I'm pleased to welcome Jeni Decker to Michigander Monday!
Debbie: Jeni, please tell us a little about yourself.
Jeni: Excerpted from the pretentious third person bio; a must-have for every author:
Jeni Decker lives on a farm in rural Michigan with her husband, two autistic sons, some chickens, the occasional pig, her dog, and an albino frog named Humbert Humbert. She’s the author of I Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames and the co-author of Waiting for Karl Rove. You can find her blatantly exploiting her children (and often politicians) on closetspacemusings.blogspot.com.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your books.
Jeni: I Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames is a memoir; my crazy life and everything in it - shaken, not stirred. The Library Journal called I Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames “…brash, sarcastic, irreverent, heartfelt, and touching…” and who am I to argue?
Waiting for Karl Rove is irreverent, politically incorrect satire masquerading as road trip memoir. Think Thelma and Louise—only Thelma’s menopausal, Louise is an erratic big-mouth with a penchant for discussing her hemorrhoids, and they’re on a road trip to wrestle an apology from Karl Rove by any means necessary.
Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?
Jeni: My co-author Kat Nove and I are working on book two in the Waiting for Karl Rove series - Waiting for a Plot: What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas, Especially if Someone Slips You a Roofie. Book two takes place during a span of time covered in book one where the “characters” are in a drunken blackout. Did I mention that Kat and I wrote ourselves into these books? Yeah, so there’s that.
Also, I’ve got two books with small publishers that should be released this year - barring any terrorist activity or other unforeseen complications. The Peacock Mirror is a cheeky Victorian era romp; a cautionary tale of blackmail, bed-hopping, and social climbing that explores sexual mores and social standing around the time of the Oscar Wilde trial.
Far From Happy takes place during the pre- to post- gentrification of New York City and follows a male hustler as he comes to terms with his sexuality. This one isn’t humor, though it’s one of my personal favorites. I believe there’s a great deal of beauty in the pain life has to offer and as a writer, I often find it necessary to push those bruises and shine a light on life’s sores.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Jeni: I’ll be at Schuler Books on Feb. 7th at 7pm
2660 28th St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Also, Literary Life Bookstore & More doing a reading followed by a signing on the evening of February 9th starting at 7:00pm.
758 Wealthy Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Debbie: Do you have a favorite Michigan library?
Jeni: I’ve always loved libraries; I equate the smell of a library to the feeling of limitless possibilities. It’s the one place I’d have no problem being locked inside for any length of time. I could go a day or so without food and water, but not reading material.
I live in Reed City so I use that library frequently, as well as the Big Rapids Public Library. The staff at both are fantastic. I’m sort of a book fiend, so it helps that they don’t look at me strangely when I approach the desk with a stack of books that’s taller than I am.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Jeni: The one place we take the kids every year is Ludington Beach. Unlike the beaches in Florida where I come from, there’s no car traffic so I can actually sit and relax as the kids run free. The other huge plus: fresh water = no sharks and jellyfish!
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Jeni: Not a specific event, but I have to say, living somewhere where there’s an actual change of seasons is fantastic. Florida had one season: hot. Okay, two: hot and sticky. Okay, three: hot, sticky and humid.
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Jeni: My mother is also a writer and she’s fun on Tuesdays and alternating Saturdays. The rest of the week, I just ignore her. But she feeds my addiction to making crazy videos (SEE: agorophobejeni on Youtube). Her name is Susan Stec and her book The Grateful Undead: They’re So Vein is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book, as well as at Barnes and Noble for Nook. She’s got two others in the humor series coming out soon, and I highly recommend them all. She’s another author who wrote herself into her book, along with the entire “cast” of estrogen-producing members of our family… only in her book everyone’s a vampire. Except me. Even in fiction I have to be the sensible one.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Jeni: People are really nice here. Seriously, that took some getting used to… people always smiling.
Debbie: Final question: Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?
Jeni: How about Meshugenah? I’m not Jewish, but it does mean crazy, so it's apropos. Seriously, I lived in Florida my whole life, up until about 5 years ago when we came here. I don’t think I’ve earned the title Michigander or Michiganian yet. I only started driving in the snow last year. Holy crap, that’s scary! But if I were forced to choose, Michigander gets my vote. I like the way it rolls off the tongue. Any ole place can slap a ‘ian’ on the end of their state and call it a day, but not everyone can add a ‘gander’ and get away with it.
Hawaiigander? I think not.
Debbie: Good point - and Michigander it is! Jeni, thank you so much for being here today for Michigander Monday!
To learn more about Jeni and her books, visit her blog and her Twitter feed. And view the book trailer for her new book over on YouTube.