Monday, July 27, 2009

Michigander Monday: Karen Bell-Brege and Darrin Brege

I'm pleased to welcome Karen Bell-Brege to Michigander Monday!

Debbie: Tell us a little about yourself.

Karen: I am originally from Michigan, but have lived in other countries with my family when I was young, and several states before coming back home to Michigan. I always loved to read - constantly. I am the author of the Mick Morris Myth Solver series and the Ghost Board Posse series. My husband Darrin began his art career at 13 and he is the cover artist and interior illustrator for all of our books. He is also the artist who branded the Michigan and American Chillers series. We met when he auditioned for my improvisational comedy troupe at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle. We performed comedy together weekly, for 15 years (and sometimes still do). We both do voice-overs and have done several computer games and worked in radio. We love being young at heart – which is what lead us to our two children's books series…that, and of course our adorable son who is our inspiration.

Debbie: And we'd like to know all about your latest books.

Karen: The next book coming out is: Mick Morris Myth Solver #5 Abominable Snowman…A Frozen Nightmare! Also, immediately following that is the second book in the Ghost Board Posse series, Ghost Board Posse #2 Aloha Haunts!

Debbie: Other books, and projects on the horizon?

Karen: We are working on a sketchbook entitled Sketch the Myths which will be a fun compilation of many of the illustrations from our Mick Morris books and how to draw the, plus myth facts.

Debbie: Upcoming appearances?

Karen: We will be at the Brighton District Library in Brighton, Michigan, August 6th at 6:30pm, at the Barnes & Noble in Muskegon, October 19th at 11:30am, and at the Clinton Macomb Public Library in Clinton Township on November 7th at 2:00pm. Plus, we have lots of school visits lined up this year, which is something we just love to do!

Debbie: Your favorite place or placess in Michigan?

Karen: Oh, we would be so happy to give you a list; there are so many wonderful places here. We love Ann Arbor, just the entire flavor of that exciting little city. We also love all the beautiful coastal towns that dot this entire state: Grand Haven, Petoskey, Traverse City, and of course Mackinac Island. All of the Lake Michigan beaches –are just our favorites! And let's not forget the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, and Cranbrook. I know that you know the list goes on and on…

Debbie: It sure does! So many wonderful places to see in Michigan. And your favorite Michigan event or happening?

Karen: Summer with the most lush greenery and beautiful blue lakes, which is a toss-up for us between the breathtaking Fall – Cider Mills, Pumpkins, Plymouth's Fall Festival and there is no place like Halloween in Michigan! We also love the Traverse City Film Festival as we are huge movie buffs.

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

Karen: For starters you – Debbie Diesen! You take your time to help promote and share this information on your own wonder blog spot - Jumping the Candlestick, and you are a terrific writer yourself! So you - who takes care of us fellow authors and illustrators. Also, the teachers of our fine state, who keep navigating these kids to great heights in this tough economic climate. Next, I would have to say some of our comedy friends, Mark Ridley, Jeff Wilson, Heather Kovacik and all the other great local comics. Not to forget to mention the authors and illustrators from our fine state, Mike & Colleen Monroe, Johnathan Rand, and the van Frankenhuyzens…and so many other oh so talented people!

Debbie: Michigan sure does have an abundance of talent! What an amazing resource. (And thank you for your kind words about this blog and the Michigander Monday feature! -- but truly I'm just so thoroughly honored and pleased that folks are willing to share their time and be interviewed. It's very fun and gratifying to do.)

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

Karen: Well, it's no secret with the automotive industry slump and the recession, in Michigan we have been hit the hardest, but if there is one thing that Michigan has – it's the people. As Michiganders we are hard-working, resilient, fun and funny…and we will always persevere…hopefully more creatively than ever before.

Debbie: Well said! One last question: Some residents of Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: Are you "Michiganders" or a "Michiganians"?

Karen: Oops, I already said it – Michiganders, no question!

Debbie: Karen, thank you so much for being here for Michigander Monday!

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