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Laken lives the dream with her first major novel

She's not a Milwaukeean by birth, but author Valerie Laken is a confirmed Midwesterner who has quickly come to be smitten by the city's charms. And, even though her debut novel, "Dream House," published in hardcover last month by HarperCollins, is set in her native Ann Arbor, across the lake, Laken says Milwaukee definitely affected how the book turned out.