Location Scouting

It’s getting "down to the wire" on the deadline for my first MONK novel, MR. MONK GOES TO THE FIRE HOUSE, which is due June 1. I’m not going to have a problem delivering the book on time, though I hope I never have to write a book in eight weeks again. (I’ve got 3 1/2 months to write my second MONK novel)

I’m up in San Francisco today, where MONK  is set, though it has been shot in Toronto and, for the last season or two, in Santa Clarita, California.  I figured it was time I got to know the city a little
better. Even though I am from the Bay Area (born in Oakland, raised in Walnut Creek), I am not as familiar with SF as I’d
like to be…or need to be… if I am going to create any sense of place in these
MONK books. 

I haven’t had to make a conscious effort to get to know a city for a book since THE WALK, my novel about a guy who walks across L.A. after the Big One hits.  The  DIAGNOSIS MURDER books take place, for the most part, in L.A. Since I live in L.A. , describing the city and neighborhoods comes easily, since I know the city well. Even so, I’ve also got a bunch of L.A. architecture and history books and travel guides to use for research when necesary…and occasionally have to drive some where and take some pictures to add more texture to the writing.

Although I’ve been back to SF maybe thirty times in the last, say, ten years, the problem is I  always go to the same parts of the city every time  (mostly the tourist spots at that). I’m making a big effort over the next two days to visit neighborhoods I haven’t been to in years or am unfamiliar with…and to take lots of pictures.  In doing so, I’m discovering a whole new San Francisco. I’m also picking up lots of books on SF while I’m here for research and to refresh my memory.

It’s fun, though I’m painfully aware that hours spent on the streets  are hours not spent at the laptop writing…