Monday, April 23, 2012

Michigander Monday: Colleen Murray Fisher

I'm pleased to welcome Colleen Murray Fisher to Michigander Monday!

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

Colleen:  My mother was a teacher and my father was a Detroit Mounted Police Officer.   My parents passed away when I was a child, and my siblings and I were then raised by our aunts and uncles in Marlette—a small city in the heart of Michigan’s thumb.   I earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Michigan State University and have been an elementary teacher in Livonia for fourteen years.  My husband and I reside in White Lake and are the proud adoptive parents of two beautiful, Ethiopian children, Sofanit, 13 years old, and Samson, 5 years old.

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

Colleen:  My first book, The One and Only Bernadette P. McMullen, was written and illustrated as a homework assignment during my master’s program, but it wasn’t to my publisher until eight years later.  It was named a USA News Best Book Finalist, and is about being proud of who you are and celebrating the differences in others.  Then I illustrated Oh No! Ah Yes! and I Can Dance, Too! which won the Mom’s Choice silver medal and gold medal, respectively.  On a road trip to North Carolina, I wrote Miss Martin is a Martian, a humorous children’s book about a boy who is convinced his teacher is a Martian.  It won the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association Best Children’s Picture Book Award and a 2012 Michigan Notable Book Award.  Most recently I illustrated a book entitled, I Am Stumped! which was written by Dr. Lisa Rivard and released in March.  

Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?

Colleen:  My friend, Kathy Hofmeister, and I wrote the first two children’s books in a series on the topic of “worrying.”  We are shopping them around right now.  I also wrote a sequel to Miss Martin is a Martian entitled, My Principal is a Spy.  I am not sure if any of the books will get published, but I can only hope someone will see what I see in them!

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Colleen:  I look forward to attending and signing books at the 2012 Night for Notables reception in Lansing on April 28th.  Then I will be going on a Notable Book Tour.  I will be presenting at the Howell Library--May 15th, the Cromaine Library--June 9th, and the Commerce Library--June 20th.  I will be signing books with other Michigan authors at the Milford Memories Fair and Marlette’s Quincentennial Country Fair Day Celebration as well as at local Barnes and Noble Bookstores this summer.

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore?

Colleen:  I just discovered The Next Chapter Bookstore and Bistro in downtown Northville.  It combines two of my favorites—good books & good food!

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Colleen:  My “hometown” of Marlette is a special place for me.   What it lacks in excitement and things to do, it makes up for in warm hearts and kind faces.  Going back there for me is like snuggling up with a cuddly blanket and a cup of hot cocoa on a cold, winter day.

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

Colleen:  I don’t do either often enough, but it’s a toss-up between attending the Michigan State/Michigan football game and attending a really good Tigers game with the family on a warm summer night. 

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

Colleen:  There are too many names to mention, but I belong to a group of fun and talented Michigan authors called the Paige Turner Society.  We meet monthly at Biggby Coffee in Northville to discuss and plan upcoming writing projects and events. 

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

Colleen:  We have beautiful beaches without the salt and sharks, amazing sports teams, and plenty to do year round!

Debbie: Finally, last question:  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Colleen:  I would have to say a, “Michigander.”  I was raised to refer to myself as a “Michiganian,” but somewhere along the way I was brainwashed into calling myself a “Michigander.” However, since I’m from the thumb I want to come up with a name for us…Thumbkins?  Thumbers?   Thumbians?
Debbie:  Maybe Thumbiganders?  Colleen, thank you so much for joining us today for Michigander Monday, Thumbkin edition!

To learn more about Colleen and her books, be sure to stop by her web site.

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