Monday, July 23, 2012

Michigander Monday: Tracy Bilen

I'm pleased to welcome Tracy Bilen to Michigander Monday!

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

Tracy:  I’m a high school French teacher and mom of two. I like biking, cross country skiing, and walks in the woods.

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about your book, What She Left Behind.

Tracy:  The most fun way to learn more about it is to watch the book trailer: http://youtu.be/pB2T-jL3Ee4

But here’s the back cover copy too:

“Don’t even think of leaving…I will find you,” he whispered. “Guaranteed.”

Sara and her mom have a plan to finally escape Sara’s abusive father. But when her mom doesn’t show up as expected, Sara’s terrified. Her father says that she’s on a business trip, but Sara knows he’s lying. Her mom is missing—and her dad had something to do with it.

With each day that passes, Sara’s more on edge. Her friends know that something’s wrong, but she won’t endanger anyone else with her secret. And with her dad growing increasingly violent, Sara must figure out what happened to her mom before it’s too late…for them both.

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Tracy:  I’m currently working on another YA thriller.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Tracy:  Tuesday, July 24: Baldwin Public Library YA Author Event (with Amy Ackley, Beth Neff, and Lara Zielen) 300 W. Merrill Street, Birmingham, MI 48009



Saturday, Sept. 15 at 1pm (pizza!! / talk / questions / signing): Schuler Books, 1982 Grand River Ave, Okemos, MI

Saturday October 6: Fall Conference SCBWI-Michigan (Downtown Detroit): new author panel

November 1: MAME (Michigan Association for Media in Education) Parade of Authors

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?

Tracy:  I like Nicola’s in Ann Arbor because of all the fun author events. The Troy Library is great and the Rochester Hills Library looks awesome from the outside when you’re riding past it on the bike path. (I don’t want to be tempted to check out library books from someplace that’s a bit far from my home, so I haven’t yet been inside).

Debbie:  How about some favorite places in Michigan?

TracyMackinac Island! But if you visit, stay away from the bicycle built for two – it’s not nearly as romantic as it seems. Pretty uncomfortable, actually.

I also love Fayette State Park (because it has a ghost town that you can visit!)

And the Kellogg factory in Battle Creek has a ball pit that kids love to play in (never mind the cereal)

The Cascades in Jackson – a spectacle of light and music! Who knew you could find that outside Las Vegas?

And won’t somebody buy the now defunct Prehistoric Forest in the Irish Hills so I can take my kids there before they get too old? Same goes for Stagecoach Stop.

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

Tracy:  You mean besides the SCBWI fall conference?!

The country music concerts at the Lenawee County Fair (we saw Garth Brooks there before he made it big!)

The bed races at the Onsted Festival.

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

TracyShutta Crum, author of Thunder Boomer (my daughter’s favorite), Fox and Fluff (my favorite) and Mine! (would be our baby’s favorite if we still had a baby!) She was my SCBWI mentor extraordinaire!

Johnathan Rand, Michigan Chillers author who has a shop up north that my son insisted we take a vacation to visit (such fun to see a kid in awe of a bookstore and we got a ride in a tube down the river out of it!)

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

Tracy:  I’m a transplant here -  it’s still really hard for me to say “pop” instead of “soda.” I always feel like a fraud trying to blend in (even though I’ve lived here more than twenty years).

Debbie:  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"?

Tracy:  Michigander sounds right to me!

 Debbie:  Tracy, thank you for joining us today for Michigander Monday!

To learn more about Tracy and her book, stop by her web site, her blog, her Twitter feed, and her FaceBook page.

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