The locations used in the Family Portrait series are a huge part of the story and I consider them non human characters. The major locations I’ve used all have special meaning to me. Below are a couple of locations mentioned in Banovic Siblings and Changes.
Since moving to the United States in 1998, I lived in New York, Los Angeles and now Albuquerque. I have been blessed to have lived in 3 completely different cities with such rich tapestry of cultures.
The Grove is located at the corner of Fairfax and 3rd Avenue. Back in the day before The Grove was cool (before Access Hollywood and Modern Family started filming there) I used to spend all my time there. I didn’t have a car or job and I lived a block away, The Grove was my hang-out spot for entertainment and keeping my anxiety in tact. I spent many hours people watching, browsing the shops or at Barnes and Noble. I remember spending Christmas-eve admiring the decorations, and watching the water from the fountain dance to Christmas carols. The Grove made being broke in LA suck less, and will always have a very special place in my heart. http://www.thegrovela.com. Photos courtesy The Grove LA.
The village of Westwood is located between Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. It is a college town and the home of UCLA. Don’t go looking for Westwood Academy in Westwood village California because there is none. The Westwood Academy mentioned in the books is actually located in Albuquerque (kinda), more on that later.
I fell in love with Westwood Village because of its quaint shops, cafés, and rich architecture. I used to go there to movie screenings and to browse around. By then I had a job but still no car. I use to ride the bus on Wilshire Blvd, from West Hollywood to Westwood Village to Santa Monica on my way to and from work. I used to spend 2 hours in traffic in Westwood Village alone! http://www.westwoodblvd.com/. Photos courtesy SeeingStars.com, Wikimedia
Holmby Hills is a neighborhood in the district of Westwood in western Los Angeles. It is bordered by the city of Beverly Hills on the east, Wilshire Boulevard on the south, Westwood on the west, and Bel Air on the north. (Wiki)
My fascination with Holmby Hills started because my idol, the late, great Aaron Spelling lived there. I drove through Holmby Hills (with friends, I still didn’t have a car) a few times on our way to the coast. I remember seeing these amazing mansions and long driveways lined with huge palm trees. One of the reasons I used Holmby Hills in the series is because it is not as known as Beverly Hills, Hollywood or Malibu, yet it packs a mean punch by way of decadence. Photo courtesy: BusinessInsider.com
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque Academy aka Westwood Academy
Albuquerque Academy is located at 6400 Wyoming Blvd NE. Less than a mile from my home. I fell in love with Albuquerque Academy while scouting for locations to add to my media package (when the book was actually a television series), and was blown away by the grounds and the academic opportunities at the school. The grounds are open to the public outside of school hours and I frequently go there to hike or run/walk their trails. Yep they have a few hiking trails located on the premises. I usually do the 3 mile trail, which is a mixture of hills and rough terrain. I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful the campus grounds are. There are sculptures around the campus, Mediterranean architecture, beautiful arches and tree line walkways connect the buildings. The school houses students from grades 6 – 12. I don’t know if they have marble floors, state-of-the-art facilities and gourmet lunches as mentioned in my books, that was my imagination running rampant, but wouldn’t to be cool if it was really like that? Photos courtesy http://www.nmlocations.com/