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Talking Location with author Catherine Finger – WISCONSIN

28th June 2017

#TalkingLocationWith… author Catherine Finger about WISCONSIN, the setting for Anchored by Death.

Wisconsin

Green Bay Packers

Proud of my Wisconsin roots, I’m a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, complete with a dazzling array of cheesehead accessories that give my game day jerseys that extra little je ne sais pas. My soul still craves the winding roads of my home state that I find impossibly beautiful, no matter the season. My dad worked for a milk company (I am not making this up) and come springtime we’d drive through the hinterlands of my home state, mesmerized by the thousand shades of green dancing through the fields before us. The men and women we’d encounter on his route were kind, uncomplicated, and full of excellent stories.

This is where my story Anchored by Death begins. In Anchored by Death, Wisconsin is as much a character to me as Jo Oliver. We see her beauty as the story opens on a golf course in the spring, takes us on a harrowing chase through Wildcat Mountain, and drops us into the chilly, choppy Wisconsin River. Up for an adventure? I offer you a road map to some of the hot spots featured in Anchored by Death.

At Devil’s Lake

First and foremost, Police Chief Jo Oliver reflects my own pure love for Devil’s Lake State Park by buying and renovating a cabin there as the series progresses. Should you choose to enjoy a day at this paradise, you’ll find walking and hiking trails to suit any fitness level in any season. A walking path skirts three cabins that I’ve often passed by and lusted after on walks and hikes and very slow jogs. It was only fitting for me to locate my fictional heroine in something very similar. In book 3, Anchored by Death, Josie hosts a dinner party in a cabin reminiscent of these simple, elegant beauties with unobstructed views of the lake from every room. Josie and her dear friend Georgi hike the trails of Devil’s Lake in Cleansed by Death, the first book in my Jo Oliver Thriller series. Devil’s Lake is also home to a number of effigy mounds, and that feature comes to light in my book as well. Check out more information here.

Catherine at the Fermentation Fest

I reference a very real and charming fall festival called the Fermentation Fest, and the Farm Art D’Tour—something that actually happens annually and semi-annually in Sauk County. The Farm Art D’Tour boasts a series of stops along a thirty-mile route featuring artisans, refreshment stops, and creative and often interactive art installations in farmers’ fields (I am also not making this up.) The food purveyors typically offer items that have been fermented in some part of their processing and preparation. A number of interesting classes are held over a ten-day period during Fermentation Fest. Josie and her soon-to-be adopted daughter Samantha enjoy the Farm Art D’Tour in Anchored by Death. Check out this link for more information click here.

Wildcat Mountain is a beautiful state park featured in Anchored by Death. I actually combined a weekend enjoying 
Fermentation Fest with friends with a hiking trip to Wildcat Mountain on a glorious fall Sunday afternoon as I choreographed my ‘take down scene.’ On that particular Sunday, there was a group of Amish buggies parked in the woods. I chatted with a few of the locals while enjoying beautiful valley views from a lookout point in the park. I’d been struggling with how to get my bad guy off the mountain and that chance encounter changed everything for me—in a very exciting way. You’ll pass through the lovely little town of Hillsboro on your way to Wildcat Mountain. There are a few little restaurants and bars where you’ll want to stop and grab some sustenance on your way to the park. For more info on Wildcat Mountain, click here.

All roads in my third novel start and end in my own hometown of Baraboo, Wisconsin. Adorned by natural beauty, Baraboo is close enough to Wisconsin Dells and Madison for those in need of restaurant choices and varied nightlife, yet small enough to wow you with brilliant sunsets, star lit nights, and very little traffic. I love my little hometown, and I think you will too. Home of the original winter headquarters of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, Baraboo offers an interesting array of festivals, shops, and restaurants.

S. Lewis made a great case for ‘real estate’ being as important as any character in The Art of Writing and the Gifts of Writers. This notion is as true for me in writing as it is for me in life. You really can fall in love with a place, and it is through this lens of love—deeply grounded in Wisconsin—that I’ve written Anchored by Death.

Escaping to Wisconsin? Drop me a line and share your experiences via my website

Thanks so much to Catherine for sharing her love of her home state. You can follow her via her website, Twitter and Facebook and of course you can buy her book here.

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For more books set in WISCONSIN, just click here!

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021