Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Secrets Beneath the Streets

Photo by Yohei Shimomae on Unsplash
As an author, research is the icing on the book-writing cake for me. On top of feeding my thirst for newer and newer hobbies, it helps me to feel like I am writing in the most authentic way possible. For instance, I took gun and skip trace lessons to write my private investigator heroine in Purple Knot. I learned shorthand and found the courage to woman-up and eat alligator for my journalist character in the southern suspense, Bayou Blue. Its one of the best parts of writing because it forces you to stretch into the story. To learn something you might never have wanted or needed to study. That's why I love it.
This is even more true when it comes to the setting and location of my books. To better understand the local lore for Gothic mystery, Secrets at Crescent Point, I took underground walking tours of Seattle's "haunted" spots, learned about the mystifying lights seen off the shore of Orca's island, and of course, visited the famous Pike Place Market. Those fish mongers throwing massive fish over your head is a must see!
So when I began my current WIP, a Sci-Fi thriller set in near future Silicon Valley, I was super excited to use every part of my beloved state. From the aromatic and bustling China Town to the gleaming bastions of high tech innovation in southern San Francisco Bay, Veridian truly revels in the sights and sounds of California.
Photo by Randy Jacob on Unsplash
Something that truly piqued my interest were the stories and images by urban explorers of the abandoned tunnels and ghost stations that spiderweb undetected throughout the area. 

Apparently, there is a vast unknown commotion just beneath our feet. Closely guarded are the entrances and location to keep them from being sealed off by the cities, these places are fascinating to me. And in fact, are featured prominently in my upcoming novel. My heroine, Elara Savoya, tracks stolen tech wherever it goes no matter what. It takes her to some dangerous and breathtaking places.
If you are ever in California, I encourage you to slip in some exploration between Disneyland and the beach. All along the state but particularly from San Francisco to LA there are places to see that will definitely make an impression.
For instance, Los Angeles has underground sublevels that drill down as much as three stories beneath the street and once housed creepy veteran's hospital overflow rooms, dank storage space, and even fallout shelters. Needless to say, I was hooked on the legends and ghost stories surrounding these abandoned places, especially after seeing some of the elaborate d├ęcor of some of the abandoned stations. I wondered who would choose to live there as I've heard some do. I wonder why and what they were like.
What about where you live? Are there any places off the beaten track that just spark your imagination? I'd love to hear about them.