Countdown to Better Off Friends: 2 Weeks! The Setting

Hello! Can you believe it? We are only TWO WEEKS away from Better Off Friends! Before I talk about the setting of the book, there are a few exciting things that have happened/will happen this week. First, yesterday RT Book Reviews exclusively revealed the FIRST TWO CHAPTERS of Better Off Friends. Happy reading!

Second, Scholastic, This is Teen and I are having a Twitter party this Thursday, at 7pm EST to celebrate Singles Awareness Day (otherwise known as Valentine's Day--HA!). I'll be answering YOUR questions, so send them using #BetterOffFriends. Can't wait to tweet you there!

Twitter VDay

Last, but not least, in two weeks I hit the road. Check out my EVENTS page to see if I'm coming near you. If not, you can pre-order a SIGNED copy from Boswell Books. Info on the page.

Now onto Better Off Friends! I've already talked about the inspiration and characters, so today  I'm going to talk about the setting. 

Better Off Friends is my first book to take place in Wisconsin, where I was born and raised. It's funny because I never purposely didn't set a book there. So when I started working on the book I thought I'd set it in Wisconsin (an unnamed Milwaukee suburb). Generally the settings of my books don't have a huge influence over the novel, but slowly and surely, Wisconsin made it's way into the fabric of the story.

When you're growing up, everything is normal to you. It wasn't until I went to Syracuse University that I realized how many things are very Wisconsin. One of my favorite examples is my first day in my dorm room. I asked someone if they knew where the bubbler was. "What's a bubbler?" was the response. I didn't realize that people outside of Wisconsin call the thing you drink water from a water fountain, not a bubbler. So Bubbler became my nickname freshman year. Awesome.

I also didn't realize that Friday night fish fries were a very Wisconsin thing. Seriously, pretty much every restaurant in Wisconsin has fish fries on Friday nights all year round. It's a meal of beer battered fried fish, baked beans, choice of potato, tartar sauce, cole slaw, and if you go to an old-school place, corn fritters with honey butter. 

And don't get me started on the cheese curds and frozen custard (basically a richer version of ice cream). Yum.

Hmm, I'm starting to figure out why I always gain weight when I'm home...

Anyways! Since Levi is new to Wisconsin in Better Off Friends, I was able to introduce him (and readers) to some of the awesome parts of growing up Wisconsin. Oh, and I was also able to fit in many references (some subtle, most not) to the Green Bay Packers. Yep, I'm a cheesehead.


Wisconsin isn't the only setting in Better Off Friends. One of the characters goes to Ireland. I spent a month in Ireland a couple years ago and was really taken by the tiny village of Dingle. So when I needed to figure out a good city, I decided to set it in Dingle. I don't want to say too much about this section since I'm totally against spoilers of any kind!

Downtown Dingle (which is basically two streets!) Dingle peninsula

I only wish that I realized at the time that I was going to set a book there, I would've stayed longer. You know, for "research!" I love research (as do my parents who I "forced" to go to Culver's for custard and out for Friday night fish fry when I was home. Oh, the humany!).

So that's a little about the where of the book. Now I must sit and tap my foot impatiently for the next two weeks until Better Off Friends is officially out!

XOXO, Elizabeth