Monday, October 18, 2010

Research, Fort Point, and a Giveaway Reminder!

Many people see the Golden Gate for what it is. A stretch of beautiful bridge that spans San Francisco Bay. A landmark that's often blanketed in curtains of fog.

But many people fail to see what's beneath it. No, I'm not talking about the goliath ships that sail beneath it's frame. Nor am I talking about the whales that visit the inland shores.

I'm talking about Fort Point.




The fortress stood strong, protecting San Francisco harbor from attack during the Civil War. (As it turns out, Confederate ships were on their way into SF Bay, ready to attack the Fort and control the west, when they discovered the war had ended. Only a few weeks earlier and there might've been a battle between the South and the West!) During World War II, Fort Point was used to keep a watchful eye on the anti-submarine net that stretched across the mouth of the bay and back.

Now, it's a National Historic Site. An awesome one. It also happens to be the scene for my kick-ass climax of my work-in-progress. I researched the heck out of the place online. I tapped into every resource I could find. (Mainly Google, Wikipedia, and the Fort Point site itself.) But for some reason, my vision fell short.

I didn't just want to know about the Fort. I wanted to see it with my own eyes. I wanted to feel it. The fading brick and mortar walls. The dusty stone floor. I wanted to know if chills would creep up my neck when I descended down one of the three steep (and very dark) staircases. I wanted to feel that unforgiving San Francisco wind bite at my face when I traipsed along the roof.

And boy, did I get what I asked for. All that, and then some.

Take a gander...


*The drive over the Bay Bridge


*Can you see Fort Point? It's the tiny building under the Golden Gate on the left.


*A closer view


*The courtyard


*Me behind bars.


*One of the MANY cannons.


*And me again, conquering a stack of 128-lb cannon balls. These deadly puppies could skip over the ocean waves and blast through the hull of a ship from a whopping two miles away!


*One of those creepy hallways I knew was there. My camera lit up the halls pretty good, but in reality they were DARK. Such good material. I'm gonna use the heck out of every spooky nook and cranny.


*View of the light tower from the roof. It was SO COLD. I couldn't stay up there longer than about five minutes. I can't imagine what it would be like in winter...at night.

Overall, I'm glad I went. My huge climactic battle scene is going to have so much more dimension than it would have before. It's one thing to read about Fort Point's haunts online...it's something else entirely to experience it first hand.

**Side note: Don't forget Sophie Littlefield's book giveaway ends tomorrow. I'm going to choose a winner randomly from the people who commented on that specific Author Spotlight post. If you're interested in entering, you can find information on the giveaway under "Labels" and "Sophie Littlefield" or "Pararomance Contests".

9 comments:

Julie Musil said...

That is AWESOME! I have to say, we've driven over the bridge while on vacation, but I can't remember ever having noticed this building. Of course, our eyes were drawn to Alcatraz.

We walked the bridge, and yes, it's cold and windy. Brrrr.

It's so cool that you visited this place, and got a true feeling for what it's like. That will surely shine through in your climax scene. Good luck!

Deb Markanton said...

Kristin, you just visited one of my old haunts! I used to walk my dogs on Chrissy Field. I love Ft. Point. Did you get to experience the waves crashing over the wall and onto whoever might be standing there? LOL
OH, love the cover art for your book!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's really cool you got to explore it in depth!

Marie Harte said...

When I visited San Francisco a few years ago, I had so wanted to visit Fort Point but didn't get a chance. It looks like the perfect place to set a climactic turning point. Spooky, old, historic, out of they way... Nice!

Marie

Kelly Dexter said...

I don't know if it's due to being an East Coaster, but I'm sorry to say I wasn't even aware of Fort Point. Thanks for bringing this place and its history to my attention.

A. J. Larrieu said...

I've never been to Fort Point, but it does look spooky--especially that courtyard!

Shallee said...

Very cool! I've only been to San Francisco once, but I loved it. Thanks for sharing this!

Kristin Miller said...

Julie--You actually can't see it driving over the bridge...or walking across it. It's definitely one of those hidden gems of the city. Sadly, forgotten, too.

Deb--Thanks! And no, we didn't get to see anyboby drenched by the waves. They really were crashing against that concrete wall though! And those surfers! They've got to be crazy!

Alex, Marie--It's definitely worth the trip if you can make it. Nothing like the pictures. It's one of those places you have to "feel".

Kelly--I wasn't aware of it either until a good friend of mine pointed it out. I told her I was in need of a really cool, creepy place to do a final battle scene in my WIP. I needed it to be like a fortress with loads of dark shadows and a rich history. I was about to make one up when she said, "Why not just use Fort Point?" I was so confused, never having heard the name before. Glad I checked it out now. :)

A.J.--And you live there! Go! It can't be far from you and it's free! Perfect afternoon getaway. ;)

Shallee-San Francisco is a great city, you're right...if I can just squelch my fear of earthquakes every time I drive over those darn bridges. I'd head there more often if I wasn't so petrified about them shaking apart. Thanks for the comment!

Nicki Elson said...

Who knew there was an historic site at the Golden Gate Bridge? Not I. Thanks for sharing the pictures. Looks like you had a perfect grey, eerie day for your visit.