Visit Tulsa! Read about P.C.’s inspiration for the sites you’ve read about in the House of Night series, and then head on over to the Virtual Tour of Tulsa for videos, pictures, + tons more!
I love the Ambassador Hotel! It’s a super chic boutique-style hotel that has fabulous, friendly people working there and incredibly soft beds! The Chalkboard is the restaurant in the basement of the hotel, and I swear it serves the best crème brulee in town! You can always tell whether a hotel’s restaurant is any good by the amount of locals you can find there – well, I can tell you my friends and I can be found there regularly!
The “real” HoN setting, Cascia Hall, is located where I describe it in the books, and much of the main buildings are as I describe them – the old imported stone and the castle appearance. I do take several liberties and have fictionalized quite a bit of the campus. For instance: there is no stone fence that encloses it and no stables (though at my last Tulsa book event one of the Cascia students told me she really wished that part of my description had been true!).
Okay, the Gilcrease Museum and mansion are really on the Tulsa Ghost Tour (which Kristin and I have gone on!). The museum is haunted and wonderful, and it is set on acres and acres of beautiful, wooded grounds. There is a Gilcrease manor in the middle of the grounds, and it is much as I describe – big wrap-around porch, rooftop balcony, fountain in the front yard. But it isn’t a ruin anymore. The house has undergone renovations.
Little Black Dress
Here’s the truth: Kristin and I totally heart Little Black Dress!
It’s a fabulous boutique in the heart of Cherry Street, whose owner, Kelly Mize, makes shopping there feel like you’re at your own personal store. Even when we’re having an “I’m-so-fat-and-ugly-day” Kelly helps us find a little something that makes us feel pretty and special. It’s a beautiful store and a fun place to just stop in and hang out with Kelly!
This will probably surprise a lot of you, but Mary’s Grotto is exactly how I describe it. It’s at the corner of 21st Street and Lewis on the grounds of the Monte Cassino School (Benedictine private school). It’s an absolutely gorgeous and magical place. No, I don’t know any of the nuns, but they have a reputation for being as friendly as they are spiritual. They did a calendar a few years ago as a fundraiser that showed them swinging and playing in the snow and all sorts of fun stuff you wouldn’t think as stereotypically nun-like. So, in my mind (as well as my novels) I made them as cool as I like to believe they are in real life.
Kristin and I have loved the fabulous Philbrook Museum
for years and years. Some of our favorite memories were made there: The Celebration of Trees during the holidays, Sunday brunch at LaVilla restaurant, Shakespeare on the Grounds, Film Fridays in the summer, and finding treasures in the gift shop. This is one Tulsa stop that is just as magickal in the real world as it is in the HoN world!
The real Street Cats
and Kristin and I have had a long, warm relationship. Kristin adopted Nala from there, and we’ve done book events at their pretty facility, which is as I describe in the HoN books. The only thing I fictionalized is that it’s run by nuns. It’s not, but it is run by wonderful women who I think might actually be angels.
Yes, there really is a Tulsa Depot
. It’s cool looking; it reminds me of Gotham City with an art deco twist. From the outside it looks like I describe in the books, but (thankfully!) the inside has been completely renovated and it now is headquarters for the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. It’s also used for special events. I’ve spent New Year’s Eve there, as well as presented the wonderful author, Sue Monk Kidd Oklahoma’s Homecoming Award there. (It has a basement level, but no tunnels underneath.)
There really are old tunnels under downtown Tulsa! Ever since I first heard about them they’ve intrigued me. Stories differ about their original intent. It’s commonly known that they were created because of safety in an era when rich people’s children were being kidnapped. Rumor has it that they were also used during Prohibition. Some of them are pretty creepy, but the system is not as large as I fictionalized in the HoN world, and they don’t extend under the Tulsa Depot.
Kristin and I seriously heart us some Utica Square!
It’s a wonderful cluster of cool shops and restaurants. Yes, it is as I describe it with a Starbucks, American Eagle, Miss Jackson’s, The Dolphin, Pier One, and a bunch of super yummy places to eat (the Wild Fork is our favorite!). You may not see any vampyres lurking around, but I can promise you’ll see Kristin and me!
Will Rodgers High School
Besides being an absolutely exquisite art deco building, Will Rogers High School is awesome! It’s the first school to adopt MARKED on their English curriculum (in their diversity and tolerance unit). The teachers are dedicated and talented. The administration is supportive. The students are imaginative and creative. I’d teach there in a heartbeat if I could work it into my crazy schedule. I’ll be returning there to guest speak to classes this semester. Oh, and YES, there is a system underneath the school that is very tunnel-like, as well as a ghost that haunts the place and an amazing tower – perfect for Raven Mocker perching!