In Anna’s Town: Evanston

One of the highlights of February was my trip to Evanston, Illinois to speak at the Evanston Public Library and to tour the town where Time Between Us and Time After Time are set.

I’m often asked why I chose to set my books in Evanston. The full story is HERE, but this is the short answer: When I decided to write about a teen time traveler from present day San Francisco who meets a girl in 1995, I wanted the two of them to live in different cities, so they’d be separated by both time and miles. My mind quickly jumped to the place I lived in 1995: Evanston, Illinois. It was perfect. Bennett would feel both fascinated and out of his element when he went to visit Anna, just like I’d been when I first moved from San Francisco to the Midwest.

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I had an incredible time walking around (yes, even though it was 4 degrees without wind chill).

The weather was actually perfect. When Time Between Us begins, it’s early March and it’s been an especially long winter. This trip was magical for me, and it wouldn’t have felt quite the same without that blanket of fresh snow!

Here’s a photo and video tour to give you a sense of Anna’s beautiful hometown!

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First stop:
A tour of downtown and the Northwestern University campus.

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A residential area near downtown and campus. Anna would have walked this way from the bookstore to get home.

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Downtown Evanston’s GAP.
The location of a certain kissing scene in Time After Time.

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The clock tower.
Anna passes by this on her daily run through campus.

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The parks around town looked exactly the way I remembered them. Bennett was in pretty bad shape when Anna found him on this bench in Chapter Six of Time Between Us.

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Walking through campus. I love the NU Arch in the snow…

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I stopped at the University bookstore to get a few gifts. I couldn’t resist this for my son.

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I posted photos on Instagram, and loved the real-time feedback from readers!

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I walked through campus and down to Lake Michigan, basically doing Anna’s daily run in reverse.

This is Anna’s running path that hugs “the glassy expanse of Lake Michigan.” You can see the beautiful Chicago skyline in the background.

I swear, two people jogged by me right before I took this picture. I would never run in this weather, but Anna and other tough ones certainly do!

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A pretty view of the lake:

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These panoramic shots show where Anna’s running path bends toward the track and THE BLEACHERS…

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This might have been the highlight of my tour. This is the track, where Anna sees Bennett for the first time:

Here's the spot where Anna sees Bennett for the first time.

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Sadly, there was no one sitting on the 3rd row of the bleachers. 🙁

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From Chapter 1: Time Between Us:
I see someone in the bleachers, hip-deep in the
icy fluff of the third row and impossible to miss.
He’s just sitting there with his chin resting on his hands,
wearing a black parka and a small smile, watching me.

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From there, I walked along the lake toward the neighborhood where Anna and Maggie live.

It was even COLDER down there, and extremely windy.

Me. COLD!

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What do you think, guys?

Maggie’s house?

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From Time Between Us, Chapter 7:

I can’t believe I’m doing this. I peek out
from behind the tall hedge again and stare at the house.
Impressive. Two, maybe even three, stories. Tudor style.
A carriage house out back, if I’m assessing accurately
from this distance and the three times I’ve walked past the house, 
chickened out, and hidden behind shrubbery.

And there is a carriage house on the right!

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And three blocks away, Anna’s house, complete with wrap-around porch!

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Wait… Time warp!

Bennett’s red Jeep belongs in Time After Time,
in present-day San Francisco, not in 1995 Evanston!

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The neighborhoods are gorgeous.
Beautiful homes, quaint streets. I love this area.

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I had to stop by my old apartment. I lived on top floor, flat on the right, from 1995-1997.

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On Thursday night, it was time to visit the Evanston Public Library. This is an absolutely gorgeous building, inside and out!

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They gave me such a warm welcome!IMG_1738

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I loved this wall in “The Teen Loft” at the Evanston Library. All my favorite time travelers in one place!

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What an honor to see Time After Time as one of the Teen Advisory Board’s top reads!

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An early flight the next day gave me a chance to see the beautiful sunrise over Lake Michigan.

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And I felt a bit like Anna as I headed home:

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Goodbye, Illinois!
Thank you for the wonderful visit to Anna’s world.

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If you haven’t read Time Between Us or Time After Time,
you can start reading right here: CLICK TO READ NOW.

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