Midwestern Beauty – Research for The Field

The subtle beauty of the Midwest features prominently in The Field. I love the big sky and clouds arching over the plains. One of the places Eric and Renee visit is an actual place from my childhood – The Skokie Lagoons. Of course it’s fictionalized in the book, but the inspiration is located in Glencoe and Winnetka, IL where I grew up.

The Skokie Lagoons

It’s a marshy area that was turned into lagoons by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930’s and is now a wooded recreation destination area. It’s such a beautiful area I wanted to include it in my book.

What do you love about the Midwest scenery? What is one of your favorite places?

Skokie Lagoons



I grew up not far from the Skokie Lagoons in Northfield, IL. In fact I drove past them several times a week in high school and college on the way to various waitressing jobs in Northfield. I fictionalized them for THE FIELD and they actually play a key part in the story, Earlier this summer I was in Chicago for the ALA (American Library Association) conference. We decided to stay in the suburbs to avoid the traffic and hassle of the city and the hotel my husband found randomly through one of those price-cut websites was right across the street from the lagoons! Mere coincidence? I think not!

A lot of Chicago was swamp and marsh generations ago – the lore of my childhood was that Chicago was an Indian word for ‘smelly onions’ and Winnetka, the town I grew up in, meant ‘beautiful land.’ I research the Skokie Lagoons for my book and discovered another Indian connection. They called them the ¬†‘Chewab Skokie’ which means ‘big, wet prairie.”

It was lovely to see them again!