It took me years, and four other books, to find the right story, but now I can finally answer: Yes!
My latest middle-grade novel, Alone in the Woods—which releases today!—is a thrilling survival story about Jocelyn and Alex, two former best friends who must work together to stay alive after getting lost in the Nicolet National Forest. But in some ways, it’s a love letter to my beautiful and ecologically rich home state. Set in both Madison—where I was born and raised, and still spend much of my time—and the Northwoods, I hope I captured the magic of a Wisconsin summer in its pages. From tubing on a river (my family used to go up to Twelve Foot Falls on the Pike River in Marinette County), to hiking in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (the Cathedral Pines is one of my favorite spots—the old-growth trees are mesmerizing), to enjoying a buttermilk doughnut at Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty—those cherished experiences all helped inspire the book’s setting.
However, the girls’ harrowing adventure—in which after a tubing mishap, they wander off a trail and find themselves hopelessly lost, wearing only swimsuits and water shoes and with just the contents of their backpacks to help them survive the elements for days and nights—is thankfully not inspired by my own experiences exploring Wisconsin’s wild places. Well, except for all the bug bites. Those mosquitoes and deer flies can be vicious!