One of the less-angsty parts of writing a novel is doing fun research on your locations.
And the book I’m writing now is set about 20 minutes from me, in adorable San Clemente.
I chose San Clemente because it’s one of the least populated beach towns in Orange County and still has a cool, “old school California” vibe about it. It’s the most southern city you can possibly visit in OC before a long, long freeway drive through nothingness into San Diego County, and therefore it’s too remote for most people. For that reason, San Clemente always has a “locals only” feel to it, which is what I wanted for my novel. Plus, I set it there because it has some of the best surf in OC; it’s home to The Surfrider Foundation, a world-renown environmental group; it spawned the two biggest magazines in the industry, Surfer and Surfing magazines; it houses numerous board-shapers; boasts a chunk of the apparel, gear, suits, boards and more in the $6 billion surf industry; and is home to tons of competitive surfers over the years. Oh, and did I mention the great surf? Since my hero is a professional surfer, this just seemed like his home.
Anyway, although I’ve been there many times (we have friends who live there, I used to write for a client there, plus we even stayed at a beach house there two different years), I realized suddenly — when I went to write a scene that takes place on San Clemente Pier — that I’d never been to the pier!
San Clemente’s pier is a little hidden away, after several loopy roads, so it’s not something you automatically stumble into like the other five piers in Orange County. But look how pretty it is. I can’t believe I’ve missed this all these years:
Superman and I made a date out of it after work one evening. We scoped the area for my heroine’s apartment where she stays:
I found the sidewalk where my heroine and some of the secondary characters walk down to the beach:
We wandered the pier to check out the view:
And ate at the restaurant they’ll probably eat at, The Fisherman’s:
And of course we had a few drinks, some great dinner, and a great time watching the sunset:
This might have been my most relaxing novel-writing evening in eons!
Now my job is to bring this beautiful place to life on the page — with only words.