The Real Places Behind Charlie's Mirror

The Real Places Behind Charlie's Mirror

In a previous blog post I shared why I chose to set my debut novel, Charlie's Mirror, in Wisconsin rather than my native Minnesota. But, as any fiction author will tell you, oftentimes the author's experiences are reflected in their stories. Here are just a few of the real places and real events from my life that inspired Sara Sullivan's journey through time.

Sara's house

The story opens on protagonist Sara Sullivan's first morning as a brand-new homeowner. Her red-brick Cape Cod, just southeast of campus in the Greenbush neighborhood, is exactly the house I lived in during my junior year at University of Wisconsin-Madison. In real life it's a rental duplex; I shared the lower unit with two roommates, and a young couple lived in the unit above us. Oh my gosh, I loved this house. It was old, built in 1925, and utterly charming. The front door was painted green when I lived there.

Charlie's house

Charlie Anderson grew up with his grandmother, who lived in a home with a front porch. This house, in the same Madison neighborhood as the one I lived in, served as the inspiration for Ruth's abaondoned home with the rickety front porch:

Library Mall

Very much a real place, and a central gathering spot on campus. The preaching tower, the stage, and the fountain are real. 

Well...they were real. I took these photos in the mid-2000s, long before Library Mall underwent a substantial renovation and the stage/preaching tower were removed. The Hagenah fountain still sits in its rightful place between Memorial Library and the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Chadbourne Hall

The dorm where Sara awoke to find herself in 1989 is also a real place. It still stands tall on the UW campus. I never lived here, though...the closest I got was Barnard Hall, right next door.

Porta Bella

The Italian restaurant where Sara had her first failed date with Ben Packard is located just a few blocks from campus. Let me tell you, she was one lucky gal to be treated to dinner there; it was far too quaint and posh and fancy for my own college student budget. 

Ready to experience Sara's and Charlie's adventures for yourself? Order your copy today!

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