Writing Wisconsin

I remember when I was a little girl of about six or seven my family was driving back to Chicago after spending vacation time at Little Lake St. Germain, near Eagle River, in northern Wisconsin, and we drove into this pretty town. I loved the buildings of Lawrence College and the trees that grew shading the streets. As we drove I said, “I like this place. Someday I’ll live here.” Well, I did eventually move to Appleton, Wisconsin but it wasn’t until many, many years later.

I was the only one in my family born in Wisconsin, in Beloit to be exact, and I was always proud of the fact that it set me a little apart and made me someone different. I’ve lived many places but Wisconsin has always been my “home” state and I’m very proud of it. It’s a beautiful place, verdant green in the summer with a bountiful array of color in autumn with red and golden leaves. It’s mostly white in the winter then spring brings a light shade of green as plants begin to grow again. With such lovely settings, I wonder why I’ve never set any of my stories here in my home state, but I haven’t. Some of my characters hail from Wisconsin. In one of my earlier books, Hearts in ¾ Time , the hero Jerome Tyrakowski, was born in Milwaukee and became a symphony conductor in Chicago. Another of my heroes, in a more recent book, decides to attend the University of Wisconsin at Madison. So I haven’t completely left out my home state.

I have partial beginnings for two books that I am setting in Wisconsin. The tentative titles of those are: A Pleasant Diversion and The Perfect Husband.  After writing twenty-five novels, it’s about time I say.  All I have to do is sit down and finish writing them, right? In my back yard are enough sceneries, cities and settings for a hundred books. I could even write a historical about one of my great-great grandfathers who sold part of his farm to add to a town which is now a thriving place named Pulaski that holds a Polka Fair each year. It’s a fun time and I’m sure you’d enjoy it even if you can’t polka.

With all the beautiful blue lakes and wide rivers, and rolling hills and ravines the state is an artist’s dream, not to mention the Great Lakes, Michigan and Superior, as they hit upon the Wisconsin shore. Door County, a peninsula extending north from Green Bay, is a vacationer’s heaven. And who in their right mind could leave out the “cheese heads” and Packers?

So I say to myself, Jeannine, go to it! Enough writing of New Mexico, California, Chicago, England and France for settings! Remember, On Wisconsin!

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