by Jennifer Caloyeras, author of Strays
For the backdrop to my novel, Strays, I wanted a serene scene to juxtapose against all of the tension in my novel about a girl with anger management issues who gets sentenced to a summer rehabilitating aggressive dogs. I chose the beautiful city of Santa Cruz, California, located on the coast just above Monterey and just below San Francisco. Here are some things you might not know about this wonderful city!
- I went to college there. Yup! I attended U.C.S.C. and majored in literature (no shocker there.) But did you know that U.C. Santa Cruz’s mascot is a banana slug?
- Want to play? The Santa Cruz Board is a famous landmark built in 1907, filled with rides and games. It was also the backdrop to the movie The Lost Boys.
- Surf’s up! Santa Cruz is often voted number one for best surf spot in the United States . It boasts more than 40 miles of coast and at least 70 places to surf! (I never surfed, in case you’re wondering – I’m too afraid of sharks.)
- The trees are incredible! Santa Cruz is nestled in the middle of Redwood forests, which makes is such a beautiful city with great hiking just a few miles away. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is home to the largest collection of Ancient Coast Redwoods south of San Francisco.
- Monarch Migration. Hundreds of thousands of monarch butterflies choose to rest in Santa Cruz during their fall migration. Every year, they stop at Natural Bridges State Beach and rest from fall to winter. I’ve visited them before and it is truly a magical site! On cold days, they cover the nearby eucalyptus trees like a blanket. But when the fog lifts, it’s like a butterfly explosion!
Jennifer Caloyeras is a novelist and short fiction writer living in Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. In English from the University of California at Santa Cruz, an M.A. in English Literature from California State University Los Angeles and an M.F.A. in creative writing through the University of British Columbia.
Her short stories have been published in Monday Night Literary, Wilde Magazine, Storm Cellar and Booth. She has been a college instructor, elementary school teacher and camp counselor. She is the dog columnist for the Los Feliz Ledger and the Larchmont Ledger.
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