Monday, November 23, 2009

Michigander Monday: Devin Scillian

I'm pleased this week to welcome Devin Scillian to Michigander Monday!

Debbie: Devin, please tell us a little about yourself.

Devin: I'm married with four children (all of whom have been invaluable in my writing career -- stories have to pass muster at home or they pretty much go back to the drawing board). My "real" or primary job is anchoring the news at WDIV-TV, the NBC affiliate in Detroit. But for as long as I can remember I've had a fascination of and fondness for children's literature. And while it took ten years of trying, my first book, Fibblestax, was published in 2000. That started a surprisingly busy but marvelously satisfying second career as a children's book author. My 12th book will be released in the spring. (And as proof that I may have trouble with focus, I'm also a musician and songwriter.)

Debbie: Wow, you are busy! What an amazing scope of work and creativity. Please tell us about your latest book.

Devin: My newest book is still being illustrated. Memoirs of a Goldfish will be out in the spring. It's the story of a goldfish whose quiet life is suddenly thrown into very crowded chaos by the new guests who keep showing up in his bowl. The idea came from my daughter, Christian, who suggested the title.

My most recent published book is One Kansas Farmer written with my wife Corey. It's a book about our home state of Kansas, and it was released at the beginning of this past summer.

Debbie: Other books and projects on the horizon?

Devin: I'm currently working on an alphabet book about Australia called K is for Koala. I'm working on a folktale called The Legend of Johnny Kaw. And I'm also working on a Christmas story that I like very much called The Smallest Stocking. I'm not sure if other writers have so many manuscripts going at once, but it's the only way that seems to work for me.

Debbie: Any upcoming author appearances?

Devin: I'm currently setting up the school visit schedule for the winter and spring. I've got several appearances with the band coming up. And in March of 2010, I'll be giving the keynote address for the Michigan Reading Association which is a wonderful event. I was delighted to be asked.

Debbie: Your favorite place in Michigan?

Devin: I have many -- I love the Leelanau Peninsula, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Harbor Springs and Petoskey, Saugatuck and Holland, and I'm extremely fond of a summer afternoon at Comerica Park. But Corey and I have really fallen for the Thumb and if pressed, I'd say my favorite place is at our little cottage along Lake Huron near Lexington and Port Sanilac.

Debbie: Favorite Michigan event or happening?

Devin: I do love America's Thanksgiving Parade (even though it means a very early wake-up call on a holiday that never gives me a day off!). Corey and I really enjoy the Ann Arbor Art Fairs every year. And any and every Red Wings Stanley Cup parade is a pretty darn good day, too.

Debbie: Great events, all! How about a few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Devin: There are so many Michiganders I've come to enjoy, but I have a special admiration for Jeff Daniels and what he's done in his hometown of Chelsea. As a successful actor, he can certainly live anywhere but it was important to him to begin a professional theatre in Chelsea, and the Purple Rose has become a vibrant catalyst for art and business ever since. He's also become a superb spokesman for Michigan. And I'll also point out that he's never given a bad performance as an actor; he's a pro.

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

Devin: I've been all over the country and all over the world and I don't believe any place has as much beauty per square mile as Michigan. We're very lucky.

Debbie: I agree with that! Finally, some residents of Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others, Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: Are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Devin: I vote for Michigander --- but as a non-native, does my vote count as much? (I just think it's a superior word. And if you've read Fibblestax you know you can trust me when it comes to words!)

Debbie: You get a full vote, and we'll count you amongst the Michiganders! Thank you so much for being here today.

To learn more about Devin's books, as well as his music, please head over to his web site.

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