Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Magical Cleveland

My first published novels were the Heir Chronicles (2006-2008) a contemporary fantasy trilogy set in the fictional college town of Trinity, OH.
The Enchanter Heir,(Hyperion, 10.1.13) is the first of two companion novels to the Heir series. Here, the action moves from the small-town sanctuary of Trinity to the big city—into the gritty industrial landscape of Cleveland. 
Cleveland’s industrial heart is a spectacular setting for an urban fantasy. The Cuyahoga River bottoms known as the Flats are forested with the iron skeletons of bridges: lift bridges, swing bridges, railroad and road bridges.
lndustrial buildings line the pitted streets—marine businesses and factories alternating with shuttered clubs and waterfront bars. Lake freighters shoulder their way up the crooked river to unload cargo at the Port of Cleveland.
This is a place where the lurid flare of steel mills still light up the night. Despite the encroachment of residential lofts, condo conversions, and craft breweries, it is still a place where longshoremen move cargo, steel is forged, and people actually make things.  
Much of the entertainment action has moved up the hill into the Warehouse District, the oldest neighborhood in Cleveland, one that is being reborn as a residential district. Here, bars, music clubs, and restaurants hum with activity nearly every night.
This is, after all, the birthplace of rock n roll.
When you write novels set in real places, it requires a bit of research. If you get things wrong, you get emails.
Excuse me, but actually XYZ bar is on the east side of the river, not the west, and so in that scene where the zombies are chasing Fitch and Jonah, they couldn’t possibly have…
You get the idea.
To prepare for the gig, I took one of the Take A Hike walking tours of the Warehouse District offered by Gateway Cleveland Afterward, I walked around the Flats, soaking up the sights, sounds, and smells of the waterfront.
A bridge tender called down from her cabin to ask what we were up to, skulking around, taking photographs of the workings of her bridge.  “I’m a writer,” I said. “There’s going to be a battle on top of your bridge.”
“For real?” she said.
Soon after, we heard the clamor of the bridge alarm. The bridge deck rose, and a lake freighter squeezed through.

Where Magic Happens in CLE
Some Cleveland Locations in The Enchanter Heir
 The Anchorage: the “special school” established for Thorn Hill survivors, and underwritten by music promoter Gabriel Mandrake, who also happens to be a sorcerer. Also the headquarters of Nightshade, a team of assassins who hunt the undead; housed in several buildings somewhere in the Warehouse District
The Keep: Mandrake’s nightclub, adjacent to The Anchorage; a showcase for touring bands and up and coming local talent; somewhere in the Warehouse District
The Carter Rd. Lift Bridge: where Jonah encounters shades behaving badly; Cleveland Flats
B&O Terminal
Carter Rd Lift Bridge
The B&O Railroad Terminal: a secret meeting is held in a location modeled after this shuttered terminal on Sherwin-Williams property (Cleveland Flats)
Detroit-Superior Bridge: Jonah Kinlock uses the closed trolley level to travel across the river valley undetected
Settler’s Landing Park: often used as a meeting place on neutral ground

For more information about the characters and events in The Enchanter Heir, visit my website here, or read about it here and here.

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