Growing up in an Air Force family, Natalie Dias Lorenzi lived in so many cities and countries that by the time she got to high school she said, “That it! I’m never moving again!” But Natalie never did stop traveling—she lived and worked all over the globe, and once even took a 56-hour ferry ride from Washington State to Alaska.
Natalie says that her nomadic lifestyle is why she likes to write about characters that are not exactly suited to the places they find themselves in. She knows what it’s like to be the new kid in class or to not understand the language that people are speaking. But she also knows what it’s like to dance in a German dirndl, eat sushi with chopsticks, ride a camel in the shadow of an Egyptian pyramid, walk atop the Great Wall of China, and stand with one foot on either side of the equator.
Many of the scenes in her novel, Flying the Dragon, were inspired by her experiences growing up in different places. The main characters, Skye and Hiroshi, are cousins whose lives become intertwined when Hiroshi moves to America from Japan.
Natalie believes that we all have the ability to share our stories. “We are all natural storytellers; we tell stories all the time. Stories are the threads that connect us to one other,” she says. “Try this: The next time you’re with friends or family, tell a story about something that happened to you—something funny or scary or sad. How does your audience react? Chances are, your story will trigger a memory of something that happened to them, and they’ll want to tell you their story. Voilà! A connection is made.”
Check out The Studio for more about Natalie’s travels, writing tips, and inspirations for her books—she reveals that she eavesdrops on strangers as she winds her cart through a grocery store or while standing in line at amusement parks! “Story ideas are everywhere,” Natalie insists, “if you stop and pay attention.”