I'm pleased to welcome Kelly O'Connor McNees to Michigander Monday!
Debbie: Kelly, please tell us a little about yourself.
Kelly: I grew up in Lansing and attended the University of Michigan, where I majored in English. After that I moved around quite a bit, to New York City, and later to Rhode Island and Ontario with my husband, who had research appointments at various universities. About three years ago we moved permanently to Chicago, right before my first novel was published. This year has been the busiest one yet: My daughter was born in February, and my second novel went on sale just two weeks ago. I am working on something new now and praying she will sleep through the night one of these days! We love Chicago and are very lucky to live close to the lake, but it's not quite the same over here. I miss Up North.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your books.
Kelly: My first novel, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, imagined what might have taken place during the summer of 1855, long before Alcott wrote Little Women. The details of that summer are missing from her letters and journals, and I was inspired to speculate. My second novel, In Need of a Good Wife, tells the story of a group of mail-order brides who travel west from New York City to Nebraska after the Civil War.
Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?
Kelly: I am working on my third novel now, and I am very pleased to say that it is set in northern Michigan. Stay tuned!
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Kelly: I will be at the Delta Township Library in Lansing on October 25. I also keep busy Skyping in with book clubs all over the country. If you are in a book club and would like to schedule a call, let me know!
Debbie: Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore?
Kelly: McLean & Eakin in Petoskey is my favorite bookstore in Michigan, or anywhere, really. It's a wonderful store and the owners are really committed to being the center of the literary community there. Plus, in order to get there, you get to go to Petoskey!
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Kelly: I love South Haven, where I spent a lot of time as a kid, and Old Mission Peninsula, and Mackinac Island. Now I'm getting homesick.
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Kelly: Fall is my favorite season, and anytime I can get up north when the leaves change is a wonderful gift.
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Kelly: Bonnie Jo Campbell writes wrenching fiction set in Michigan. Her novel Once Upon a River left me speechless for about two days when I finished it last fall. Another favorite Michigan writer is Steve Hamilton, who writes thrillers set in Paradise, in the U.P., about a retired Detroit police officer.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Kelly: I find it hard to believe that northern Michigan is not the number one summer vacation spot for everyone in the country, but I'm sort of glad they don't know. Part of what makes it great is that it flies under the radar.
Debbie: Last question. Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: do you prefer "Michigander" or "Michiganian"?
Kelly: I like Michigander, but embracing that term makes me wonder: Why doesn't anyone ever talk about the Michigoose? What's good for the Michigander must be good for the Michigoose, right?
Debbie: Absolutely! Kelly, thank you so very much for joining us today for Michigander/Michigoose Monday!