I enjoy each and every Michigander Monday profile I do, but I'm particularly thrilled to welcome the fabulous Carrie Pearson to Michigander Monday!
Debbie: Carrie, please tell us a little about yourself.
Carrie: I grew up in Hillsdale, Michigan near the Ohio border and was a reading nutcase. I’d read wherever and whenever I could – even locked in the bathroom! After my parent’s divorce when I was 7, I remember my mom’s new boyfriend saying I really needed to get outside more. J My other favorite activities were riding horses, playing Little Kiddles (remember those?) on my grandma’s farm, and driving electric golf carts on the family golf course. What an eclectic mash-up!
Sometime later, I graduated with a BA in early childhood education with a major in psychology and minors in social sciences and natural sciences from the University of Michigan (go blue!). I taught at the Madelon Pound House preschool and started their after-kindergarten enrichment program. I absolutely adored children because of their unique take on the world (and still do!).
After two years, I was asked to run the preschool which pointed me in a new direction: business. Later, I moved into the business world and in my last full-time corporate position, combined my concern for children with business as a professional fundraiser for a large children’s medical center.
Writing was a big part of my business life (proposals, newsletters, marketing materials, etc.) and after my three daughters were born and I’d read literally hundreds of books to them, I decided to try writing for children. I joined SCBWI and when a manuscript won the SCBWI-MI Picture Book Mentorship Award in 2007, my interest was validated. At that moment, my hobby became my intention.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your book.
Carrie: A Warm Winter Tail is a cozy nature book about how animals adapt to the winter. It is told from animals’ perspective – which adds some humor – and compares/contrasts how people and animals manage the cold. It is a lyrical book first with some rhyming elements and packs a bunch of educational stuff into 32 pages. Christina Wald, the amazing illustrator, captured completely the pictures I had in my head. I am grateful for this because my stick drawings would never have done it justice. Seriously, she has a remarkable talent for light, perspective, and creating images that are true to life and yet child friendly.
Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?
Carrie: I am working on a companion title about how animals adapt to heat. I’ve completed a MG historical novel (whew!) and am querying it now. I have several picture book manuscripts in various stages of development and more ideas than time – like most writers.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Carrie: Oh my yes. My official launch was at Peter White Public Library on Sunday, October 14, 3-4pm. I will be at Horizon Books in Traverse City to sign on Saturday, November 3 10am-12pm; MooseWood Nature Center in Marquette, Sunday November 11, 2-3pm; McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey on Saturday, December 15, 1-3pm. I will travel downstate again after the first of the year and I have a few more regional events in the works (one might include Santa and chocolate – two of my favorite things!).
Debbie: Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore, and/or a favorite Michigan Library?
Carrie: I love both bookstores in Marquette (Snowbound Books and Book World) for different reasons and appreciate them for being very hardworking resources for our book-loving community.
I’ve spent so much time in the Peter White Public Library’s children’s area that I feel like it is my second home. I adore that they let people eat and drink in there and never shush me – even when I snort at a funny part in my book. Cathy Seblonka, the children’s services librarian, has been so supportive. She read my manuscripts when I first put them on paper and didn’t snicker! She gently told me the truth if something wasn’t working, but also gave me enough positive feedback to keep me going. Years ago and prior to being published, she asked me to participate on a panel for children’s book authors/writers and because she saw me as a real writer, I did too. Her team follows in her footsteps and creates a wonderful environment for children and their adults.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Carrie: My grandma’s farm in Jonesville where I used to pluck fresh concord grapes off the vine and pop them, warmed by the sun, into my mouth; Nakomis’ Bathtub, a natural granite rock “playground” just off our beach in chilly Lake Superior where we swim when we are brave; the aptly named Gorgeous Trail in Marquette that winds along the banks of the Dead River; Baw Beese Lake in Hillsdale where I grew up waterskiing and riding our snowmobile to Tip Up Festival… so many places and so many memories in Michigan!
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Carrie: Fourth of July fireworks in a boat moored in Marquette’s Lower Harbor can’t be beat. The sound echoes off the old iron ore railroad trestle and thumps your chest like a fist. It is a full-senses experience!
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Carrie: I continue to be amazed by the Michigan children’s book community. This group of talented writers and illustrators are truly concerned about the success of others -- which is remarkable in a highly competitive industry. It seems the more success we have, the more we help each other.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Carrie: Michigan offers such diversity in natural surroundings, city life, industry, and farming. It is a one-stop shop state!
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"?
Carrie: I’d be a Michigander if pushed to make a call on it but what about being a “Michiganine” (like Wolverine) or “Michiganite?” I say let’s vote again!
Debbie: Carrie, we'll add you to several columns! Thank you so very much for joining us today for Michigander Monday!