Episode 3: Behind the Scenes


Episode 3 is available (Amazon, Kobo and Nook)!

In A Shattered Silence, episode 3 of The Roaring Redwoods, a flood changes the course of the hotel and the characters’ relationships.

Flooding was a huge issue in Santa Cruz for decades before the levees were built along the San Lorenzo River. It was one reason China Camp doesn’t exist any more- it was suffered flooding constantly as it was situated on an island in the river.

In the Santa Cruz Mountains, rain (in non drought years) can be heavy. My first year in the Mountains (2002), heavy rain contributed to two huge trees falling across the main road in/out of where I lived. I actually didn’t even know there was another way in/out until a neighbor told me.

The trees were Redwoods. This is very unusual as these trees seem custom made for the environment here- profoundly resilient to the climate. As are the inland version of Redwoods for their climate. This is not true of all trees. And Redwoods out of their environment can be high maintenance.

All sorts of life lessons in that info, isn’t there?

Trees do fall here, but it is rare for it to be a Redwood.

In 1922, the stream running through the Brookdale Inn property changed course due to heavy rain and the Brookroom was born. I remember reading this factoid and marveling at how someone would see such an event and be inspired to create something so lovely from what others would see as disaster.

There had to be mud, tree limbs and other debris…I’m sure plenty of others saw damage from the stream in ’22 and said, well, that’s that, nothing to be done there. Whole thing’s a loss. But at least one person could look that and not be cowed. Not listen to others. See a future.

More life lessons, right?

And you’ll see how I made a scene out of that for my story (and moved it to 1926). Time knows no bounds in fiction.

I sadly did not get to see the original Brook Room, I have a post card and some hazy photos and my writer’s imagination to fill in the gaps. It is this version that I try to describe in Redwoods for Joe Santone’s RiverWood Lodge and Casino.

The incarnation of the Brook Room I did visit was still pretty special. I must have been 8 or so. And I remember it vividly. I returned as an adult several times. It had aged poorly and declined rapidly. But you could see how special it was. A creek- a real creek- runs through the dining room.

Locals are excited about the new ownership and hoping he sees a future for this special place. That amidst the vandalism, age and neglect- he sees a future. And if he does, I will go back. It is a special place.

Almost as special as RiverWood.