It was supposed to be just for kicks...
Andi Larsen learned early on there is no such thing as fairy godmothers. A childhood spent in foster care will do that to a girl. She’s working her way through night school and is on the cusp of establishing her own business without help from anyone, thank you very much. But when her deadbeat ex steals her identity, amassing a staggering debt in her name, her fairy godmother appears in the guise of a spunky, Fireball whisky-wielding septuagenarian. The older woman’s solution for Andi? Tie the knot with a kilt-wearing, moody jock whose legs look sexier in a skirt than hers do.
Declan Fletcher never intended to be a place-kicker for a professional football team. But fate had other plans. Exiled from his beloved Scotland a decade ago, Dex is now a superstar athlete known throughout the league as the “Man with the Million Dollar Leg.” But when a mix-up in his immigration paperwork threatens to send him home before the season begins, he’ll do anything to avoid deportation and facing his greatest mistake. Even if it means marrying a pink-haired waif of a lass with eyes that seem to see everything he’s determined to keep hidden.
A grumpy cat, nosy teammates, and a sizzling sexual attraction make their marriage of convenience anything but convenient.
Have you ever wondered how an author chooses the setting for a book? For most authors, the choice isn’t random. After all, the setting of a book is practically an additional character within the story being told. Some authors create their own settings. Like a painter with a blank canvas, they get to build their own “world,” as it were. This can be a heck of a lot of fun for us creatives, but it can also be a huge time suck. Trust me, I speak from experience.
Others use actual places readers can visit in real life. That’s what I generally do. It may sound easier because everything is already created. But there are drawbacks to this method, too. Mainly that part I mentioned about readers being able to visit and explore. They also tend to point out any mistakes the author has made. 😊
All but one of my books is based in a real city or town. Places I’ve either lived in or spent a great deal of time visiting. I’m one of those people who likes to get her hands dirty or kick the tires, so to speak. I need to get a sense of not only the scenery but the sounds, scents, and, yes, taste of the places I’m writing about.
When I decided to write a new series based around a professional football team, I knew I needed to base it somewhere not too large or not too small. And I wanted someplace where sports are important. For several years, I was fortunate to attend a fabulous reader event held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Each time I visited I fell a little more in love with this uniquely mid-western city. By my third trip, I had decided that Milwaukee would be the home of my new team, the Growlers. They’re named after beer growlers, because, you know, Milwaukee is synonymous with beer. And cheese curds. And some really delicious custard. Told you I tasted the places I write about!
To get the feel of the city, I wandered around downtown with none other than the hostess of the Romance Dish, PJ. We explored the area, taking photos and getting a feel for where my characters would live and work. We even each struck a pose with the Bronze Fonze.
On another trip, I visited Marquette University to see where my heroine, Andi, would be taking her night classes. And, after exploring the wonderful Georgia O’Keefe exhibit in the Milwaukee Art Museum, I knew I had to set a scene beneath the building’s unique winged roof.
|Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk|
Because Milwaukee doesn’t have its own football team, I lured my husband up to Green Bay with a promise of a tour of Lambeau field, the home of the Green Bay Packers. The tour took us inside the visitors’ locker room. While not as swanky as the Packer locker room, I was able to get a feel for how they are set up. Besides, there’s always Google, an author’s best friend, where I found images of the Packers much swankier space.
|Photo Credit: Tracy Solheim|
Now, just because I based the book in a real city doesn’t mean there aren’t some fictional places. The Shear Envy salon, where Andi works, is a figment of my imagination. In fact, a reader suggested the name when I gave a shoutout on Facebook asking for one. I hope I got things right in my descriptions of Milwaukee—I did ask friends who live there just to be sure. But if there is anything I got wrong, I’m okay with you letting me know. I love to chat with readers.
Readers, have you ever visited a place after reading a book set there?