Why I Chose Green Bay for The Haunting Love's Setting
Hello my loyal blog readers. I hope everyone had a nice first week of March and that the weather is treating you decent. (which seems unlikely if you're in certain parts of the country that seem to keep getting either ice or snow storms.) My week has been pretty productive and I've gotten a lot done on the project I'm currently working on.
Since The Haunting Love has been out for a little over three weeks now I'm sure most of you know that the story is set in the Green Bay area here in Wisconsin. I'm sure some of you are wondering what made me decide to set my novel in Green Bay, as opposed to some of the usual novel locations like New York or L.A.; or even why I didn't make up a fictitious city to set The Haunting Love in.
The answer is simple. The first scene of The Haunting Love that came to me was the car accident scene. Truth be told, that scene occurs in my mind in neither Green Bay or De Pere; but in Allouez, Wisconsin which is in between the two. To paint a better picture I will tell you my envisioned location for the car accident scene. Driving along Riverside Drive from Green Bay to De Pere with the Fox River Trail and the Fox River on one side and the guard wall (or whatever it's called) below Minahan's Tomb on the other is where Iza truly gets into her car wreck.
See Photo Below:
To those who are not familiar with Minahan's Tomb, or those that are not from Wisconsin and have no idea who Dr. William Minahan was I will briefly explain. Dr. William Minahan was a Wisconsin native who parished on the ill-fated Titanic in 1912. His body was recovered and is now interred on a hill in Woodlawn Cemetary in Allouez, Wisconsin overlooking the Fox River Trail and the Fox River. Why is this interesting and why did it strike a nerve with me? Well his back story didn't really, but I remember a story my great-uncle told me once when I was young. In 1987 some vandals broke into Dr. Minahan's Tomb (or Crypt ) and stole his skull. That single sentence is what has stuck with me. As you can imagine, I was horrified as a kid. Who would steal some guy's skull from his tomb? That's sick! What would they even want with his head? Luckily the vandals were quickly apprehended and the tomb is now under heavy lock and key. I can only assume the head was recovered and returned to his final resting place. Talk about giving a spirit a reason to haunt somewhere and not be able to rest in peace! Regardless, to this day everytime I travel along that road I glance up at the crypt and remember the story my great-uncle told me.
Thus you see, my setting was chosen. I wrote my entire novel around one location. Some places in The Haunting Love are real, while others are things made up from my imagination. Here are a few examples:
The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary: Yes, this is a real location. Here's a little information from their website www.baybeachwildlife.com:
The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary is a beautiful 700 acre urban wildlife refuge featuring live animal exhibits, educational displays, miles of hiking/skiing trails and various wildlife viewing opportunities. It is the largest park in the Green Bay Park system and home to the second largest wildlife rehabilitation program in Wisconsin, caring for more than 4,500 orphaned and injured animals annually.
The Sanctuary attracts hundreds of thousands of bird watchers, families and other visitors from across the USA and many foreign countries each year. They come to explore and discover nature while learning the importance of preserving natural landscapes.
First established in 1936 as a site for waterfowl rehabilitation, the Sanctuary has grown to offer environmental education programs to over 10,000 students, nature walks, urban fishing, summer camps, cross country skiing and much more.
I've been to the wildlife sanctuary many times throughout my life, both on school trips and random day outings with my family. It's one of my favorite places in Green Bay. It's relaxing to sit and watch the geese and other birds argue over cracked corn thrown out by people. They're such greedy little critters, but I happen to think they're adorable.
Custard's Last Stand: I'm sorry to say this place is completely fictional. I was looking for a place for the Johnny character to work at and after playing around with a couple different ideas this is what I decided to name his workplace. It's a play on words of "Custer's Last Stand" and custard (which is like ice cream). And since Johnn'y workplace is meant to be seen as a burger / ice cream joint comparable to Dairy Queen or Culver's, Custard's Last Stand was born. I can just envision Johnny's work uniform to look like General Custer's uniform covered with an apron of some sort. Can you picture it?
De Pere, Wisconsin and De Pere High School: Yes, De Pere is an actual city. I wouldn't call it a suburb of Green Bay, but they're both in the same general area. Most notably De Pere is known to be the main location of Seroogy's Chocolates. There is also obviously a De Pere High School but what I didn't know until later is that there is also a West De Pere High School. Either way, De Pere is the main setting of The Haunting Love.
I hope this helps give you a bigger picture of some of the setting of The Haunting Love. I'm a Wisconsin native, and I've lived about 30 miles from Green Bay my entire life so it made sense for me to set my first novel in a city that I'm well familiar with. I hope that if you've already read / are reading The Haunting Love that you enjoyed / are enjoying it or if you haven't had a chance to delve into it yet I hope you give it a chance!
I hope everyone has a great weekend. Until next Friday!