Diana Miller, our heroine, is a social worker who looks after the sex workers who ply their trade from the brothels on Harry Hines Boulevard in Dallas, Texas. Before Diana moved to Dallas, she worked in Chinatown, Chicago’s designated red light district, and also Hell’s Half Acre, the red-light district of Fort Worth, Texas.
Dear readers may be interested to know that I conducted extensive research on red-light districts around the world, as well as the ranch-based brothels of Nevada, to create Harry Hines Boulevard.
The real Harry Hines Boulevard is a major commercial street in Dallas where a variety of merchants have establishments. There are flea markets, discount furniture stores, imported jewelry shops and the like up and down miles of city streets. I generally visit a couple of times a year, to purchase fabric for sewing projects. Some of the best discount fabric stores around are on or just off Harry Hines Boulevard.
For TMK, I blended elements of Hell’s Half Acre in Fort Worth, with its older buildings and notoriety, with the hipster-shop feel of the Amsterdam De Wallen red-light district, where prostitutes display themselves in the picture windows of the district brothels.
Want to know more about Hell’s Half Acre? Here’s the Wikipedia article, which provides a pretty good overview.
The Texas Historical Association also has a great article on the history of Hell’s Half Acre.