Thursday, April 7, 2016

Settings: Oakland, California

I love Oakland.  I used to teach high school in the Oakland district, and I go to church in Oakland every Sunday.  So, when it came time to write my new novel, She Lights Up the Dark, I wanted to set part of it in my favorite Bay Area metropolis.

Oakland gets a bad rap, but it is such a vital, energetic, interesting place.  The scenes I set there all take place in the Uptown and Lake Merritt areas, in and around one of the city's historic churches.  The particular church on which I based the unnamed location in my book had its heyday in the decade after the 1906 earthquake.  In my novel, the church provides both literal and symbolic sanctuary for characters who find themselves in a great deal of trouble with nowhere else to go.  Time is a very fluid thing for the vampires and fairies that populate my books, especially for the psychic main character, November Snow.  I thus fancied the notion of using an historic location, a place that looks ancient and permanent but is actually ever-changing.

See if you can figure out which Oakland landmark November's church is based upon.  You can leave your guess in the comments.  And if you have the money and inclination to give something to a welcoming, progressive church working to serve its community, I know for a fact that they wouldn't turn down a check. ;-)

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