I'm trying to make Tooth and Claw be Like Reality Unless Noted, because that will make filming on location easier when I get a movie deal for it. Ha! Ha! No, seriously, it's because the mood is best served by setting it in a world that's just like ours, only slightly off-kilter. Tee-hee, still lying. It's actually something of a behind-the-scenes homage to the playstyle of my gaming group, where we'd take real details from the real world (culled from our knowledge of the town or Google Maps) and then just overlay our campaign on top of it. Jeez, I need to stop this.
OK, so all of those are partially true (or at least, in the case of the movie deal, earnest wishful thinking). But the reason that actually gets ink on the paper, as it were, is that I am lazy and know nothing; and "the internet exists" means that a bit of on-the-spot research makes stealing details from reality way the fuck easier than inventing plausible details from whole cloth.
But sometimes, reality is a bit... shall we say, "generous."
So I crystallized this story around a few cool bits that I thought it would be awesome to tell a story around: I wanted a pack of werewolves that followed a dragon spirit living on the Inside of Meteor Crater. I have been there in real life, and touched the Holsinger meteorite with my bare hands: it's one of the "Diablo Stones," along with the other large fragments recovered from the impact, and that gave me the idea for the dragon. But as I started doing some actual research, I found out that the reason they're called Diablo Stones in the first place is because of the nearby Canyon Diablo (now a cluster of barely-visible foundations in reality, but those werewolves are Helluva renovators). So, like, duh: that just had to be their headquarters. And the nearby town of Winslow made it possible for me to work a stealth reference to The Eagles into the start of chapter two.
But it gets crazier: I set the vampires and mages in Las Vegas because A) it's close to Arizona, and on the other side from Hellhole, WV (making it possible for Ferraille to steal the Sandstorm Hourglass and then the Diablo Stone on the way back, instead of the way more awkward other way 'round); and B) I knew some of the major landmarks from a Mage: The Awakening campaign we ran back in the day (this runs in the family - my brother A played the first Midnight Club game so much, that when he went on a band trip to New York, he knew his way around the city). I wanted the vampires to be near the casinos, but not in the casinos (that place of privilege is reserved for the daywalking mages), so I poked around for, I don't know, how about an empty plot of land at the North end of the strip? That way, I can just say that there's a shadowy compound there, a few stories above ground and who-knows-how-many below, without stepping on the toes of any powerful casino moguls (or whatever you call the person who runs a casino). Now... if only I could find such a place... and reality provides.
You know, I think that's the first time I mentioned Hellhole by name (though Ferraille drops it as a quasi-stealth-pun in the prologue), and there's kind of a story about how I found that, too. I knew she'd have to be in a cave somewhere - preferably near-ish to the East Coast, as she steals important things from all the Hell else over the country - and that cave would ideally be not entirely explored and also have a creepy name. And be a definitely real place that I don't need to make up. Thirty minutes of Googling later, I found Hellhole: here's some info on the bats that live there, and here are pictures! Look at the entrance!
I also needed a bridge for an upcoming bit, but not just any bridge. It should be a railroad bridge, because there needs to not be car traffic, and high up in the air, and somewhere between Winslow and Hellhole. Easy, right? Well, it was a lot easier after I found out what tresses and trustles are (as I said, I know nothing), and I found this bridge out in Tennessee which literally travels over the treetops. Oh, wait. Some guy (whose web page I have since lost to browser history) helpfully points out that, not two miles down the river, there's an older version of the same damn bridge which is now abandoned - which means no rail traffic, either! Perfect!
Then there was this last bit. Fae Jennie is gonna put Sam Rose on the case (you remember Sam, from The Tower, right?), hence the whole "rose for a rose" deal. I figured Alice could find a "Rose's Antiques" somewhere in Las Vegas, and bam! Done. Glass rose. Right? Well... OK, an antique store in the middle of Las Vegas might be kinda hokey, so I Googled "rose's antiques" and looked for a real place that would pass plausibility muster because it is a real place and not something hokey I made up. And what do I find? Two Wild Roses (it's even got the "two" thing going on! Squee!), in Crestline, CA (it's right across the border! Squee!), which has a friggin' Valley of Enchantment (OK, now this is getting creepy... squee?).
OK. This brings us to the present day. I'm looking for a bar for the next bit, but a place that Jamie can reasonably take Della because she's totally underage, where they can [SPOILER ALERT!] run into a Hunter who's drowning his sorrows [/SPOILER ALERT!] and have zany hijinks ensue. Can't be too classy a place - the guy's there drowning his sorrows, after all - and it ought to be close to the vampire headquarters. What do I find? Not one mile East on Sahara Avenue, there's a PT's Pub. Wait a second. Wasn't Stephen's regular haunt from that bit a couple bits ago also called P T's?
Why, yes. Yes, it was.
So now, I'm starting to get a little freaked out.
Well, OK, not really. I mean, I know from working on a previous project that the world is a big place and crazy coincidences happen all the time. Especially when you spend cumulative hours Googling for them (instead of, say, traveling cross-country looking for all the places you want ahead of time, like a writer would've had to do just twenty years ago). Still, it feels almost like the Universe is trying to help me write this book.