Monday, July 18, 2011

Michigander Monday: Carrie Harris

I'm thrilled to welcome YA novelist Carrie Harris to Michigander Monday!

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

Carrie:  I grew up near Cleveland, Ohio, which means that I’ve heard just about every joke about burning lake water that you can come up with, and some you probably can’t. Back in Cleveland, I managed the national center for surveillance and research in the human form of Mad Cow disease, and I’ve heard all the jokes about THAT too.

I’d been freelance writing for about ten years when we moved to the Ann Arbor area. I loved writing but always figured it would be a hobby. But the move seemed like the ideal opportunity to take the writing plunge. I was so lucky that my first YA got me an agent, and my second sold to the miracle workers at Random House’s Delacorte Press!

Now I spend my days herding my children on the slip-n-slide, naming my flock of zombie penguins, and trying to convince my ninja-doctor husband that he should wear his ninja garb every day. Because it’s strangely attractive, although maybe that’s just me.

Debbie:  Ninja garb definitely has something going for it.  But setting that aside for a moment...  Tell us about your book!

CarrieBad Taste In Boys is a YA zombie comedy. My main character, super-smartie Kate Grable, gets to play doctor as the student trainer helping out her high school football team. She figures that the experience will look good on her college apps, and she gets to be close to her quarterback crush, Aaron. BONUS! Then something disturbing happens. Kate finds out that the coach has given the team steroids. Except the vials she finds don’t exactly contain steroids. Whatever’s in them is turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless, flesh-eating...zombies.

Unless she finds an antidote, no one is safe. Not Aaron, not Kate’s brother, not her best friend...not even Kate...

Dum dum DUUUUUUM.

Debbie:   Ooooh, way to leave us hanging!  The book is now definitely a must-read for all of us!  Other books or projects on the horizon?

CarrieAbsolutely! I’m just putting the finishing touches on my edits for Kate Grable’s second appearance, which is in a standalone book called Bad Hair Day.  It’s tentatively scheduled for summer of 2012, and it’s about werewolves and nanotechnology and blueberry flavored astronauts and killer coconuts. And I’m putting the finishing touches on a new, non-Kate book right now, so I hope to be able to talk more about that one soon!

Debbie Upcoming appearances?

CarrieYes! Bad Taste In Boys officially hit the shelves on July 12th, so I’m running a big online event called Night of the Giving Dead to help celebrate and collect books for Mott Children’s Hospital at U of M. And the official launch party will be on July 23rdat 2 PM at Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor. I plan to wear my zombie unicorn dress, and I’m really ridiculously excited about that.

I’m also in the process of finalizing some more events, which will be announced on my website—hopefully soon!

Debbie:  Favorite Michigan bookstore? Favorite Michigan library?

CarrieWell, of course I love them all (at length and great expense). But there’s a special place in my heart for Nicola’s, where they let me sit in the throne in the kids’ area and kick my feet while I read. I also can’t get enough of Manchester Public Library, whose tween reading group went on a dead flower hunt to get decorations for my recent appearance (ed note:  article here). You have no idea how cool that made me feel. I am the kind of girl who gets ridiculously excited over dead flowers.

DebbieNicola's Books is fabulous, and I love the Manchester District Library!  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

CarrieEvery year, my family vacations at Oak Cove resort, on Lake Cora near Kalamazoo. It’s one of my favorite places — I spend most of my days in the water. I honestly think that I’m part mermaid. Or a siren. My singing voice would quite easily drive sailors to their deaths. It’s THAT BAD.

Debbie:  I was about to say, "Surely, it can't be that bad," when I thought of my own singing voice, which actually is That Bad.  Perhaps we are kindreds!

How about a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

CarrieI’m a huge fan of the Detroit DerbyGirls. It’s funny, because I’m not really a sports-compatible person in general. But set me down and let me watch a bunch of girls with campy nicknames shove each other around on roller skates, and I’m captivated. In fact, I may or may not have used that obsession as an inspiration for that sekrit third book…

Debbie:  Intriguing!  How about a few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Carrie:  I’m still stuck on the roller derby thing, so the first person I thought of was Racer McChaseHer. Sorry, I get on these tangents and can’t stop.

I’m really proud to count Michigan YA writer Aimee Carter among my friends. Her book The Goddess Test is a terrific read—I was really into mythology as a kid, so I’ve been trying to invent a time machine so I can send a copy back to Junior High Me.

I’m also a huge fan of the zombie penguins from You Look Delicious, and they’re made by Michigan artist CMcKz. You can also get them at Vault of Midnight in Ann Arbor.

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

Carrie:  This is a good place to visit if you’re directionally impaired like me. You can point out the relative location of any city in Michigan using your hand. This does not help me find the grocery store, but it’s really nice when you meet people from out of town, and they tell you where they’re from, and you look at them like a total idiot. They just point to your town on the hand and then theirs. You still look like an idiot, but you’re an idiot who knows where they live.

All joking aside, though? I really love it here.

Debbie:  Me, too!  Finally...  Some residents of Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: Are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Carrie:  I’m a very confused former Ohioan who doesn’t know what the heck to call herself now. If you ever come up with a definite winner, please let me know! Because otherwise I end up calling myself a Michiganderainianette, which is very difficult to say.

Debbie:  New column for the tally -- Michiganderainianette!  Love it.  Carrie, thank you for being here today for Michigander Monday!

To learn more about Carrie, head on over to her web site.  And be sure to check out her auction benefit for Mott Children's Hospital!

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