Friday, March 22, 2013


Kettle Falls Hotel, Voyageur National Park

Place and settings are very important to me in my novels. Before I even begin to write, I simply must find a unique place that fits my story, characters and plot. Before I began WATERS OF THE DANCING SKY, I did an extensive Internet search to find a wilderness setting with a huge lake, lots of islands, and a colorful local history that included an American Indian component.

I stumbled upon the Kettle Falls Hotel nestled in the woods on Rainy Lake in Voyageur's National Park along the Minnesota/Ontario international border. I fell in love with the place before I even made my first visit! This historic hotel was constructed in 1913 by timber cruiser Ed Rose and allegedly financed by Madame Nellie Bly.

In 1918, Robert Williams bought the hotel for $1,000 and four barrels of whiskey! It was operated by the Williams family for a number of generations until it was purchased and renovated by the National Park Service in 1987. I was fortunate enough to locate an historical boat tour guide by the name of Mike Williams who happened to be Robert's grandson! Mike told me many fascinating stories about Kettle Falls and Rainy Lake as we boated around the area. He made local history come alive for me and became a valuable resource as well as a good friend. Thank you, Mike!!

Arriving at Kettle Falls is like stepping into another world, back into the days when voyageurs paddled and portaged through the region with their canoes loaded with furs; when local natives speared huge sturgeon at the foot of the roaring falls that separates the United States from Canada; when lumberjacks,gold prospectors, commercial fishermen and ladies of the night frequented the old hotel.

Today, Kettle Falls is a tourist destination for families and fishermen. It's a hidden jewel in the midst of the forest surrounded by the lake. A place to enjoy the serenity, peace and beauty. To restore one's soul. It is a place that I simply must return to at least once every summer. The hospitality and food is also excellent!

Stay tuned for more information on places and faces embedded in the novels I write...and as always, please stay in touch and let me know what you think.

Janet Kay

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