Monday, March 12, 2012

Michigander Monday: Eve K. Sandstrom / JoAnna Carl

Today I'm pleased to welcome Eve K. Sandstrom to Michigander Monday.  Eve writes the JoAnna Carl Chocoholic Mystery series, set in Michigan.

Debbie:  Tell us a little about yourself.

 JoAnna/Eve:  I'm the Grandma Moses of the mystery novel. I didn't make my first sale until I was nearly fifty. And that was a long time back. Despite my love of Michigan, which inspired the settings of the Chocoholic books, I'm a fifth generation Oklahoman. I have two home states, but I vote in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma I’m known as Eve K. Sandstrom, in Michigan I’m JoAnna Carl. My pen name was picked from the middle names of my three kids.

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about your books.

JoAnna/Eve:  I write traditional mysteries. Not too much sex and violence, but I'll stick both in there if I think the plot needs it. The Chocoholic books were inspired when an editor asked me to come up with a new and cozy idea, and I thought of my daughter's job, in the business office of a chocolate company. I changed the location and setting substantially, but TenHuis Chocolade is based on the place she worked at that time. The owner and chocolate crew were wonderfully helpful. However, my daughter has since left that company and now works for a chicken wing chain. (My editor says there's not a series in chicken wings.)

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

JoAnna/Eve:  The twelfth Chocoholic book will be out in October. It's The Chocolate Moose Motive. I'm working on the next one now -- working title The Chocolate Book Bandit.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

JoAnna/Eve:  I speak at the Altus, Oklahoma, Public Library April 4, and I'll be at Malice Domestic 24 in Bethesda, Maryland, April 27-29. (I should get out more.)

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore?

JoAnna/Eve:  Sure. The Singapore Bank Bookstore in Saugatuck, Michigan, run by my pals Judy and Phil Hallisy. I also love Aunt Agatha’s in Ann Arbor.

Debbie:  And a favorite Michigan library?

JoAnna/Eve:  I have a card at the Saugatuck-Douglas District Library and use their Internet facilities a lot, in addition to reading their books. Plus, the Herrick District Library in Holland has simply been super to me. They have a wonderful mystery discussion group, guided by librarian Robin Williams-Voight. (My son is a librarian, and I love libraries and librarians. I also have a daughter who's a CPA, but I couldn't work in a reference to her. And I have a very nice husband who's retired, but works as administrator of a small church.)

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

JoAnna/Eve:  The Sandstrom cottage at Pier Cove, due west of Fennville.

Debbie:  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

JoAnna/Eve:  Michigan doesn't have to do anything; it simply has to exist.

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

JoAnna/Eve:  I've mentioned my bookstore and library pals. Hmmm. We have wonderful neighbors up there. I'll give a plug to one of the best mystery writers, Barbara D'Amato, who splits her time between Holland and Chicago, but is a native of Grand Rapids. Jerry Dennis wrote a fabulous non-fiction book about the Great Lakes, The Living Great Lakes. I've never met Jerry, but his non-fiction is as exciting as any suspense novel. He's a heck of a writer.

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

JoAnna/Eve:  There is no tide on Lake Michigan. Or on any of the Great Lakes. But there are the most gorgeous beaches you can imagine. And the state's fruit crop makes me drool just thinking about it.

Debbie:  Finally, some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: what's the better term, "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

JoAnna/Eve:  As an Okie, I stay out of this one. I was on a panel with a large number of Michigan writers, and I got a laugh because I circumvented the whole thing by referring to "People who live in Michigan." Loren Estleman then said he called them "Michigoons." I wouldn't dare!

Debbie:  We'll put you in the abstention column.  Eve and JoAnna, thank you for being here today for Michigander Monday!

To learn more about JoAnna Carl / Eve K. Sandstrom and her books, head over to her web site.  (And while you're there, be sure to check out her page of chocolate lore.)