Michael Marshall talks about setting

This month, we’re talking about Michael Marshall’s THE INTRUDERS in our brand new Goodreads book club. Here’s Michael to talk a little bit about the setting, and why he knew he wanted to set it in Seattle…

Once I had the idea for THE INTRUDERS, I realized I already knew the place to set it, too. The story wanted to be placed in the Cascade Mountains, and the coast of Oregon, and Seattle, a city in which I’d previously spent only a few days. Generally this kind of thing doesn’t bother me, as my job is basically to make shit up, but on this occasion I felt it might be a good idea to get to know the place better. The prospect of escaping for a while from the sleeping patterns of a very young child had absolutely no influence on the decision.

Accordingly I flew to Seattle and spent a week there by myself, walking the streets nine hours a day stopping only for coffee, beguiling the evenings in a variety of bars, reading local history and drinking rather too much local amber. The scene in the novel in which Jack Whalen slips and falls on his ass when walking down vertiginous and icy Madison Street, for example, is closely modelled on an incident in real life. Doubtless for cogent creative reasons, this scene doesn’t appear to have made it to the screen adaptation.

Though shot mainly in Vancouver and its environs, the show totally captures the look and atmosphere of the parts of Seattle in which it’s set. Here are a few photos I took on that trip…

Post-Alley-low

Post Alley, close to the Pike Place Market. It features a stretch of wall where local custom dictates that people stick their pieces of used chewing gum, creating an intriguing piece of “art”. It was a glass-fronted business down here that provided the inspiration for the office for Kerry, Crane and Hardy — Amy Whelan’s employers.

Intruders-treat-low

My favourite alleyway in Seattle, not far from Pioneer Square. Yes, I do have favourite alleys, and Good Christ I’ve got a lot of pictures of this one. I like the man in the sweater carrying the suitcase: albeit dressed wrongly, he puts me in mind of the character of Shepherd.

Door-low

My favourite doorway in Seattle, the astonishingly verdigrised entrance to the Seattle Steam Company, again not far from Pioneer Square. This door has no bearing whatsoever on the show, but is a very pretty colour.

Hope-Flies-low

A bird, flying on a typical sunny Seattle afternoon, across the back of the building I had in mind when I was writing the climax for the novel. In fact, I think the production have found a better building in Vancouver for the TV show…

Road

The highway from Portland to Seattle. The Pacific Northwest does, to be fair, look a bit like this a lot of the time. But the point of this picture is that it’s close to the Sutter Creek Rest Area, at which — though renamed for the show — some non-lovely things happen…

Want to talk about THE INTRUDERS? Head over to Goodreads and join the book group!

This post originally appeared on Michael Marshall’s website

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