Publication -10 weeks: Green Bank Telescope

I am officially ten weeks away from PUBLICATION DAY!

A Song For The Road is the story of a musician on a road trip across America, following a smart phone app written for her by the daughter she lost. Planning the road trip was, hands down, the most fun I had writing this book, but most of the cool things about the places Miriam stops really didn’t have a place in the book. So I thought it would be fun to count down the weeks by sharing about the places you’ll see when you read!

First up: the Green Bank Telescope.

Photo credit: string_bass_dave, via Flickr

I don’t even remember how I learned that this place existed. I just know that there was no question this needed to go on the road trip.

The Green Bank Telescope is the world’s largest “fully steerable” radio telescope. It’s so sensitive, it sits in the center of the Radio Quiet zone. I’m told by friends who live within range of the RQZ that the restrictions on signals get more and more stringent the closer you get to the telescope. At the edges, she told me, radio stations can broadcast, they just can’t broadcast toward the telescope. The town of Green Bank itself has no wifi service. Period. And no cell service, either. (This is my kind of place! Most people who know me have heard me say that I am a conscientious objector to the smart phone revolution. In other words: I don’t have one.)

In fact, on the grounds of the Green Bank Observatory, you are apparently not even allowed to HAVE a cell phone. Like, you can take a picture from the deck by the science center, and then the thing has to be shut down. And the maintenance trucks are decades-old diesel engines, because something about newer cars also messes with the radio signals.

My main character, Miriam, knows nothing about any of this when she follows her daughter’s “Great American Road Trip” app into town. Here she will wrestle with why she’s on this road trip at all, and she’ll meet a person who will totally change her life.

Stay tuned!