Today we're honored to have author Jill Wolfson guest posting about how she uses real places as inspiration for the settings in her writing. Welcome to I'd So Rather Be Reading, Jill!
When I started the novel, I knew that I wanted the place – a California beach town with echoes to Greece – to be almost as much a character as the humans (and goddesses). You’ll see that the land, the ocean and the weather directly reflect what’s going on inside of the characters’ hearts and mind.
I’m lucky that I just happen to live in a California beach town, so I had a lot to work with within walking distance of my house. Before I even got started with writing, I walked around town taking photos, and continued doing that whenever I needed a writing break. For inspiration, I kept the pictures on my computer and turned to them whenever I was trying to come up with the background for a particularly crucial scene.
Sometimes, I wound up describing the landmarks exactly as they are. But more often, I started with the reality of the place and then let my imagination run wild to suit the needs of the story.
Here are some of the places where important Furious scenes take place – and the words that they inspired.
The Ocean (This photo was taken when the Pacific Coast was getting the aftermath of a tsunami. You can see the surfers on the big waves.)
I bet that just like me, in weather just like this, he stood at this spot, the edge of an entire continent, the point where the land ends and there’s nothing left, nowhere to go that’s solid. I wonder if he, too, imagined how these waves started far away. Something big and dangerous – an earthquake or a hurricane – set them in motion, and they traveled through space and time, gathering strength and shape, and eventually meeting their end here.
A crash on the rocks below my feet.
The Surfer Statue
Ahead of me, I spot the town’s famous surfer statue that stands on a pedestal on a spit of land that protrudes above the water. The statue’s a little corny – a thick-haired stereotypical surfer dude, his chest broad and expansive as he grips his board behind his back, his chiseled profile contemplating the ocean for the next wave to catch…Up close, you see a tension in the surfer’s jaw, and this makes me certain that he’s more than a fantasy stereotype…Who was this Prince of the Waves?
A deserted boardwalk on a dreary, gray day like this can be kind of eerie. Most people think it’s too lonely to hang out with games and rides that sit there doing nothing… Overhead, the bright red and blue cars of the gondola sit still in the sky. I pass the motionless Pirate Ship ride and then the mechanical gypsy fortune-teller machine, whose eyes seem to follow me…Is the gypsy looking at me with pity or with a laughing, mocking expression? Does she know something that I don’t?
Thanks so much to Kelli and Natalie for hosting this part of my blog tour. I hope you enjoy Furious!