I'm pleased to welcome Jennifer Sowle to Michigander Monday!
Debbie: Jennifer, please tell us a little about yourself.
Jennifer: I've been a clinical psychologist for over 25 years. I moved to Traverse City about twelve years ago, and I'm in private practice here. I've always wanted to write fiction, so about eight years ago I took a seminar at the local college and I've been hooked ever since.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your book.
Jennifer: My first novel, Admissions (Arbutus Press) came out in 2010. This year I have a new self-help book just released, The Everything Guide to Codependency (Adams Media). Until I put it aside to do the non-fiction book, I had a new novel in the works, so I guess it's still in the works! I'm also trying something new, a screenplay based on Admissions.
Admissions is set in the old Traverse City State Hospital in l967. I've always been fascinated with this old place so, in a sense, the hospital is one of the characters in my story. It's the story of a young mother who loses her son, is unable to cope, and ends up in a mental hospital. The book chronicles her one-year stay there, and how a group of five other patients and a sweet old groundskeeper help her heal. The hospital has a lot of secrets, and one of the big ones is a subplot in the book.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Jennifer: I will be doing a reading and booksigning for both Admissions and my new
release, The Everything Guide to Codependency at the Elk Rapids Public Library on Sunday, October 26th at 3:00 pm.
Debbie: Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore?
Jennifer: Horizon Books is my favorite bookstore because it is in downtown Traverse City which I love so much. It's one of those bookstores where you can browse to your heart's content, drink coffee, meet an author, have lunch if you can't tear yourself away. They also have musical performers and other entertainment free of charge. Horizons has been very kind to me and I've had three book signings there. I also love Cottage Books in Glen Arbor. Its history and ambiance and staff are very welcoming.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Jennifer: My favorite place in Michigan is here in Traverse City where I live. Twelve years ago, I moved up here from Midland without a job, no family..... I just loved how beautiful it is here and I took a leap of faith. My life since then has been great. I still have my "real job" as a psychologist a couple of days a week, and my writing keeps my brain moving and trying new things. I love my friends here and the cultural atmosphere of Traverse City.
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Jennifer: It's easy for me to point to my favorite event. I just recently participated in it -- it's the Traverse City Film Festival. I have a blog post on the official TCFF 2014 site and my own blog about my TCFF experience. All the fabulous restaurants, talented musicians and, of course, film people from all over the world make it the most cosmopolitan city up north. I love the friendliness and excitement during the Festival--it's electric.
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Jennifer: We have so many interesting people in this area. Mario Batali, Michael Moore, Dean Robb, Christine Lahti, those are a few of the "famous ones." Doug Stanton, best-selling author, is very active in the Film Festival and has started the Writer's Series here in town. We have Interlochen where children of famous people go. One of my favorite artists, Norah Jones, graduated from there. It's nice to have these well-known people in our town, but mostly we are just a bee-hive of cultural events and like-minded people. Great dining, fun night-life, and then there's the Bay!
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Jennifer: Just since I moved here, Michigan has been discovered! The film festival is 4th in popularity in the US already, the State Theatre was voted the best theatre "to watch a movie in splendor" by USA Today, the Sleeping Bear Dunes, selected as the most beautiful place in the US! I'd say to anyone, we have the most beautiful scenery, a relaxed yet also exciting environment, sun, beach, woods, wineries, cherry orchards, dunes, rivers, outdoor fun. I love it here.
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?
Jennifer: I'm old school--Michigander.
Debbie: We'll add you to the Michigander column! Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us today for Michigander Monday!