Debbie: J. Gabriel, please tell us a little about yourself.
J. Gabriel: I was born and raised in Marshall, Michigan, a charming town full of historic homes, antique shops, and lovely, tree-lined streets - basically a Norman Rockwell painting come to life. I went to college at Florida State, got my degree in theater, moved to Los Angeles and did the acting thing for a while. I acted in a bunch of national TV commercials and dabbled in screenplays, but books were really my thing. In 2010 I got my first book deal and moved back to Michigan. That pretty much brings us to the present!
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your books.
J. Gabriel: I have several out right now. The Sleepwalkers is a novel I’ve dubbed the scariest teen horror novel ever written. Then there’s Dark Territory, the first book of a modern teen fantasy series called “The Tracks,” about kung-fu, magic and star-crossed love in a small Midwestern town. The second book of the Tracks series, called Ghost Crown, just came out on June 6th, so I’m very excited about that.
Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?
J. Gabriel: I have an epic, dystopian sci-fi novel called Blood Zero Sky coming out in the fall that I think is going to be really big. It’s sort of a mash up of “Hunger Games,” “Atlas Shrugged,” the American Revolutionary War and Occupy Wall Street. Make of that what you will!
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
J. Gabriel: I have loads of them! Here’s a list:
- Barnes & Noble ** Saturday, June 9th ** 1pm - “Ghost Crown” release party, discussion, reading and book signing - Woodland Mall - 3195 28th St. SE Suite B116, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
- Barnes & Noble ** Saturday, June 16th ** Noon - “Ghost Crown” release party and signing - Lansing Mall, 5132 W. Saginaw Hwy., Lansing, MI 48917
- Greenrock Writers’ Retreat ** Friday, June 22nd - Talk and Booksigning - Retreat participants only - Michigan State University Campus
- Barnes & Noble ** Saturday, June 23rd ** 1pm - Book Signing - Lakeview Square Mall, 5701 Beckley Road, Battle Creek, MI 49015
- Barnes & Noble ** Saturday, July 7th ** 1pm - Book Signing - 19221 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
- Barnes & Noble ** Saturday, July 14th ** 1pm - Book Signing - 3050 Beeline Road, Suite 50, Holland, MI 49424
- Barnes & Noble ** Saturday, July 21st ** 1pm - Book Signing - 6134 South Westnedge Ave, Portage, MI 49002
- Barnes & Noble ** Saturday, July 28th ** 1pm - Book Signing - 5275 Harvey Street, Muskegon, MI 49444
- Barnes & Noble ** Saturday, August 4th ** 1pm - Book Signing - 3700 Rivertown Parkway, Grandville, MI 49418
- Barnes & Noble ** Saturday, August 11th ** 1pm - Book Signing - Glenbrook Square Mall, 4201 Coldwater Rd Suite B-01, Fort Wayne, IN 46805
- Barnes & Noble ** Saturday, August 18th ** 1pm - Book Signing - The Shops at Fallen Timbers, 3100 Main St #1400, Maumee, OH 43537
- Barnes & Noble ** Saturday, August 25th ** 1pm - Book Signing - Green Oak Village Place, 9605 Green Oak Village Place, Green Oak Township, MI 48116
J. Gabriel: I’m partial to Willard Library in Battle Creek. The new Lakeview branch of that library is particularly beautiful, too. In terms of bookstores, I like Schuler Books in East Lansing. I also have lots of love for Barnes and Noble. They’ve been great for supporting my work, and I’m not going to leave them out just because they’re corporate! They also have yummy coffee, which is always a plus.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
J. Gabriel: I’ll always be partial to Marshall since I grew up there. I also spent quite a bit of time in Saugatuck – my dad had a boat that he kept there in the summers and I used to run around downtown when I was a kid and check out all the funky stores. I was just there for Memorial Day – it’s a beautiful town. I love Warren Dunes, too. There’s nothing like sprinting down those sand mountains at full speed into the lake. I’ve lived in a lot of places, and I really do dig the ol’ mitten state!
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
J. Gabriel: I’ve always loved the 4th of July in Marshall. Everyone gathers around the fountain in the center of town and eats ice cream and grilled chicken while the community band plays marches. Then you can go over to Battle Creek for the fireworks at the Balloon Festival. Fun times!
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
J. Gabriel: Last year I met a cool Kalamazoo writer by the name of Jeremy Brown. He has a book that’s sort of a mixed martial arts noir called Suckerpunch that I thought was great. He’s a cool guy, too, so all you readers out there who are into that sort of stuff should go and pick up a copy of his book.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
J. Gabriel: I’ve been all over the place, and the best people I’ve known come from Michigan. Michigan equals good people, that’s what people should know.
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"?
J. Gabriel: Michigander, all the way!
Debbie: Michigander it is! Thank you, J. Gabriel, for joining us today!
To learn more about J. Gabriel Gates and his books, visit his web site, blog, FaceBook page, and Twitter feed.