My Muses: Into the Shadows - Setting

I've been a little unsure of what to write lately, I feel like I'm heading into a blog drought or something. But one of my Facebook friends had a great idea that I should write about what inspires my writing. As a writer, I definitely pull details from my life and experiences. I'm sure not every writer does that. Maybe it pollutes the writing, but I feel like it makes my tie to the story stronger and more personal. And for the reader, for those that know me, they get all the little inside jokes and secrets.

So today I'll let you in on how I came up with the setting for Into the Shadows, my first novel. Into the Shadows is set in St. Andrew, Illinois. St. Andrew is fictional, but is set along the very real Fox River and St. Andrew is a name created to represent two of my fave Fox Valley towns, Elgin, where I live, and St. Charles, which is just down the river and is a place I hang out often. Because of the negative things that happen in St. Andrew, I didn't want to soil either town's reputation, as it were.

The name St. Andrew came from the fact that I wanted to use St., like St. Charles, and since Elgin is named after a town in Scotland, I picked St. Andrew, who is the patron saint of Scotland. I'm also of Scottish heritage, so I liked the connection.

Downtown St. Charles (from Greg Larson Photography):

Downtown Elgin (although I'm sure there are better pics):

I included some of my favorite locales in the story as well.

At one point, Paivi goes out with a boy to Al's Cafe and Creamery, probably my favorite Elgin restaurant located at 43 DuPage Court in downtown Elgin. They have the best shakes!

(picture of Al's Cafe)

Paivi and her friends go and eat at Armando's before Homecoming which was the original name of Pi Pizza Perfection, one of my fave Italian and pizza places, located in downtown St. Charles, Illinois at 102 E. Main Street.

St. Andrew High School is based off my alma mater, Elgin High School (East Side, Maroon Pride!). I graduated from Elgin in 1996, as did my husband. My parents also went there.

I modeled the City Hall after Elgin's own City Hall. And Paivi walks by the Butterman Mansion on her way to Al's Cafe. This mansion was a restaurant at one time. The picture I found was taken during winter, but it's quite pretty when everything is in bloom. There are lots of great old houses in Elgin.

When Paivi hits the road, she and her group head north, to Duluth, Minnesota. My husband's family (half of them) are from the San Francisco of the north, as it's known. And I actually went there during summer vacation while I wrote Into the Shadows. It seemed like the perfect place for Paivi to go.

I hope you enjoyed this little trip into Paivi's world!


  1. It's really good, and I think that in one way or another part of the writer is inside their books, be it a character, the setting or the narrative. So, how did Paivi come about as a character?


  2. It's great to learn about how things are chosen.

  3. Fascinating. If for no other reason than I know the places you mention (I think the Pizza Pi building and business was for sale last year, wonder if it sold).

    I'd love to see, as on Amanda Hocking's blog, Travis Thrasher's blog, etc. your office. Where the magic happens. And don't pick up the desk before the photos, either.

    Have you ever heard of Travis Thrasher. Excellent author, fifteen published novels (print, e-books, etc.) and he writes out of Batavia! Wonderful guy, really, I met him a couple times at his signings at Barnes and Noble and at a Halloween talk he gave at Geneva Library. Another local writer, like you.

    See ya, K.

  4. P.S. If you want to read one of Thrasher's books, I highly recommend Ghostwriter, which is very character based and set in Geneva! Third Street, the Home Depot on Randall Road, the State Street bridge, it's all in there.

    Bye for now. Thanks for the photos of Fox Valley.


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