This past weekend, PAPER TOWNS hit theatres. That was the first John Green book I read. I loved it for many reasons: 1) it’s just so beautifully written 2) the story is universal and yet unique 3) it takes place in Orlando. It’s rare seeing your city shown in books, and even rarer in books you really enjoy, and even rarer rarer (sure, go with it) when you recognize the landmarks. It was so neat seeing characters going to Winter Park High School, living in Baldwin Park (though not mentioned by name), hanging out at the Suntrust Building. These are locations I pass all the time. I can feel those characters there.
I did something similar with THE NIGHT WE SAID YES. I used real Orlando locations (though changed the names), in hopes that those who live here can feel the book. So, here’s an inside look at some of the real locations behind the fictional story.
- Jefferson High School: Jefferson High School is based off my old high school, Lake Brantley. It’s an open campus, with two story buildings. I have not, however, climbed on the roof. (For a neat overhead shot of the school, check out this video.)
- One Spin Records: One Spin is Park Ave CDs (shown above). Though described a little bigger, it’s an older record store that’s still amazing, and hosts bands every now and then. I frequented it in high school, when it was in a smaller location (actually off a Park Avenue.)
- Kiki’s: Loosely based off Tanquerays, which is in downtown Orlando. It’s below ground and insanely smokey. I used to go there for open-mic nights. (It does not serve underage, so Jake would not frequent it in real life.)
And though not a location…
The Pepperpots are slightly based on fact! Matt, Jake, and Barker are made up, but the name is a shout out to my best guy friends’ high school band, The Pepperpots. I thought they were the best band in the world back then. Fun fact: The drummer filmed my book trailer. And the other two came to my release party. And above is a terrific photo of them from, I think, 1999.