I'm pleased to welcome Laura Ellen to Michigander Monday!
Debbie: Laura, please tell us a little about yourself.
Laura: I was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, and have lived all over the US, including 11 years in Ann Arbor, MI. I write YA mysteries and thrillers. My debut YA thriller Blind Spot (Harcourt Children's Books) came out this past fall.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your book.
Laura: Blind Spot is marketed as a thriller/mystery, but it's also about accepting one's self. 16 year old Roz has juvenile macular degeneration which robs her of her central vision and she is struggling to prove she's capable to everyone, but mostly herself. This obsession however gets her into trouble and is the 'blind spot' she must overcome to find the truth about the night her classmate Tricia was killed -- the night Roz fought with her and can't remember.
I used my own experiences growing up as a teen with juvenile macular degeneration to make Roz's character authentic.
Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?
Laura: I don't yet have a publication date, but my next one is (for now!) titled In Blood and is about 17 year old Kat Walters who, after accidentally killing her mother, travels to Alaska to meet the father she thought was dead -- only to discover he's accused of murder.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Laura: I just came back from an author visit at Hesperia Middle School in Hesperia, MI -- what a blast that was! I'll also be selling Blind Spot during the SCBWI Wild, Wild Midwest conference in Ft. Wayne, IN May 3-5, will be on the debut author panel at ThrillerFest in NYC July 10-13, and will be signing at Houston BookRave 2013 in Houston, TX November 2, 2013.
Debbie: Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore?
Laura: Nicola's in Ann Arbor. I had my launch there in October and it was a blast!
Debbie: How about a favorite Michigan library?
Laura: We frequented Malletts Creek, but the Ann Arbor Main is my favorite.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Laura: I love Boyne - but not for the skiing. I head into the woods and write. I also adore Mackinac Island, but who doesn't?
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Laura: I attend every SCBWI Michigan conference. SCBWI-MI was my first official writing community and if it weren't for everyone in it, I wouldn't be published :)
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Laura: I have to mention my wonderful critique group: Sharon Blankenship, Todd Gerring, Jacqui Robbins, Katena Presutti, Diane Telgen, and Kim Valice.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Laura: I've lived in several states in my lifetime, but hands-down the nicest people live in Michigan -- especially those in the writing community. I love how devoted people are to reading and writing and how willing Michigan authors are to sit and chat with readers or fellow writers.
Debbie: Last question: Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders, others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally, what’s the better term: Michigander or Michiganian?
Laura: :) Michigander.
Debbie: Laura, we'll add you to the Michigander column. Thank you so much for being here for Michigander Monday!