I'm pleased to welcome Joan Donaldson to Michigander Monday!
Debbie: Tell us a little about yourself.
Joan: I am an organic blueberry farmer who lives off the grid, keeps goats and chickens, makes maple syrup and raises a huge garden. When not busy with those chores, I play a Celtic folk harp, knit and quilt. Recently I earned an MFA in creative writing from Spalding University in Louisville, KY.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your latest book!
Joan: Currently, I am working on revisions for a YA novel that takes place at Rugby, TN, a utopian community settled by Thomas Hughs in 1880 in the Cumberland Mts of Tennessee. The community was suppose to be a place where the second sons of the English gentry could go if they wanted to work with their hands. My main character is a local girl, based on a famous weaver from the area, and Viney is not thrilled with the invasion of the foreigners. The working title is On Viney's Mountain.
Joan: This year two of my personal essays were published in Christmas is a Season! 2008 and Home for Christmas published by Guideposts/Ideals. I am also writing a MG novel about a young girl who is learning to drive oxen, plus a creative nonfiction work.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Joan: I am speaking at Fernwood for their English tea on April 25th and will be at the International Reading Association Regional Conference in Grand Rapids next October.
Debbie: Your favorite place in Michigan? (Or places, if you can't settle on just one)
Joan: The dunes of Lake Michigan, near Douglas/Saugatuck....close to where I live. And Beaver Island is a wonderful place.
Joan: Making maple syrup, an exciting time to work in the woods, to watch winter slip away even though everyone else is still complaining about snow and cold. Because Michigan has that fluctuation between warm days and cold nights, we can boil syrup!
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Joan: Tracy Gallup's work is enchanted, both her words and her illustrations. And Glenn Hendrix collects Michigan fiddle tunes, another bit of our heritage to respect and cherish.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about our state?
Joan: My husband always says that Michigan is the fountainhead of creative people. We have met more organic farmers, businessmen, who grew up in MI and then went else where to farm. While we may not be on the way to most other states, many creative and innovative people quietly live here, changing the world.
Debbie: Some residents of Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: Are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?
Joan: I am a Michigander, and one segment of my family arrived in 1781 when the British marched my Moravian ancestors north from Ohio to Detroit. They settled near Moravian Corners near Mount Clemens. Thanks for asking!
Debbie: And thank you, Joan, for being here today!