Los Angeles is known as the City of Angels with its celebrities, movie stars, beautiful beaches, perfect weather, Lakers, Dodgers, Kings, and oh yes, gridlock traffic on the infamous 405 Freeway. With more cars than there are people, the city is a living breathing multi-cultural melting pot of humanity.
I remember landing at LAX airport when I was fifteen, leaving the only home I’d ever known: Hong Kong. Growing up in a city with millions of people helped me adjust when my family returned to the States. Los Angeles was the perfect place. Another big city.The original Hollywood sign actually said, “Hollywoodland” as an advertisement for a real estate development by the same name. Today, it’s an iconic image that reminds the world this is the place where stars are made. Many who live within the city are part dreamers and part fame chasers. It’s in this place where my dream to be a writer became a reality when I wrote the opening pages of my first novel, The Disillusioned. There is no better place to peal back the glamor of a city and open up a world where fame and fortune hang in the balance, and where the streets promise to make or break you.As a teenager I played basketball in Compton, South Central, Venice, Long Beach, as well as numerous other cities around Los Angeles, away from the spotlight of Hollywood. I learned to compete, to challenge myself, and to fight for what I wanted in life. Years later, I did a ride along with a Sheriff friend of mine in Compton, and spent a 14-hour shift responding to more calls than we could keep up with. I felt like I was in the movie, Training Day, with Denzel! Seeing the city that most never see opened my eyes to those who struggle to survive versus those who have more than they’ll ever need.One of my favorite places is just outside of Los Angeles along the beaches of Malibu. For those of you who have read my novels, you’ll notice how this place is an escape for the characters within the pages. Perhaps I keep returning to this place because over the years it’s been true for me. My wife and I love to drive down the coast to our favorite spot near Point Dume and sit by the ocean, walk along the sand, watch the dolphins or whales in the waves, and gaze at the sunset as it disappears on the horizon. It brings a sense of peace amidst the storms of life, and offers inspiration to pursue our dreams together.
I think of the novel I’m writing now, and realize once again how this city is crucial to the story. You see it’s more than a location, it’s a character. And I hope to write about this character for many years to come!