Monday, January 19, 2009

Michigander Monday: Sarah Miller

I'm pleased to welcome Sarah Miller to Michigander Monday!

Debbie: Tell us a little about yourself.

Sarah: My friends would tell you I'm quirky, slightly obsessive, and rather irreverent. I majored in linguistics, minored in Russian, and was the undisputed fingerspelling champ in my ASL classes. I can also read Braille - very, VERY slowly.

A few of the things I like best: Anne Frank, opera, the Romanovs, cameras, daffodils, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, I Love Lucy, Jeopardy, the Titanic, Bette Davis movies, and goofy socks.

Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your book!

Sarah: Ultra short version:

Miss Spitfire tells the story of Helen Keller from Annie Sullivan's
point of view.
Here's the jacket blurb:
Annie Sullivan was little more than a half-blind orphan with a fiery tongue when she arrived at Ivy Green in 1887. Desperate for work, she'd taken on a seemingly impossible job -- teaching a child who was deaf, blind, and as ferocious as any wild animal. But Helen Keller needed more than a teacher. She needed someone daring enough to work a miracle. And if anyone was a match for Helen, it was the girl they used to call Miss Spitfire.

For Annie, reaching Helen's mind meant losing teeth as raging fists flew. It meant standing up when everyone else had given up. It meant shedding tears at the frustrations and at the triumphs. By telling this inspiring story from Annie Sullivan's point of view, Sarah Miller's debut novel brings an amazing figure to sharp new life. Annie's past, her brazen determination, and her connection to the girl who would call her Teacher have never been clearer.
It's also available in an audio edition, which you can hear a smidgen of

Debbie: I'd like to point out to folks to the great reviews and honors the book has received, some of which can be found here. So, other books and projects on the horizon?

Sarah: I have a novel about the last imperial family of Russia (Tsar Nicholas II, Anastasia, Rasputin, etc.) scheduled for release in 2011. It doesn't have an official title yet, but I'm calling it OTMA: Daughters of the Tsar for the time being. After that, all I have to say is "circus."

Debbie: Upcoming appearances?

Sarah: None. I'm shy.

Debbie: Your favorite place in Michigan?

Sarah: Pooh's Corner children's bookshop in Grand Rapids.

Debbie: Favorite Michigan event or happening?

Sarah: I haven't been to it in a bazillion years, but I'm crazy about the Boar's Head Festival at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Saginaw.

Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Sarah: Sarah Stewart and David Small. I'd like to live under their porch, rather like the critters from The Underneath. (Except Sarah and David are WAY nicer than Garface.)

Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about our state?

Sarah: This is dumb, but I tend to feel a little smug when I look at one of those US maps without state borders because I always know EXACTLY where my state is, no matter what. People in, say, Nebraska don't have it so easy in that regard.

Debbie: Very true! (How many of us could look at this map ((or this one)) and confidently point to Nebraska?) Some residents of Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: Are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Sarah: Michigander. Just because it sounds completely ridiculous and poultry-inspired.

Debbie: Sarah, it was great having you here today! Thanks for joining us.

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