Blood & Dirt could not have taken place in any city other than Pittsburgh. So much of the novel is rooted in the area during the time that I started writing it in 2017. Over the course of the week leading up to the publication date, I posted photos I’d taken of key locations from the novel on social media to get everyone ready for the official release on August 2nd. I wanted to share that visual tour here as well.
I spent many afternoons jogging in Schenley Park, and Panther Hollow always struck me as a unique area of Pittsburgh in that it’s in a pocket of nature that is secluded from the surrounding city. I often wondered if anyone could hear me scream if something happened on the trail. Naturally, this is where Blood & Dirt begins.
This tunnel, which is formed by one of the stone arches that supports Panther Hollow Bridge, not only is the setting for a pivotal scene in the novel, but it is also what inspired the cover of Blood & Dirt.
I’ve always admired the way that Pittsburgh has built itself back up after the collapse of the steel industry. This cycle of life, death, and rebirth is evident in the buildings of the city. In this picture, what I presume was once a massive home was eventually divided into apartments, where I spent the better part of a summer in college crashing with my boyfriend and some dear friends. It is also the one that inspired Vincent and James’s apartment in Blood & Dirt.
The scenes that take place at Greenwood Cemetery in Blood & Dirt were some of the most challenging pages I’ve ever written. Consequently, they are now some of the ones I cherish the most. While there are many gorgeous and historical cemeteries and graveyards in Pittsburgh, this one holds a special place for me for that reason.
What is a horror novel without multiple cemeteries? In all seriousness, so much of Blood & Dirt centers around loss and grief, and with parts of the novel taking place in Butler, PA, I wanted to include North Side Cemetery, which I have visited frequently over the years to visit my family.
Blood & Dirt begins in earnest on the trails of Panther Hollow, and it ends on Panther Hollow Bridge. I’m so excited to share this Pittsburgh tale with everyone.