Monday, August 22, 2011

Michigander Monday: Camille Noe Pagán

I'm very pleased to welcome Camille Noe Pagán to Michigander Monday!!  I had the pleasure of briefly meeting her at one of her recent book signings, and not only is she a talented writer, she's a friendly and delightful person.  Great to have her here with us today!

Debbie:  Camille, tell us a little about yourself.

Camille:  I was raised in Dearborn, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan (on accident, really; they offered me a full scholarship and that ended my thoughts on getting out of town). When I graduated, I attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course, which is a six-week boot-camp for publishing hopefuls (now offered at Columbia in NYC), then moved to New York and found work at a magazine. I worked for an editor for several years, then made the leap to freelance writer in 2004, and haven't looked back since. I write for consumer magazines like Parade, SELF and O, primarily about nutrition and health, and in 2009 I sold my first novel, The Art of Forgetting, to Dutton; it was published this June. I moved from Brooklyn to Ann Arbor last summer so I could raise my two children closer to my family.

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

CamilleThe Art of Forgetting is about two long-time friends—who grew up in Michigan and moved to New York City to start their adult lives—and how their friendship is upended after one of them suffers a brain injury that affects her memory and personality. The Chicago Tribune says "Pagan writes with both a subtle sense of humor and great wisdom about the power of friendship and the importance of forgiveness in her quietly compelling literary debut."

Debbie:  Other books and projects on the horizon?

Camille:  I'm hard at work on my second novel! I'm also taking on regular journalism stories and writing for SvelteGourmand.com, a site I co-founded in 2009 with my friend and colleague Sara Reistad-Long.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Camille:  None, thank goodness! I have a seven-month-old and a three year and just finished my mini book tour. I'm exhausted and really looking forward to digging into my next book.

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? A favorite Michigan library?

Camille:  The Borders in downtown Ann Arbor has always been a favorite; I've been going there as long as I can remember and I'm so sad that the company went out of business. As for libraries, the Dearborn Public Library system made me a reader (I went to all of the branches regularly as a child and later as a young adult) and it will always have a special place in my heart.

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Camille:  My family goes up to a little town in the Upper Peninsula called Curtis. It's almost impossible to get an internet connection and there's nothing going on up there—it's beautiful and remote.

Debbie:  Sounds wonderful!  Camille, do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Camille:  The Ann Arbor Art Fair! I was so bummed that I wasn't able to attend it this year.

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

Camille:  We live in a fantastic neighborhood in Ann Arbor called Lower Burns Park, and our one-block street is very close—we have regular Friday night potlucks. At one of these get-togethers, my husband mentioned that he'd picked up this little physics book in Spanish when we were in Argentina a few years back. The neighbors who live directly across from us looked shocked and asked the name of the book. Low and behold, the husband of the two - Alberto Rojo - had written it! We hadn't made the connection, and we still can't believe what a crazy coincidence it was. As it turns out, in addition to being a physics whiz, Alberto is also an amazing guitarist, and his CD is worth checking out. http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/albertorojo

Debbie:  Definitely a CD worth giving a listen to!  How about something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about our state?

Camille:  The best Lebanese food in the entire country can be had in Wayne County, Michigan. My favorites are Sheesh (http://www.annarbor.com/restaurants/sheesh-mediterranean-cuisine/) in Ann Arbor and Al-Ameer (http://www.alameerrestaurant.com/) in Dearborn Heights.

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

Camille:  I'm a Michigander, always. :)

Debbie:  Michigander it is!  Thank you, Camille, for joining us today for Michigander Monday!

To learn more about Camille Noe Pagán and her debut novel The Art of Forgetting, visit her web site.  And be sure to check out her Svelte Gourmand site as well!

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