The past two days I've spent researching Hollywood Boulevard and some of it's most famous surroundings...
Why, you might ask?
Because my novel is a contemporary set in California- L.A. or around about those parts. The hero and heroine barely know each other very well since he just hired her to be a nanny for his two children who are coming back from Tennessee for summer vacation visitation.
So when they take a lazy Sunday drive together so she can do a little photography, where in the world could they go?
Well, Hollywood Boulevard, of course! He's been there before, but she hasn't, even though she grew up right there in L.A., too.
But now, being the country bumpkin that I am, what do I know about Hollywood Blvd?
Not much...I won't kid you- yesterday I had a generalized idea of where Grauman's Chinese Theatre is- but that was because in one of my prior stories, the heroine had to attended a movie premiere of her sister's at Grauman's. The whole kit and caboodle- flash bulbs, red carpet, celebs decked out in their best...etc.
Anyway...yesterday I started doing research and discovered the wonders of Hollywood Boulevard and it makes my feet itch to walk those streets, to travel the sidewalks and look at all the stars on the Walk of Fame. I'm even more interested in Grauman's than before because that's where the hand prints and footprints of celebrities over time are housed, right there in cement in the Forecourt of the Stars. How amazing it would be to see Shirley Temple's barefooted prints from her childhood there, frozen forever in time. Or even Sean Connery's barefooted prints- As an ADULT! The only other adult to do their footprints with out shoes was Harpo Marx.
You have so many choices it seems of things to do there. You can see a movie, go shopping at Hollywood and Highland Center, go to the Wax Museum or Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum or the Guinness Museum. You can check out the Roosevelt Hotel and take the tour. Claims of celebrity hauntings and lots of history, it would be intriguing. Of course, I know there's plenty more, but these places were the most interesting to me.
So- what a way to spend the day, right? So I started checking things out, but realized that my ignorance of the area could nearly double me over in an anxiety attack. I've never been to Hollywood, nor California for that matter.
So I did more and more research. I discovered a nifty new advancement on Google Maps that thrilled me to no end. If you're in a place that has been covered by the "virtual" you can actually see everything as though you're there, walking down the streets or driving along the boulevards and avenues. You can "drag" the screen and turn to look at your surroundings. So cool! I got to be there- virtually as it may be, but it was very very cool!
I routed out my hero and heroine's trip to Hollywood and Highland with it, so they could park the car and take a leisurely walk along the boulevard. If I get confused about their little trip, I can always go back and check with Google maps or the generalized map I printed out that I scribbled more notes on.
It was a trip to somewhere I've never been...a place I might never get to go, though there's always that wishful thinking- but while I was at it, I tried out my hometown. I could travel the main streets, but I couldn't go "home." Whatever this is they're doing for the maps is in process so smaller towns can only be seen via the main roads, but not in the subdivisions or way out in the country. I'm hoping that one of these days they'll get the entire city covered so that, even though I'm way down here in the south- I could visit my hometown anytime I want to and see my old stomping grounds without even leaving my living room.
If you write, what are some of the most amazing things you've found out while researching? If you don't write- have you ever stumbled upon something or some place that suddenly called to you in a way it never had before? A little gem that, perhaps, you weren't even aware of?