December 9, 2012

Writing Wisconsin by Jeannine D. Van Eperen

 I remember when I was a little girl of about six or seven my family was driving back to Chicago after spending vacation time at Little Lake St. Germain, near Eagle River, in northern Wisconsin, and we drove into this pretty town. I loved the buildings of Lawrence College and the trees that grew shading the streets. As we drove I said, “I like this place. Someday I’ll live here.” Well, I did eventually move to Appleton, Wisconsin but it wasn’t until many, many years later.
I was the only one in my family born in Wisconsin, in Beloit to be exact, and I was always proud of the fact that it set me a little apart and made me someone different. I’ve lived many places but Wisconsin has always been my “home” state and I’m very proud of it. It’s a beautiful place, verdant green in the summer with a bountiful array of color in autumn with red and golden leaves. It’s mostly white in the winter then spring brings a light shade of green as plants begin to grow again. With such lovely settings, I wonder why I’ve never set any of my stories here in my home state, but I haven’t. Some of my characters hail from Wisconsin. In one of my earlier books, Hearts in ¾ Time, the hero Jerome Tyrakowski, was born in Milwaukee and became a symphony conductor in Chicago. Another of my heroes, in a more recent book, decides to attend the University of Wisconsin at Madison. So I haven’t completely left out my home state.
I have partial beginnings for two books that I am setting in Wisconsin. The tentative titles of those are: A Pleasant Diversion and The Perfect Husband.  After writing twenty-five novels, it’s about time I say.  All I have to do is sit down and finish writing them, right? In my back yard are enough sceneries, cities and settings for a hundred books. I could even write a historical about one of my great-great grandfathers who sold part of his farm to add to a town which is now a thriving place named Pulaski that holds a Polka Fair each year. It’s a fun time and I’m sure you’d enjoy it even if you can’t polka.
With all the beautiful blue lakes and wide rivers, and rolling hills and ravines the state is an artist’s dream, not to mention the Great Lakes, Michigan and Superior, as they hit upon the Wisconsin shore. Door County, a peninsula extending north from Green Bay, is a vacationer’s heaven. And who in their right mind could leave out the “cheese heads” and Packers?
So I say to myself, Jeannine, go to it! Enough writing of New Mexico, California, Chicago, England and France for settings! Remember, On Wisconsin!

Jeannine D. Van Eperen, Award Winning Author brings a little about herself: 

Born in Beloit, Wisconsin and grew up in Chicago, Illinois. When a teenager I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a child my ambition was to be a ballet dancer and I studied with Comikoff in Chicago, but I think I've always been a writer. As a child, I made up stories to amuse myself.

I attended the University of New Mexico, the College of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande and Western States University College of Law. I have worked in the banking and insurance industries. I was Director of Publicity for the University of Albuquerque, and was a motel manager. I have used my knowledge of my work as well as the study of dance in the books I write. I've appeared in little theater productions in Albuquerque and Chicago.

I enjoy travel and have visited all fifty states, Puerto Rico, and about thirty-five foreign countries. It's hard to choose a favorite, but I did enjoy New Zealand very much. It's seems to have a little bit of everything.

In my writing I've used the various places I've lived and visited, and sometimes, I combine a town or two and make them into one.

As a pilot, I flew to some of the locations and enjoyed trips to Aspen for downhill skiing and I'm proud that my son was a member of the UNM Ski Team. These interests, too, sometimes end up in my novels.

So far, I have twenty-two books published in various genre, have contracts for more, and other stories floating around in my head.


  1. Hi Jeannine- Good blog about Wisconsin. I presented at an international conference at UW in Madison a long time ago and it was lovely there. Thanks for adding New Mexico to the mix, because I once considered living there, and it is beautiful. Lots of luck with your books.

  2. We have camped in almost every state park in Wisconsin, some so often that our 4 kids used to call Governor Dodge their second home. We know where all of the excellent A and W's are, and where to get the best aged cheddar, and we've toured the Leinenkugel plant. WE love Pattison with the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi, and Madeleine Island, the largest of the Apostle Islands, has Big Bay State Park, with a huge, shallow bay on Lake Superior that is great for swimming, sunning and hiking along the boardwalk.

    My husband read that Wisconsin is so varied that no matter where you are in the world and what you are looking at, you can say, "Hey, this looks like Wisconsin." My fondest dream is to live up there someday, so we don't have to cross the border to go home.

  3. Thanks for the visit to Wisconsin. Congrats on so many books!!
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  4. Thank you for your kind comments. Today, where I live, it's all white from our first snow storm of the season. Just right for Christmas.


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