operative who end up in deep trouble in a country with a repressive totalitarian government. And there’s romance.

I travel a fair amount for both work and fun. It’s my favorite way to spend money—even better than buying new boots. And I’m happy to go just about anywhere, whether it’s thousands of miles away or just a short trip from home. I have a theory that every place in the world is interesting if you do a little research and talk to the right people.

And that brings me to the subject of my blog post today—tour guides. One of my best travel tips is that wherever you go, hire a tour guide. This doesn’t have to be expensive. I was recently in Sarajevo, where I took a terrific walking tour of the old part of the city for free. All I had to do was give a (voluntary) tip, which my guide definitely earned. I’ve also taken some great tours in London from a company that charges only £10. Other times, though, I’ve had a private guide—and driver—for an entire day, which cost considerably more but was worth every Euro, mark, or kuna.

Sure, you can travel without a tour guide. But a really good guide—a local who’s passionate about their hometown—can add so much. They can give a true sense of what it’s like to live in a particular place. They can make even complicated histories comprehensible. They can point out interesting sights you wouldn’t have noticed on your own and can give rich details about even famous places. They become a personal connection to the place you’re visiting, letting you know how the locals think and helping you see it as a place where people live rather than just a tourist destination. They can broaden your enjoyment and understanding by filling in the details that interest you specifically.

During a previous trip to Sarajevo, my guide told me what it had been like to be there as a young man during the war (during which he lost several family members). I remember coming to a street corner, where he stood near a building and said, “This is where I would wait until I thought the snipers were taking a break.” That one moment brought home the reality of war more than any book or museum ever could. That same guide, learning of my taste in music, let me know about several Bosnian punk bands. One of them, Dubioza Kolektiv, is now a personal favorite. On my more recent trip, one of my guides told me about her work with NGOs, took me to a 13th-century cemetery hidden in the woods in the Bosnian countryside, and discussed the current political situation in that country. The day after my tour, she stopped by my hotel and left me a box of locally made cookies.

In Croatia, a guide took me to a Neanderthal museum and a really cool cave and shared with me his experiences making rakija (brandy). In Barcelona, my daughter and I rode all over the city in an vintage motorcycle sidecar; our guide had given up his career as a therapist to give tours of his beloved city. On a rainy evening in Edinburgh, a guide took us to the vaults. In Port Townsend, Washington, our tour guides told us local ghost stories and described some of the town’s colorful history. In Sacramento, a guide showed us parts of the old city that were buried when the entire town was raised one story to avoid floods. In Prague, a guide told me about her experiences as a student during the Prague demonstrations—one of her friends set himself on fire as a form of protest—and she walked me by her house, where her granddaughter was playing in the front garden. In Krakow, our guide drove us around in a Trabant (in January—brrr!), took us to a milk bar for lunch, and talked about being a vegetarian in Poland.

Every one of these experiences left a deep impression on me. I remember the guides long after I’ve forgotten the text of commemorative plaques or glossy pamphlets. These guides have changed me by broadening my world view.

My tour guides have also provided tons of material for my books. The Eastern European location in The Spy’s Love Song is fictional, but many of the things my characters experience are based on my own guided experiences—although, fortunately, I’ve never been chased by a totalitarian dictator’s soldiers.

Have you had a wonderful tour-guide experience?

Title: The Spy’s Love Song by Kim Fielding
Stars from Peril Series Book One
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Imprint: Dreamspun Desires
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Romance
Length: 214 pages/Word Count: 52,201


For a singer and a spy, love might be mission impossible.

Jaxon Powers has what most only dream of. Fame. Fortune. Gold records and Grammy awards. Lavish hotel suites and an endless parade of eager bedmates. He’s adored all over the world—even in the remote, repressive country of Vasnytsia, where the tyrannical dictator is a big fan. The State Department hopes a performance might improve US relations with a dangerous enemy. But it means Jaxon’s going in alone… with one exception.

Secret agent Reid Stanfill has a covert agenda with global ramifications. Duty means everything to him, even when it involves protecting a jaded rock star. Jaxon and Reid’s mutual attraction is dangerous under Vasnytsia’s harsh laws—and matters get even worse when they’re trapped inside the borders. Romance will have to wait… assuming they make it out alive.

Add to Goodreads.

Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press * Amazon

Author Bio

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Email * Goodreads


Filed under Blog Tour, Guest Blog

2 Responses to Tour Stop & Guest Post: The Spy’s Love Song by Kim Fielding

  1. Timitra

    Thanks for sharing