Debbie: Alison, please tell us a little about yourself.
Alison: I grew up in St. Ignace, Michigan, attended MSU, taught middle school and high school language arts until our second child was born (both children are now teenagers), have had a variety of jobs since (dog walker, bookseller) but have mainly been a stay-at-home wife and mother, and now a writer—what I've secretly wanted to be since I was a kid.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your book.
Alison: My Near-Death Adventures (99% True!) is basically Diary of a Wimpy Kid set in 1895. Stan is hauled to a lumber camp in the U.P. with his mother and granny. There he is determined to find his long-lost father (the one who, until recently, he thought was “dearly departed.”). He’s foiled at every turn by his slightly older cousin, Geri (who diagnoses him will all sorts of 19th century diseases), Stinky Pete (who may or may not be a cold-blooded killer), and his mama’s unwelcome suitors. He also embellishes his tale with postcards, trading cards, and advertisements from the time period.
Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?
Alison: I have a three book deal with Phoebe Yeh at Crown Books for Young Readers. I just got edits back for the second book. It’s the same characters (mostly) now in St. Ignace. Except Stan’s dad might actually show up. And that could be good, or it could be really bad. I’m not sure what she will want for book three, but I have some other books I’m working on, both middle grade.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Alison: My launch party will be held at Between the Covers bookstore in Harbor Springs on February 25, and I’ll be signing books on February 28 at 2:00 at Horizon Books in Traverse City. I have some school events scheduled as well.
Debbie: Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore?
Alison: My very favorite bookstore is the one in Harbor Springs: Between the Covers. I also work there part time, but that’s mainly for the discount. Also, I think I was in there so much the owner, Katie Capaldi, just gave up and offered me a job.
Debbie: A favorite Michigan library?
Alison: Of course the Harbor Springs Public Library, which is small and quaint and dates back to 1894.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Alison: I really, really love Harbor Springs and am so happy I get to call it home. It’s true there is no Target, but I’m a small-town girl at heart. Also, I love the lake. (I would take a Target, however.)
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Alison: I’m not a huge “event” person, but in 2016 Harbor Springs is beginning its first annual Harbor Springs Festival of the Book, a three day festival that will bring nationally known authors to town to celebrate stories in all forms. I’m crazy excited for this.
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Alison: There are so many, aren’t there? My favorite YA writer is Kate Bassett, also my critique partner. Her book, Words and Their Meanings, hit many Michigan best-seller lists and is beautiful writing mixed with a heartfelt story.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Alison: I would love non-Michiganders to know that Michigan is so incredibly beautiful it will take your breath away. The lakes in the summer, the trees in autumn, the snow-covered everything in winter and the relief we all feel with spring make it hard to beat.
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?
Alison: I’m a Yooper. ;)
Debbie: Alison, we'll add you to the Yooper column. Thank you so much for joining us today for Michigander Monday!
Find Alison at her web site, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Goodreads. Signed copies of her book can be ordered from Between the Covers at 231-526-6658 or through its Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/btcbookstore