The setting for my soon-to-be-released novel, The Ravine, is my Tulsa neighborhood! (This is the first book of The Black Dog series, and a departure from the mystery trilogy I’ve been writing which features Cobwebs, Ant Dens, and Beehives.)
I am lucky to live in a beautiful neighborhood, and the setting was perfect for The Ravine. The trees provide each resident with privacy from neighbors and the street. My patios are places of refuge where, regardless of time of day or season of the year, I can find space to enjoy sky, clouds, sun or shade.
This hilly, forested neighborhood in Southwest Tulsa is a place calling out for a story. The actual ravine is down my driveway and across the street. It is so easy to imagine the Werling family living in one of these houses, and also to imagine Katy Werling and her friend Emily trudging up and down the asphalt lane to visit each other.
In the first chapter of The Ravine, Katy decides to make that trek back home up the hill at nearly 10 o’clock at night, without alerting her parents that she is coming home instead of going to the lake for the weekend with her best friend Emily. Her route takes her up the road beside the ravine.
Truthfully, I’ve never walked up the hill to my own driveway at 10 o’clock at night. But I have heard the yipping coyotes, barking dogs and hooting owls, as well as the rustling breeze and the sound of scurrying feet through the leaf-strewn understory of the forest.
And the bottom of the ravine? Where Katy ends up?
I’ve never been there myself. The sides of the ravine are incredibly steep, covered with rocks and vines and tree roots. Even in broad daylight, a trip to the stream snaking through the boulders at the bottom is not one I want to make.
I can only imagine the details of life in the bottom of that crevasse, so that’s exactly what I used as I wrote the story of The Ravine.
Imagine you are ten years old, and late one night you hear a dog barking and it sounds just like the stray dog you and your family had agreed to adopt several hours earlier. You call its name, and then go to the edge of the ravine to look. The dog barks again, and you start down the barely worn path that disappears into the trees. The leaves on the path are slick beneath the plastic soles of your house shoes. You slip, and begin to slide, tumbling down and then off the makeshift trail and into the thicket. Your fall ends on a ledge just above the streambed at the bottom of the ravine. You are in terrible pain. Something is broken.
That’s all I’ll say for now. The Ravine is available on pre-order from The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.com. The worldwide release date is May 27.
Next week, watch for two more blog posts in which I introduce the characters in The Ravine. The book is available on pre-order now, through The Wild Rose Press or Amazon. I’m eager to hear how you like this book!