This year's summer vacation involved a tangential side trip to do research for my third novel in the Gabriella Giovanni mystery series.
The third book in the series, Blessed Are Those Who Weep, comes out April 7th, 2015, so I decided to include a side trip to the Bay Area on our annual family vacation.
With the kids up at their grandparent's house in northern California, my husband and I headed to our old 'hood — Oakland. We rented a little apartment in the Oakland Hills as our home base and began exploring all the areas that appear in my book.
We moved from the Bay Area to Minneapolis in 2004 and in between then and now, I'd written two books based in that area on memory alone so it was fun to actually go visit the spots that are key in my novel: Contra Costa County (suburbs east of Oakland), Oakland, and North Beach in San Francisco.
I also visited a few secret spots I can't reveal since they would be spoilers for my new book.
Here are a few places we visited: