In The Beat Goes On (book 10), Xay finds himself in an abandoned copper mine in Arizona. I did some research on what these places look like, and what the dangers are, and thus a storyline was born.
To orient ourselves, the image above shows the landscape surrounding the Dragoon Mountains in Cochise county (in the far southeastern corner of Arizona). Touchstone Pass is the (fictional) closest town to the ashram and is based on the location of Dragoon, elevation 4600ft (1400m). The highest peak in these mountains Wynter saw in the distance growing up is 7500ft (2300m).
Somewhere out there in the desert scrub is a mine entrance:
Arizona has thousands of abandoned mines, and is slowly working to make them safe. Can you imagine yourself inside one?
This YouTube video shows two guys exploring a mine in Cochise county and will give you a good, creepy feel for the place… bearing in mind my characters don’t have the benefit of powerful lighting. For a quicker look, this article has stills from the same video.
While the mine above didn’t have any water in it, rainwater did get in and the wood was damp. In my story, there are collected puddles deep inside the mine – similar to this:
Thankfully, I can explore these old places from the safety of my armchair because I find them absolutely fascinating. And horrifying, to think about what the working conditions were like.For reference, here’s a map of Arizona showing a few location mentiond in the book: Phoenix and Tucson, Ajo, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon, along with the location of Touchstone Pass.
Ill be doing a few more deep dives into the research rabbit holes I’ve visited during the course of writing the Wynter Wild series.