Blaylock set his mud-splattered, ghostly tale during severe seasonal rainstorms over a 100-year span. The raging El Ninos bring forth ominously rising water in the wells, time-travel aqua-portals, and stones that contain spirits of the dead. It’s no accident that the novel’s rain-slicked plaza in Orange is a warped Main Street Disneyland, and its old Tustin farmhouses and citrus groves chart a sepia-toned map of historical O.C. “To my mind, Orange County was a far, far better place to live when I was growing up in the 1950s, running around orange groves and camping in the Santa Ana Mountains,” Blaylock said recently. “That’s really where my heart is.”
FACTOID Blaylock, who directs Chapman University’s creative writing programs, is one of the pioneers of Steampunk, a genre of sci-fi and fantasy fiction that plays on Victorian-era technology and aesthetics.