I love reading and writing stories that feature it.
Even though I grew up in the western suburbs and live there now, even though technically I only lived in city for a total of 3-4 years, even though I only worked half of my entire career in the Loop.
Chicago. Is. Home.
This became even more apparent to me as my hubby and I wandered a small section of it yesterday with our nephew. From the Mart to the Lake, from Daley Plaza to the Bean--the nephew's goal to take 250 pictures for photography class and our goal to show him the city he's barely seen. The sliver of land we covered was just a taste of everything Chicago offers but I saw things I never noticed before, and they all reminded me why I love the city.
When I was younger, the city was a mystery to me. I remember some of the first trips I took with my dad to concerts or sporting events, entranced by the skyline, mesmerized by the activity, and intrigued by the people. Then, when I was in college, my friends and I hit some of the bars. China Club, Medusa's, The Exit, The Beaumont, to name a few. My college radio friends took me to Wax Trax and the Alley, where I bought music and black t-shirts.
From meeting (Ogilvie Train Station), to dating (so many places), to living with (Lincoln Square) and then marrying my hubby (in the Hancock Center), there's no doubt to how much we love it.
The next novel I'll be working on is based in Chicago. It's the story of new beginnings for the heroine, and a career comeback for the hero's brother. It's based in the music industry (working 15 years in radio helped shape the story for sure), and the city plays an important role.
I had spent 2011-2016 working in the northern suburbs thanks to a job change. I missed Chicago. Maybe not the commute, but the energy, the opportunities, and that skyline. I literally created the role I'm in now (the day job) so I could be back in the city.
Every day, whether it's the view from the train or my car, that skyline still makes me swoon.