Thursday, April 19, 2012


As you may know, I was in Chicago last week for the RT Booklover’s Convention. I could go on and on about how much fun I had meeting new people, seeing friends I made last year, laughing and laughing with the other Naughties who were there, talking to others in the industry like editors and publishers…it was so great. But I'm not going to blog about all the dirty naughty things we did and said, or about all the wine we drank or the taxi driver whose day we made by talking about fellatio in the back seat. I mean, we were talking in the back seat about fellatio.

No, I'm just going to blog about CHICAGO! And my imaginary friends who accompanied me.

My husband came with me to Chicago (he's real, not imaginary) a few days early and we stayed downtown so we could do some sightseeing. I knew once I got to RT I wouldn’t set foot out of the hotel (okay I did once, but that was just to go buy more wine, hence the above noted taxi ride) and I wanted to see some of Chicago since I’d never been there.

I have to tell you one of the main reasons I wanted to see this city is because I’ve written a couple of books set there – Breakaway and Rule of Three. Yes, I wrote books set in place I’d never actually been. These days with the internet it’s surprisingly easy to do. Of course you can include a lot more detail and description of places you’re more familiar with.

In Breakaway, Jason Heller plays for the fictional NHL team the Chicago Wolves. He takes Remi on a date to Navy Pier. He takes her on the Ferris wheel and builds a stuffed bear for her and they eat at the Billy Goat Tavern. In fact, the book takes place in the spring, at the end of the hockey season when his team is struggling to make the playoffs, which is pretty close to this time of year!

When I walked down Navy Pier I kept feeling like I’d been there already, and I kept thinking about Jase and Remi being there, how she was so nervous being up so high on the Ferris wheel, how Jase kissed her when they were right at the top, and the “puck bunnies” who approached Jase in the restaurant for autographs in *ahem* naughty locations.

I started to tell this to my husband and he just gave me a weird look and said, “You know they’re not real people, right?”

And I laughed and said, “Of course I know they’re not real people!

Except they are real to me. I didn’t say anything more about it, but I was still thinking about it as we wandered through the little shops and as we had lunch. I guess it added a little to my experience. J

We also went to the John Hancock Observatory, on the 94th floor. What an amazing view from up there! Lake Michigan was beautiful, although the beaches were empty. And that reminded me of Kassidy and Dag and Chris in Rule of Three. Right down there was the beach where Dag and Chris rubbed sunscreen onto Kassidy’s body! Ahem. Yes, I know they’re not real people either.

We took a boat cruise to look at the Chicago skyline and learned a little about the history of Chicago. We had deep dish pizza at Pizzeria Uno. We went shopping on Michigan Avenue and I drooled over the Jimmy Choo shoes in Nieman Marcus. We went to Millenium Park. And we went to Buddy Guy’s Legends, a blues bar. I found Chicago to be a very clean city with friendly people and beautiful architecture. In fact one of the reasons I think I liked it so much is because it reminds me of home. It turns out that at the turn of the century, the city where I live (Winnipeg) was one of the fastest growing cities in North America, being a central hub for the railroads. Many architects from the Chicago School came to Winnipeg to build buildings (Jase tells Remi about this in Breakaway). Winnipeg has stood in for Chicago in a number of movies, especially movies set in older times, because we have a neighbourhood where all those turn of the century buildings have been preserved. Also, Winnipeg is known as the second windiest city in North America. :-)

I’m so glad I got to be a tourist for a few days in Chicago. Some day I will definitely go back and see more of it! And I’ll probably write at least one more book set there so I have more imaginary friends there.

Anyone else been there? Live there?What do you think of Chicago?


PG Forte said...

I've always loved Chicago. In fact, if it weren't for the winters, I'd have probably moved there. It's a gorgeous city!

Visiting places you've read about in books is always fun, but visiting places you've set books in? There's magic to that. :)

Lynda the Guppy said...

I have family in and around Chicago, and I lived in the NW suburbs for 3 years, and LOVED it. The suburbs are pretty and green and nice, and the city itself is exciting and friendly and GORGEOUS.

Um...slight correction, though. Chicago is not called "the Windy City" because of wind. Although, it does have that. It's a term coined during the creation of the Chicago World's Fair and is referring to the the amount of hot air the city's politicians blow. The political "windbags" if you will.

Love Chicago. Sounds like you got a good taste of it. Next time, try pizza from Gino's, and cheesecake from Eli's. Yum!

Erin Nicholas said...

I love Chicago! It's close enough to me that I know what to expect in WINTER- but it's a great city! And I knew that about why it's called "the Windy City" but it's also plenty windy weather wise too *G*

I just wrote a book set in Alaska. Never been but always wanted to go and now want to even more! Being a writer (with the internet!) is so fun!

Kelly Jamieson said...

Actually Wikipedia has a few possible explanations for why it's "the windy city", not that Wikipedia knows all. I like the theory of the big buildings because that's what happens here at Portage and Main - site of our skyscrapers (such as they are!) creating a wind tunnel. And there were definitely very windy spots in downtown Chicago!