Here it is! The cover for “The Monsters of Chavez Ravine,” an urban fantasy novella.
Luckily, I have a graphic designer who talked me out of some pretty terrible ideas and with limited input, came up with a cover that captures what this book is about. A big thanks to James at GoOnWrite.
The story is set where Dodger Stadium now stands. The eminent domain evictions of thousands of Mexican America families happened. They happened to my mother and her extended family, too. (All of this took place before the Dodgers arrived in LA)
When I was thinking about the different ways I could tell that tale, I kept returning to the idea of interjecting ghosts or monsters to this story of social injustice.
In the end, monsters won.
It’s impossible to shoot at a ghost, and the young lady I conjured as the feisty main character came with sharpshooting skills.
So back to the cover and my horrible first concept.
Here’s a family photo that was taken in La Loma before the bulldozers arrived. It’s in black and white. All the photos are. But it’s Los Angeles and there was lots of sun, and hills and some green, too. My mother recalled her former home as a place with wide-open spaces. The book cover captures its rural beauty, the place many did not want to leave, the place some tirelessly fought for.
This brings us to the protest sign that holds the title of the book.
It’s perfect because the story centers on the two hundred holdouts resisting eviction. There’s even a scene in the book that includes some of the residents making protest signs. Of course, there’s a hint of a monster, and another thing too: a rather dilapidated house.
By 1952, the three neighborhoods of what we now know as Chavez Ravine were fast becoming ghost villages. That sad, rather spooky white house is a stand-in for the state of things in Palo Verde, La Loma and Bishop. It also resembles the house at 1838 Bishops Road where my mother was born, built around 1922.
Interested in learning more about the history of Chavez Ravine? Please click HERE for a list of recommended books and resources.
If you have questions, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.