When I first set out to write "Blood of the Pride" it wasn't a hard choice to figure out where to set it. It was automatically going to be my hometown of Toronto, Ontario - CANADA! After all, where else could I set it and keep it feeling so realistic?
But the odd thing was that I wrote it while living in the US - Pennsylvania, where I emigrated in 2000 after marrying a sweet-talking American who wooed me through fanfiction fan emails. By the time I wrote BotP I had been in the US for a few years and far, far away from the Toronto I knew and loved.
When I returned to Toronto for a visit I was astonished at how much had changed - especially in the downtown core. Stores had closed and opened, buildings torn down for condominiums, the old pinball arcades I knew in my youth now trendy boutiques.
But my Toronto still existed - in my mind and in my books. When Rebecca and Brandon run around the city either chasing or being chased I still see my old Toronto, the city where I played pinball in one of the parlors on Yonge Street until 2 am before grabbing a panzerotto and heading for the all-night Queen Street streetcar. Or maybe visiting the Silver Snail, the best comic shop EVER, down on Queen before wandering into Bakka, the best science-fiction bookstore and puttering up into Chinatown.
I realized that by the time you write about a city it's already passed you by - or most of it has, the expendable bits. The landmarks and the memorials might remain but a lot of the simpler stuff, the smaller stuff like a hot dog vendor or a hole-in-the-wall bookstore have warped and changed with time.
It's a bit humbling to think that I captured a part of history in my writing. My Toronto, my memories of what it was like and what it won't be again as time moves on and change takes over. I'm wondering if anyone has read or written about a city and then gone there - were you disappointed in what you saw, what was or wasn't there from the book?
All I know is that my Toronto isn't what's there now. And while it's a bit exciting to see the changes it's a wee bit sad...