In anticipation of my two upcoming stories, A Dragon for Christmas (my holiday short story) coming out next week on December 18th (click here to learn more) and my debut novel, The Calling coming out January 1st (click here to learn more) I wanted to share some locations that will appear in both these stories. Actually, a friend of mine asked me to do this blog post, and I thought it might be fun. So, here we go…
Let’s start with, A Dragon for Christmas. There are several places in this holiday short but let’s focus on some key locations.
First, the Dragon Training Facility. This is the location were Carmen trains for her dragon. The training is difficult and only those that are special are considered for training. Because of the health risks involved, I wanted a location near a medical facility and I could think of no better location than Stanford Medical Center. Here is a picture of the Center as it is in real life. However, it’s much different in the story.
The next location that I thought would be fun to share is Plaza de Cesar Chavez where every year San Jose hosts Christmas in the Park. When not hosting Christmas in the Park the park sees a variety of other events throughout the year. It’s located in the heart of downtown San Jose and worth checking out any time of year.
The last location I want to share is Carmen’s neighborhood. This is where she grew up. Much like me Carmen grew up in East San Jose. Not as popular, or as expensive, as Willow Glen or the Rose Garden. East San Jose is a mix of different cultures and has a rich vibrant atmosphere, which is why I had Carmen grow up here.
The Calling, much like A Dragon for Christmas is set in and around San Jose. I include locations as far North as Los Altos Hills and as far South as Morgan Hill. The main character Duncan comes to the area on vacation and never leaves. Here are some key locations I used in, The Calling. I hope you get a chance to explore them someday.
Santana Row. This is where we are introduced to Duncan. He is sitting and enjoying his lunch when our story begins. Santana Row is a large shopping, dining, entertainment and living space in San Jose. It’s more than a shopping center it’s a destination and given its popularity and beauty I couldn’t think of a better location to start.
The Winchester Mystery House. Even though only briefly mentioned at the start of the story its worth a mention here. Duncan had spent an afternoon here before the story started. After he toured the site, he crossed over to Santana Row for lunch. Sometimes I wonder if maybe his visit to the Winchester Mystery House had anything to do with the future events in the book.
The 88. The luxury condo high-rise in downtown San Jose The 88 seemed only fitting for one of my characters, Victor, to call home. In the book I changed the name to, The Heights, so I could experiment with the building a little more and giving Victor and the building more of a presence in downtown. Nevertheless, make no mistake, The 88 didn’t need much of a tweak. It’s an amazing building with fantastic views of San Jose and the rest of the valley.
Westfield Valley Fair. Somehow, shopping and shopping centers played heavily in this story. Westfield Valley Fair, much like Santana Row, was a necessary location for the story. This is the largest mall in the area and they keep expanding it. This mall also has a few shops there were required for the story. I won’t say much more, but if you get a chance to check it out do it.
Los Altos/Los Altos Hills. Not technically part of San Jose, however, I needed a location for Juliet to live that would suit her. I worked in Los Altos for three years and it really left a mark on me. When I started to put the story together I was going to have Juliet live in Willow Glen. However, when I fleshed out her character I realized she wouldn’t live in San Jose. Instead she needed to live just outside of the San Jose and I couldn’t think of a better location for her than Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. Her home needed to be kept close to San Jose, and having her outside of San Jose kept the city as the perfect backdrop for her and the story.
I hope you got a little taste for each of my stories and the locations they are set. Clearly, there are many more locations, to many for me to go into here. However, you’ll get to read about them when you pick up your copies of both, A Dragon for Christmas and, The Calling.
Until next week, have a wonder week. For my wonderful Jewish friends Happy Hanukkah.