10 Things I Love About Kansas City by Julie Miller
by Julie Miller, author of APB: Baby
I’ve written almost sixty books, and more than half of them have been set in the Kansas City area. The experts say to “write what you know” to give your stories a feeling of authenticity. Since I’ve lived in the Kansas City area, and still have family and friends there so I visit often, K.C. was the city I chose when I was writing my very first gritty, sexy romantic suspense book. I’ve gone to K.C. time and again, both literally and figuratively.
I wanted an urban setting for my books, with all the neighborhoods, cultural opportunities and diverse police force one finds in a city, in close proximity to rural landscapes so that I could have my pick of settings for each of my stories, and have plenty of inspiration to draw from as I populated my Taylor Clan and Precinct books for Harlequin Intrigue. There are many fine cities in the Midwestern U.S. I could have selected, but Kansas City has long been near and dear to my heart. Why? Let me share just some of the reasons why K.C. is home for my books, including my newest miniseries, The Precinct: Bachelors in Blue, which launches June 1st with APB: Baby.
- My family: Goes without saying. I love ’em!
- Kansas City Royals baseball: Even when they aren’t World Series champs, I root for them. They have a beautiful stadium, friendly fans—and the players have supportive, loyal ties to the community.
- The Plaza Lights: The J.C. Nichols Country Club Plaza with its historic Mediterranean architecture and variety of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, was touted as the world’s first shopping center. Every Thanksgiving night, the Plaza district lights up with more than one million lights for the holiday season.
- Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: My grandmother was an art teacher, and I learned a lot about art history and art skills from her. One summer, she enrolled me in classes at the then Nelson Art Gallery. With vast displays of Chinese, Egyptian, American, Renaissance, Modern art and more, it’s an amazing place to visit.
- Worlds of Fun: One of the finest amusement parks in the country, IMO. I worked there the summer after I graduated from high school. Not great pay, but free park time. Love the themes of the rides and décor. Awesome location for a chase scene. One day…
- Union Station/Science City: If you love history, trains, science or all three, you must visit here. It was a staging area for troops in World War II, and gangsters from the 20’s and 30’s were captured there. Plus, the station features awesome touring displays, hosts society events and is home to Kansas City’s biggest movie screen.
- Western history: Stockyards as famous as Chicago’s, the launch point of the Santa Fe, California and Oregon pioneer trails—my great-great grandfather was a wagon train master on the Santa Fe Trail—and the American Royal Horse Show and Agricultural Exposition that’s been around since 1899. You can’t go wrong with a Kansas City cowboy!
- Harry S. Truman: The Truman Home and Presidential Library are just a couple of blocks from where my grandmother lived. Gran even had tea with Bess Truman, on occasion.
- Food: The city is famous for barbecue and steak, but has much more to offer. Located in the heart of Midwestern agriculture, and featuring a river, highway, railroad system and airport that make it an international trade center, Kansas Citians have access to fresh foods and numerous cuisines. K.C. even hosts the World Series of Barbecue Sauce competition.
- Fountains: K.C. is a city of beautiful, diverse architecture, from limestone monoliths built during the Great Depression with art deco details to turn of the century brownstones, from pioneer homesteads to modern glass and steel. But one thing that is universal to Kansas City’s design is the number of fountains built all over the city—K.C. boasts more fountains than Paris, France!
Journey to Kansas City with me. I hope you’ll get to visit in person one day. In the meantime, enjoy getting to know the city in my books!
About APB: Baby:
After a near-fatal shootout at his sister’s wedding, third-generation lawman Niall Watson comes home to a baby in distress. The abandoned newborn in his neighbor’s apartment sends the Kansas City PD criminologist into rescue mode once again.
Social worker Lucy McKane will do whatever it takes to protect the infant boy entrusted to her care. The tall, sexy ME next door may be clueless about her feelings for him, but Niall’s the only one who can keep them safe. As a vengeful killer targets them, desire draws Lucy and Niall dangerously closer. Together, can they find justice and safeguard their newly created family?