Monday, May 24, 2010

Michigander Monday: Deb Pilutti

I'm very pleased this week to welcome Deb Pilutti to Michigander Monday!

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

Deb:  I grew up in Indiana, but for many summers, my parents would load the seven of us in our station wagon, tow a fishing boat packed with an enormous canvas tent and provisions for the week and head up north to Michigan. I have fond memories of summer vacations spent running up and down the sand dunes near Ludington with my brothers & sister, playing in the surf of Lake Michigan, fishing with my dad in some of the many inland lakes and exploring the campgrounds of the Upper Peninsula.

After stints in St. Louis and Chicago, my husband and I moved to Ann Arbor in 1987 so that he could attend grad school and we never left. We live there with our two children and two dogs. I've worked as a pool cleaner, house painter, janitor, graphic designer, web designer and now as a children's book writer and illustrator.

Debbie:  Please tell us about your books!

DebThe City Kid and the Suburb Kid , my first book as an author, was in published by Sterling in 2008 and illustrated by Linda Bleck. It's a twist on the Aesop's fable, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.

My first picture book as an illustrator is The Twelve Days of Christmas in Michigan, written by Susan Collins Thoms, and will be available in October 2010. Based on the traditional Christmas song, it's a fun romp through the state for cousins Will & Katie. Will gives Katie some unusual gifts that could only come from the Great Lakes State: 12 cherry sundaes, 11 dutch girls dancing - you get the picture. Sue did a tremendous job of packing oodles of Michigan fun facts and places into the story - I learned a lot while illustrating it!

Debbie:  Both books sound terrific!  Other books and projects on the horizon?

Deb:  I am trying to refine a couple of picture book ideas.

Debbie:  Your favorite place in Michigan?

Deb:  Any stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline, where I can walk for awhile and occasionally stick my toes in the water or pick up a Petoskey stone or a piece of lake glass.

Debbie:  Favorite Michigan event or happening?

Deb:  Spring - when the trillium and trout lilies and jack-in-the-pulpit are in bloom in the woods near my home. Among my favorite organized events are Top of the Park in Ann Arbor, an outdoor festival with three weeks of live music, free movies and good food and the Ann Arbor Art Fair.

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

Deb:  I have met many talented authors and illustrators through the Michigan chapter of SCBWI. It is an unbelievably supportive group of people, willing to share knowledge, resources and inspirations to aspiring writers and illustrators. I also have been inspired over the years by some wonderful artists in the area, like Chris Roberts-Antieau and Tracy Gallup.

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

Deb:  Shhh - don't tell the rest of the country about the 3,288 miles of coastline, old-growth pine forests and acres of natural beauty or they might flock to our favorite vacations spots! Seriously, I feel like Michigan is a hidden gem, and absolutely love living in this state.

Debbie:  I agree with you on 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"?

Deb:  Definitely a Michigander.

Debbie:  Deb, thank you for joining us today!


Jacqui said...

I can testify: Deb is great. As are the illustrations for her new book.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who belives that Michigan women should call ourselves Michichicks and she's had the shirts printed up to promote it!

I just read your newest book and it rocks! Totally awesome, you are an excellent children's author.

Debbie said...

Jacqui: agreed!

Anonymous: Love the Michichicks idea. As to the praise, I don't know if you were directing it at Deb or at me, but I'll gladly accept it on the part of all Debs/Debbies/Deborahs/Debras! :)