Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shaman Circus on Location II

I became intrigued with the locations behind the stories in my favorite novels, when Caitlin Kiernan released her novel Threshold and added a small limited edition chapbook from Subterranean Press (now out of print and highly collectible) called Trilobite which was about the writing of Threshold. In it were  photos she'd taken of many of the sites in and around Birmingham, Alabama, which she used in the novel. I'd pictured most of them  just as she wrote them, but some photos added details which enhanced my appreciation of her terrifying tale. Ever since that book, I've been entranced with the specifics of locations I read about in the books I enjoy.
So, to continue with the locations used in my novel, Shaman Circus, here's the house which Jacob flashbacks to where he and Cate lived.  It's one of my favorite scenes in the book. The house is now torn down, bulldozed away and replaced with a gas station.
 Many of the real locations I included are gone.  Exposures Art Gallery closed.  I never took photos. Too busy planning and holding an art show. The location of the ritual was a combination of two real locations, both are intact, one near King's Mountain in NC, the other is intact, but altered for the book. Whitten University is a fictional institution, although Perry's flower shop was an actual location I moved from another city to New Orleans. Alas, it no longer exists and was a wonderful experience, not simply a flower shop at all, but an entrance to a dream land. The temple is fictional but draws aspects from various places in and around New Orleans.
Dougal's, where Alex and Laney, two anthrolpolgy professors from Whitten meet often has been bought and renamed.  Although I'll try and get photos of the interior (which is the same) when I go there tonight for St. Patty's Day. My friend Donna Nyzio, painted huge panels of the Irish, map, flag and a harp, for the outside but those have been removed. It's a shame we never thought to take pictures. It's a true Irish pub, dark, with a huge fireplace, tables and couches, lots of cool touches and ambiance. 
While in New Orleans, Jacob lives in a bus very much like this one.  He did install a windshield and added a few curtains. And the small bar where his band plays: Bad Jacqui's, is based on a club I loved on Decatur St.  in New Orleans, now sold and altered.  

So, writers: how often do you utilize places you've been whether you loved or hated them?  Do you use locales you'd like to go in your novels?
 And readers.  Do you care? 


  1. My entire novel is set in a "fictional" town in SC, right on the Anderson-Greenville county borders. Other than the fact you can't find Bulton on a map, the whole place is taken from personal experience - from the red clay in the peach orchard to the kudzu climbing up the power lines. I love being able to read a writer's work and then later see the locale myself. I'd love to go to Maine and see some of the places Stephen King has written about.

  2. I'm utilizing some places I visited in Mexico in a story I'm writing. I also use my hometown a lot in that story. The story is fictional, though...


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