My vampire Gabriele begins his journey at the beginning of Killing Kiss at Manchester University. He also has an apartment at No 1 Deansgate, which is an extremely expensive complex that had been newly built at the time of writing the book. I never got the opportunity, or rather did quite have the chutzpah to actually ask to see inside one of those apartments, but I enjoyed specualting on how very exclusive they would be.
The whole area of Oxford Road, Deansgate and certain very dodgy areas behind the university are described in the novel. This was because I knew the place very well, having spent twelve months there doing my PGCE. I also worked in various schools around that area when I was doing supply work.
One of my colleagues on the course was threatened with a knife when she went back to her car one evening. Fortunately she managed to get away from the man.
I described a murder in one of those back streets, behind the campus that Lilly and Gabriele are staying in at Manchester: it is a notorious place. I know myself when I've been in the area, and walked outside of school gates at lunchtime in search of food (and momentary freedom) that there are some characters you'd want to avoid and I'd never walk around there at night for certain.
Having said that, I don't want you to think that Manchester is unsafe. It's the same as any big city, there are always places you need to be wary of and this is off the beaten track and not in the centre itself.
I will be back at my home town of Manchester again this week. This time visiting Waterstones on Deansgate. And I may well be tempted to walk down the street and just glance in at No 1 and smile at the silly price tags in Harvey Nicholls.
There will be a great deal on the Vampire Gene books too! It's 3 for £20 - so there's never been a better time to catch up on the series and say hello to me at the same time.
So. See you on Saturday. 12-4pm. Waterstones, Deansgate, Manchester.