Monthly Archives: July 2014

IndieReader Author Spotlight: CJ Lyons

We don’t toss around the term “map nerd” very often around here at Placing Literature headquarters. We reserve it for those who truly love geography and the innovative ways that maps allow you to deliver content. Whether it’s a map of languages spoken across India or a map of Hardee’s in the state of Texas, maps can convey data and information in a way that text, pie graphs and line charts never can. For us, loving maps is cool, and “map nerd” has become a kind of term of endearment around our office.

CJ Lyons, our IndieReader Author Spotlight for July, is a map nerd in every sense of the term. She grew up with maps lining her bedroom walls, marking places she’d been (mostly near her hometown in central Pennsylvania) and places where she wanted to one day visit. So when CJ left a career as a pediatric ER doctor to pursue writing full time she did what she knows best. She opened a map and started telling stories about the places she’d lived.

Now author of 21 novels and a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, CJ is considered the queen of the rust-belt thriller. For our international users, the rust belt runs along the edge of the Appalachian Mountains through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. It’s where much of the U.S. coal deposits are mined and home to a tough as nails type of American. Fittingly, it’s the perfect place to set her popular Lucy Guardino thriller series.

CJ is mapping the places from her novels over the next 30 days, and you can hear the excitement in her voice as she talks to Tim Knox in her Placing Literature podcast. She’s almost giddy talking about maps and the process of mapping her novels, and you get the sense that she would have eventually created Placing Literature if we hadn’t already had the idea.

Check out CJ’s map on and check back throughout the month to see more places that she has mapped.

Placing Literature Launches Collection of Mark Twain Literature

The collection, curated by the Mark Twain House and Museum, allows readers to explore the places in Mark Twain’s writings on a map

NEW HAVEN, CONN., July 1, 2014Placing Literature ( today launched a new literary collection from the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Conn. The collection allows readers from around the world to explore a map of Twain’s writings from Huckleberry Finn to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, offering greater insight and understanding into America’s most well-known author. Readers and academics are encouraged to participate in the crowdsourcing project by mapping additional locations on

Placing Literature is the global clearinghouse for location-based literary information, collecting crowdsourced information about books and the locations where they take placeand displaying them all on an interactive world map. Since launching in June 2013, readers, educators, librarians and authors have mapped more than 2,200 places ranging from Shakespeare to Stephen King.

Mark Twain is a uniquely American author and people mainly know him for his novels that take place in the American South, but he was also a world traveler,” said Cindy Lovell, executive director of the Mark Twain House. “His travels and writing cover some impressive geography—Europe, the Holy Lands, Fiji, Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa. Mapping his writings on Placing Literature is a great opportunity to enhance readers’ understanding of Twain literature and help others less familiar with the author to discover his writings.” Listen to Cindy talk about Mark Twain on the Placing Literature podcast.

Scene cards on Placing Literature provide rich content about the book, the scene and the place where each plot point occurs. For example, clicking on Jackson’s Island near Hannibal, Missouri reveals where Huck Finn discovers Jim, a runaway slave. It’s the same island first introduced in Tom Sawyer, where Tom, Huck, and Joe Harper ran off for a few days. Just across the river is an icon marking Aunt Polly’s house where Tom Sawyer hoodwinked the other children into painting the fence for him. A few miles south stands the caves where Tom and Becky Thatcher get lost. On each card, visitors can view a photo of the place, purchase the book from a local bookstore, write a review on Goodreads and even check in at a location, indicating that they’ve been to that particular place. Users can then click ‘See All Places’ to view other novels that take place nearby.

The Mark Twain collection is the third dedicated collection on Placing Literature. A collection of novels and poems that take place in Queensland, Australia, is curated by the State Library of Queensland, and a collection of Catalan literature is curated by Espais Escrits, an organization in Barcelona. Both were launched in April. Creating these collections gives libraries, cultural organizations and researchers a platform in which to filter and promote themed literature for a global audience.

Placing Literature plans to launch additional collections of literary places throughout the summer and is putting out a request for data. Libraries, universities, cultural organizations and researchers should contact if they have existing data or would like to work with Placing Literature to create content through local programming.

About Placing Literature

Placing Literature ( is a crowdsourcing website that maps literary scenes that take place in real locations. Map a scene from your favorite novel or explore the literature of a place at Follow us at and