Debbie: Kelly, please tell us a little about yourself.
Kelly: I’m a Michigan girl through and through. I was born and raised here, and so were my parents and grandparents, as well as my husband, his parents, and grandparents. I’ve been a member of SCBWI since I started writing seriously in 2005. I graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults in January 2011. Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger, Inc. is my agent. I’m also a part-time adjunct writing instructor at Spring Arbor University. Mostly, though, I like to be home reading or writing in my tiny office with my little dogs.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your book.
Kelly: 45 Pounds (More or Less) is a contemporary YA novel. It released in July from Viking (Penguin), and is available wherever books are sold.
Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi's life:
She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks and wants Ann to be the bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind:
Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less)
in two and a half months.
Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, endless wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann's ever seen--and some surprises about her not-so-perfect mother.
And don't forget the last part of the equation: It's all about feeling comfortable in your own skin--no matter how you add it up!
(See books tab at www.kabarson.com for more information.)
Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?
Kelly: Yes, my second book, also a YA contemporary and also from Viking, is due out around summer 2015. It’s about a high school cosmetology student who thinks she has her life all planned out and under control—until it falls apart.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Kelly: Northern Ohio SCBWI conference in Cleveland, OH – Sept. 20-21
Schuler Books in Lansing, MI (Eastwood Towne Center) – Thurs. Sept. 26 at 6:00
Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, MI – Tues. Oct. 8 at 6:30
Perry Literary Festival in Perry, OH – Sat. Oct. 19
Horizon Books in Traverse City, MI – Sat. Nov. 2
Blue Phoenix Books in Alpena, MI – Sat. Nov. 9
Great Lakes Book & Supply in Big Rapids, MI – Sat. Nov. 16
(See events tab at www.kabarson.com for more details.)
Debbie: Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?
Kelly: Bookstore: I love Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor. As for libraries, Jackson District Library’s Carnegie Branch, downtown. I spent so much time there as a kid that when I go there now, I can almost see and hear my childhood self in the auditorium watching movies, climbing the marble steps to the children’s department, and waiting in the lobby to check out my stack of books. Just the smell of the books and the gorgeous old building takes me back to a happy place.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Kelly: I love Mackinac! The Mackinac Bridge, Mackinac Island, and Mackinaw City. The bridge is majestic and beautiful. The island is quaint and historic. I often travel to the city in the off-season to write where it’s quiet and peaceful. (It’s not nearly as quiet during the tourist season, but that’s fun, too.)
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Kelly: Our family collects antique steam tractors. There are a lot of steam tractor shows in Michigan, and we travel to quite a few of them. We even help put one on in Tompkins Center, Michigan every third weekend in September. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to keep history alive.
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Kelly: Ed Spicer is a pretty fun, interesting Michigan person. He’s a first grade teacher in Allegan by day, but other than that, he’s a superhero book guy. He reads, he reviews, and talks to people. He’s a friend to authors, librarians, educators, and anyone who cares about kids and reading. His passion is contagious.
Debbie: I agree -- Ed's great! Definitely a Michigan treasure.
Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Kelly: It’s a beautiful place to visit. If you haven’t seen the Great Lakes, it’s hard to imagine them. They are not just big lakes; they are inland freshwater seas.
Debbie: Last question. Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders, others as Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally, are you a Michigander or a Michiganian?
Kelly: Michigander, definitely. As a kid, I had an old out-of-print book called Michigan My Michigan. That book, along with my elementary school teachers who taught Michigan history, all said Michigander. That has stuck.
Debbie: We'll add you to the Michigander column! Kelly, thank you so much for joining us today for Michigander Monday!