‘Weetzie Bat’ author Francesca Lia Block explores the Salton Sea in new novel – San Bernardino Sun

Francesca Lia Block had what she called a “strange and mysterious moment” after getting lost while exploring the area surrounding the tiny Salton Sea community of Bombay Beach.

“Mapquest led us to a random, tiny little street in the middle of nowhere,” says Block on a recent video call. “It was Isis and First Street, literally in my direct line of vision,”

Finding that intersection in the midst of the desert may have been a moment of kismet for the author, whose latest novel, “House of Hearts” arrives in stores July 12 via Rare Bird Books, is both inspired by Egyptian mythology and set largely around the Salton Sea.

In it, Block’s heroine, Izzy Ames, sets out to solve the mystery behind the disappearance of her boyfriend, Cyrus Rivera.

“It’s a quest story. It’s a search for the beloved, as well as, ultimately, the self, and it’s a fertility myth,” says Block. “All of those elements I was drawn to and hadn’t been able to find a story to utilize them within until this idea came to me.”

Los Angeles-based Block had spent a bit of time living in Joshua Tree, and when the idea for the story that would become “House of Hearts” came to her, the desert proved to be a fitting home. Joshua Tree plays a role in the book, but as she explored the broad expanse of this region, Block was attracted to destinations near the Salton Sea, like a drive-in movie theater in Bombay Beach and Salvation Mountain.

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