My Midwest series takes place in the small, fictional town of Calpernica, Illinois, not far from the Illinois river. The real inspiration for the town was Metamora, Illinois, my beloved home for ten years. It is still home in my heart. I spent many beautiful days in the town square park, typing away at my laptop as I wrote the book. Not much has changed there since I started the book in 2002, and the descriptions are pretty accurate with how the town square still looks today.
Cow Patty’s is completely fictional, but the America’s Coffee mural is on the side of one of the brick buildings.
And then there’s the courthouse. It’s now a museum and a man named Gene runs it, giving delightful tours full of historic trivia. The post office, where I used to work, is next door. We’ll be seeing more of it in books 2 and 3 in the series. And yes- there are the cobblestone streets. Can you tell I love my hometown?
I loved it enough to get married inside the courthouse in 2010 (we were supposed to get married in the gazebo, but bad weather drove us inside. It was still very beautiful!)
And now you know my not-so-secret happy place, which inspired a ten book series starting in 2003 and ending in 2053. When I began writing Crazy in the Heart, I still lived here, and didn’t own a farmhouse. Now the reverse is true. Hopefully I’ll make it back there before 2053! Let’s hope!