Barbara Crane | A Sense of Place
Giveaway: Win a copy of WHEN WATER WAS EVERYWHERE
February 22, 2017
Until I wrote a historical novel set where I lived nearly all my life, I didnâ€™t
really know the place. My latest novel, WHEN WATER WAS EVERYWHERE,
explores the lives of a Los Angeles landowner, an immigrant, a young Indian
woman, and a Spanish priest during the 1840s when Alta California was a Mexican
I had suspected that the landscape was vastly different a century and a half
ago. In fact, the seed for the novel came from driving on Los Angelesâ€™ freeways.
Iâ€™d look down and see a vast plain of houses, stores, and shopping malls. I
wondered what lay beneath the concrete. Like most people, I assumed Los Angeles
was a desert.
Research revealed a place vastly different from the city I called home. It was
never a desert. In fact, the landscape was once far more green. Less than 200
years ago, rain flowed down the mountains that rim Los Angeles, swelling its
rivers and streams in the rainy season. This rainfall leached into the earth and
created large stores of groundwater.
Coastal wetlands and
inland marshesâ€”important as bird habitats and natural water filtersâ€”covered
large areas and remained wet all year.
As I immersed myself in LAâ€™s watery history, I centered much of my novelâ€™s
narrative along the Los
Angeles River. A
concrete flood control channel now, it was once a winding river lined with
willow and cottonwood trees. The Tongva/Gabrielino
Indians plied their reed boats down the river, fishing for steelhead trout.
When I understood that water was a central feature of the early Southern
California landscape, water became a main character in my novel. I wrote scenes
where my characters interacted with each other along rivers and near wetlands.
The areaâ€™s historical landscape, a surprise to me, gave me the images I needed
to create a sense of place.
Readers â€“ what stories have you read that give you a strong sense of place?
Writers â€“ what have you discovered about the area you live in that you have
highlighted in your writing?
Include your answer with a comment to enter my giveaway. Good luck to you!
Win a copy of WHEN WATER
WAS EVERYWHERE, it's simple, leave a comment below and you'll be
automatically entered! A signed paperback for US addresses or ebook for
international readers! Open internationally!
Once upon a time in Los Angeles, water was everywhereâ€”in rivers that rendered
the vast plain marsh and woodland; in underground streams that provided an
abundance of water for people, cattle, orchards and vineyards.
The American Henry Scott encounters this fertile landscape in When Water Was
Everywhere. Arriving in the Mexican pueblo of Los Angeles in 1842, he meets Don
Rodrigo Tilman (based on the historical John Temple). Scott becomes the foreman
of Tilmanâ€™s newly-purchased cattle ranch along the Los Angeles River, the
present day Rancho Los Cerritos.
As Scott learns about ranchos and cattle, vaqueros and Indians, Mexican
California and Tongva Indian village life come alive under Barbara Craneâ€™s deft
grasp of narrative and history. Tilman, Scott, Big Headed Girl (a young Tongva
Indian woman) and Padre JosĂ©â€™s (a Franciscan friar) unfolding stories assure the
novelâ€™s themes of loss, hope and redemption resonate from every page.
Fiction [Paperback /
e-Book, ISBN: 9780997260908 / eISBN:
Barbara Craneâ€™s most recent novel, WHEN WATER WAS EVERYWHERE, won a Beverly
Hills Book Award. When sheâ€™s not writing, Barbara is busy hanging out with
friends, hiking, cooking or working in her garden. She lives in Long Beach near
Rancho Los Cerritos and other sites in her novel, but still considers herself an
24 comments posted.
Re: Barbara Crane | A Sense of Place
Tha Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.
(Tanja Dancy 3:00pm February 22, 2017)
Not sure what I'm suppose to comment on. But thank you for the chance.
(Valerie Miller 4:01pm February 22, 2017)
Ok I re read the post above, my granddaughter must have made me miss that part
of the reading.
I would have to go with the Dark Hunter series has given me a look into New
Orleans. I just made it there this year for the first time in my 45 years here on
(Valerie Miller 4:07pm February 22, 2017)
The Help comes to mind first. Set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 60's, it is an awakening of justice for those who served the white community and were mistreated.
(Susan Coster 10:45pm February 22, 2017)
lost Among The Living, The Yard, The Confectioner's Tale, The
Railwayman's Wife all have a wonderful sense of place which is
very well portrayed.
(Sharon Berger 10:17am February 23, 2017)
This book sounds very interesting. Would like to read about the early history of
(Joy Isley 10:16am February 24, 2017)
Because I have been able to travel to many parts of the
world, I like any book that places me where I have visited.
It is always great to be able to picture the area as I
(Leona Olson 10:19am February 24, 2017)
I've read a number of historical novels set in New York
City in centuries past. Amazing to think that about a
century ago (or less) there were still farms on Manhattan
Island. Now only asphalt and skyscrapers bloom where once
were lush fields and forests. Why do humans think their
"progress" improves this world?
(Irene Menge 10:37am February 24, 2017)
I'd love to read this and add to my knowledge of California history. I know a bit about later history when the Bixby family formed a large ranch there, but not a lot before then.
(Sharon Mitchell 7:55pm February 24, 2017)
I love reading stories that take place in the past of
places I love.
(Linda Knowles 9:56pm February 24, 2017)
This sounds like a great book! thanks for the chance to win
(Nicole Bouchey 8:23am February 25, 2017)
(Debby Creager 5:29pm February 26, 2017)
Can't wait to read .
(Debby Creager 5:31pm February 26, 2017)
I would have to go with Jane Urquhart's The Underpainter.
(Glenna Morrison 8:59pm February 27, 2017)
What wonderful books you all have suggested! A treasure
trove. A few I have read include The Bluest Eye by Toni
Morrison. She is always a powerful purveyor of sense of
place. I'd like to read about historical New York. What's
a book you like, Irene.I think I've read about The
Railwayman's Wife. That goes on my list, too. Thank you
(Barbara Crane 9:02pm February 27, 2017)
I love to read books that center on places I have travelled
to--it just make the experience seem more real that way!
(Nancy Ludvik 4:24pm February 28, 2017)
Sounds like a good book - I really enjoy historical
(Sandy Haber 8:55pm February 28, 2017)
My love of novels that are so descriptive that they take me to their setting started years ago with Mary Stewart.
(Mary Songer 3:44pm March 1, 2017)
sounds like be very interseting
(Philip Halter 8:12pm March 1, 2017)
I have never read anything that gave me a sense of place. I did like finding out
that Los Angeles waa something different than it is today. The history of my
town was interesting to find out about. It was considered at one time to be the
capital of the state.
(Diane McMahon 8:31am March 2, 2017)
It's fascinating to discover the past, to find out how different the landscape was a hundred or more years ago. The area where I live had huge long leaf pine trees. All of that changed when lumber companies arrived with their saws during the latter part of the 1800's and then a hurricane finished changing the landscape completely around 1909.
(Anna Speed 1:09pm March 2, 2017)
Sounds like a great read. Thanks for the giveaway.
(Marilyn Collins 2:57pm March 2, 2017)
One second after. The audio book is awesome
(Laura Gullickson 9:26pm March 2, 2017)
Among the products listed on the site, which one is the
(Mikko Nikulainen 2:46pm July 18, 2019)
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