The Places and Spaces of The Worst Bad Thing with J.E. Birk

March 23, 2016

The Places and Spaces of the Worst Bad Thing (1)

It’s finally here: release day for The Worst Bad Thing! This book is close to my heart, as it was inspired by many events in my own life. The tragedy that opens the book is, most unfortunately, very similar to a tragedy that took place within my own community. I began writing this book as a means for dealing with all the emotions our community was experiencing in the aftermath of that horrible event.

Eventually this therapy-writing turned into a story which was very different from those events that first inspired it. As that happened, other events in my life also became inspiration for this book. I decided that Tate, the main character, needed to be somewhere far from his home for this plot to unfold properly …and what better place to have him disappear to than some of the places I had just visited?

And so I had Tate go on nearly the exact trip that my husband and I had recently taken: a trip through Iceland, England, and Paris.

As this book’s plot travels through three beautiful places filled with wonderful people, the specific settings Tate visits often become as important as the other characters he encounters. I so enjoyed writing about these places; in many moments it almost felt as though I was visiting them again. In honor of Tate’s journey to discovery, I thought I’d share my five favorite places that Tate visits in The Worst Bad Thing. With pictures, of course.

#1. The Blue Lagoon.

If you’ve never seen the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, I highly recommend it. What’s not to love? It’s basically the biggest and most beautiful hot tub you’ll ever encounter. No downside.


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I give you…the world’s most giant hot tub.

#2. The Globe Theater

The theater standing now may not be the same theater Shakespeare once stood in (we’re like three fires out from that), but it still holds the exact sense of grandeur and importance that you’d expect. Plus there’s a killer gift shop. You know, if you like that sort of thing. Now please excuse me while I hug my King Lear magnet.


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All the world’s a stage, and I have no idea who the people standing in front of this one are.

#3. Stonehenge

It’s not on the cover of the book by accident. Stonehenge is incredibly important in Tate and Gabriel’s story—as it should be. You feel the importance and wonder of Stonehenge the moment you walk between those rocks. I only hope I adequately transferred that importance to the pages of this book.


Somehow the clouds make it even more majestic. Ah, England.

#4. The Louvre

I got lost at least five times in this place. It’s enormous, and there’s literally an important relic around every corner. Travel tip: everyone’s going to crowd in front of the Mona Lisa anyway, so don’t rush to get there. Tate goes right for Hammurabi’s Code, which has its own importance in the story.


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This place is so much bigger than it looks from the outside.

#5. The Roman Baths

Did you know that ancient Rome left a giant chunk of itself behind in England? A town called, ahem, Bath still houses several of the ancient Roman baths. It’s a beautiful city in itself (Jane Austin hung out there!), and it’s a strange and wonderful thing to see this piece of Italy just sitting around in the middle of the English countryside.

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I don’t even want to think about how long some of that water’s been there.

What’s the most impressive place you’ve ever visited? I hope you have some on your list that are as magical as the ones Tate and I were lucky enough to see. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy The Worst Bad Thing!

You can follow J.E. Birk’s ramblings on Twitter by looking for @jebirkwrites. She’s also been known to ramble on Facebook as J Elisabeth Birk.


Check out The Worst Bad Thing today!


Iceland, Stonehenge, London, Paris….

To the casual observer, it looks like a dream trip. For Tate O’Reilly, it’s anything but. He’s a man on a mission to rectify a critical mistake, and there’s nothing to hold him back—certainly not friends or family. For Tate, it all comes down to one simple thing—he must fix what he has broken.

What he doesn’t count on is meeting Gabriel Carillo. Gabriel is kind, mysterious, and seems to be on his own mission to ensure their paths keep crossing. But Tate’s hiding an awfully big secret—one he’s certain even Gabriel can’t forgive.

Does a man’s past have to determine his future? In the middle of cities filled with history, Tate is going to find out.


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