For the last 14 years I've been inspired by this little city called Cloquet Minnesota, which happens to be the hometown of the man I love. When I first drove into the town fourteen years ago I knew nothing about it. Let's be honest, like most of you, I'd never even heard of it! I stumbled around with the name trying to tell my parents. "I'm going to Croquet. No, Clokwet. No, Clickit. Umm, somewhere by Duluth." It might as well be a foreign language to me. Oh wait, it is. It's French, to be exact. Though no one knows for sure, it's believed the city is named after two brothers, French scientists who were studying the river. Okay, history lesson over, now for the fun stuff! Cloquet is a city of contrasts and exciting discoveries. "It's a place where the old encompasses the new and the commonplace meets with the unexpected." With a city slogan like that it just screams, "Write a book about this town!" Right?
Let's Start Our Tour!
When I sat down to write the second Northern Lights novel, Autumn Reflections, I decided to move Autumn away from Duluth into a new city. What city came to mind? Cloquet, of course! So, Autumn Hanson and her son Gray moved to:
Scanlon? I thought this book was inspired by Cloquet? It is, and if you do an about face from the sign in the picture, you come face to face with a sign that says "Welcome to Cloquet". I guess they're "Twin Cities" if you want to say, but Scanlon has some great handicapped housing, which is important to the story. Besides, it's a little outside the 'big city' and offers a beautiful view of the stars at night. :)
Dr. Autumn Hanson is an orthopedic surgeon, and does surgery at Cloquet Memorial Hospital, which I hate to even admit how many times I've seen the inside of over the last 14 years. She owns her own private clinic just a few "blocks" from the hospital.
Her son, Grayson, is a second grader and goes to school at Washington Elementary School. Incidentally my father-in-law taught there for 35 years.
So now you've meet Autumn and Grayson, a doctor and her son who move to Cloquet to start a new life, and to try to forget the past. One particular fall day, Autumn had no idea she was about to meet this man, Kade Franco.
Yum, right? Who is Kade Franco? He happens to be Cloquet's most eligible bachelor and its top newspaper reporter. He works at The Pine Journal, which is where the fun happens in Cloquet. It's located on Dunlap Island.
When Kade's not wearing his "Our Neighbor" hat, he's hanging out at The Northeastern Hotel, which is actually a bar now. Well "hanging out" might be a strong term. He has a beer after his basketball league games once a week, but the bar has great history behind it. It's on Dunlap Island and was built in 1906. Back then it was a bit of a place to go for spirits and 'ahem' the ladies. The Red Cross Hospital used it for the 1918 fire victims when almost the entire city burned to the ground in a logging fire. The history of Cloquet is so rich, I'm sure you can see exactly why this town inspires the creative writer in me!
So what happens next t in the story? Kade is a nice guy, and a native to the city, so he offers to show Autumn and Gray around. (It helps that Autumn is beautiful and Kade wants to spend some time getting to know her ;) )
They go to one of my favorite places, Gordy's Warming House for coffee and muffins:
Then to see the Cloquet Lumberjacks play:
Back to Gordy's for homemade shakes:
And then to Family Tradition House for lumberjack pancakes
(Yes that's my van in the picture. I, too, love their pancakes ;) )
Kade and Gray are good buddies, and they enjoy reading Harry Potter together, watching Batman and playing with Ace, Gray's new service dog.
But, Kade wants to spend some time with Autumn, alone, so he takes her to Dunlap Island Park.
Where they have a picnic on a bench by the river.
And then visit the Fort, a handy little hide-away ;)
What happens next? I could tell you, but I think I'll let you read the book instead :) Thanks for taking a short tour of one of my favorite cities, Cloquet Minnesota. There is a little bit of something for everyone in Autumn's story whether you're a dog lover, superhero fanatic or football fan, you'll find your favorite part of the story. My favorite part is the sweet romance as a doctor learns how to heal herself while being treated with words of love.
1 Corinthians 13:8: Love never fails.
Grayson Hanson likes to pretend he’s a superhero, sent to earth to fight off the bad guys. In reality, he’s a seven-year-old boy who wears those same superheroes on his leg braces, and fights off bullies at school. His mother, Dr. Autumn Hanson, will do anything to protect her son, including leaving her prestigious position as one of Duluth’s top orthopedic surgeons. Hoping for a fresh start, she moves Grayson to Cloquet, Minnesota and opens her own clinic. Steadfast in her desire for a new life, Autumn agrees to be interviewed for a feature article in the local paper.
Kade Franco is a well respected journalist, who at forty-two has had his own share of love’s regrets. As the city’s most eligible bachelor, Kade can have any woman he wants, but he’s waiting for his meant-to-be. Where he doesn’t expect to find her is in the beautiful hazel eyes of the newest doctor in town.
Autumn finds Kade Franco’s sexy chocolatey brown eyes and strong lumberjack physique to be her kryptonite. She’s spent the last seven years building a wall around her heart, but fears it isn’t strong enough to withstand a man of steel determined to show her love never fails.