Jen writes, too. She's now Jennifer Shaw Wolf! I like to claim that I'm her mentor because she's such a brilliant storyteller, but all I did was point her in the right direction. I did get her hooked on YA. You'll all thank me next year when her debut YA novel, BREAKING BEAUTIFUL, comes out. It kept me gripping my chair and clutching my heart from page one to the end. And get this. When Walker needed just the right photo for the cover, Jen volunteered Dave, and he took that gorgeous cover photo. Jen's a broadcast major and makes video book trailers, too. She made the trailer for SING ME TO SLEEP, but that's another story.
First up, Gram's house. This is my grandmother's house in Tekoa, WA. When she lived there, she had flower gardens growing all around it like Michael's Gram does in the book. After I killed Michael's parents and all his dive club friends, I decided I didn't want to let him go back to Phoenix and his old high school, friends, and Caroleena. Too easy. Too much support. Not much story sending him back to the arms of Caroleena. (Actually, Caroleena didn't exist until I much later draft.) I made him go live in my home town in my grandmother's tiny sugar cube house and created his Gram.
That placed Michael in my home town, Tekoa, WA. I was living thousands of miles away in London, Ontario, Canada at the time. I'm sure I chose to send Michael home because I couldn't go there. But I could make the journey every day in my imagination. Here's Tekoa! Tomorrow I'll post the pictures Dave took of the farm we grew up on.
|Welcome to Tekoa, WA!|
|The town from a distance. This is the railroad trestle Leesie wanted to drop Troy off of!|
|Welcome to Tekoa High School!|
|I went to school here from 7th to 12th grade, and Leesie first laid eyes on Michael in physics class!|
|This is the back of the school. The swimming pool is just across the road.|
|The school's front door Michael went through that first day.|
|Michael walked across this lawn to get to the front door his first day.|
|Here's the town swimming pool. They built a new fancier one. I imagined the old pool when I wrote the scene where Michael goes free diving and Leesie saves him. That's still one of my favorite scenes.|