I'm pleased to welcome Linda Sienkiewicz to Michigander Monday!
Debbie: Linda, please tell us a little about yourself.
Linda: When I was a girl, one of my favorite pastimes was to sit on my front steps and staple little books out of manila paper, and in them I wrote dramatic love stories about teenagers who fall in love and run away together. I also painted, drew, sewed many of my own clothes, and crafted jewelry out of things I found in the back woods where I loved to spend time by myself. I went to art school, worked in graphics for a few years, raised a family, and then returned to writing later in life.
My poetry, short stories and essays are widely published in literary journals such as Prairie Schooner, Spoon River Poetry Review, Rattle, CALYX, Permafrost, The MacGuffin and others. I have a poetry chapbook award, three other poetry chapbooks, and a Pushcart Prize Nomination. When I was in my 50s, I decided to return to school to get my MFA in Fiction.
I'm a corgi lover -- I have a Welsh Pembroke named Clementine who follows me everywhere. I also love black tea, red wine and vintage Archie comic books. These days, my favorite thing to do, besides writing, is to spoil my grandchildren and then send them back home.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your book.
Linda: In the Context of Love is a story about the discovery of a devastating family secret that derails the life of narrator, Angelica Schirrick. As a young woman with two children and a husband in prison, she must reevaluate her life before she can move forward, and what happens when what she discovers leads to more questions. Threaded through the novel is a love story.
It was inspired by a magazine article I read in the nineties titled "My Father is a Rapist," about several women who learned this horrifying truth when they were young adults. I was so impressed by their stories of strength, courage and redemption that I wanted to write a fictional story about such a woman. I had no idea how she would learn this secret, or what would happen when she did, but that's part of the joy of writing.
I was very happy when Buddhapuss Ink offered me a publishing contract. They are a small but solid press that aims to publish great fiction and nonfiction for readers who like to think.
Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?
Linda: I would also like to explore another story related to In the Context of Love, told from another character's point of view. I would also like to write a sequel, too, because several people have told me they fell in love with the characters, including Angelica's two children, and they want to know what happens to them.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Linda: October 25 from 11 - 5 pm I'll be at the Books and Authors Event at Leon and Lulu's, 96 W. 14 Mile, in Clawson.
November 10 at 7pm I'll be at Pages Bookstore, 19560 Grand River Blvd. in Detroit.
November 24 at 1pm, I'll be on Writestream.com radio.
Debbie: Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore?
Linda: I absolutely love poking around in John K. King Books on Woodward Avenue. It's a treasure trove of dusty relics and charming old books. I'll tell you a secret: I also make purses out of old books. It's a great way to recycle books that are falling apart. Book lovers, have no fear, I rebind or recycle the texts; nothing is lost. I sell them on Etsy. [Ed. note, which is to say, a word from Debbie: I have one of these! Love it. Now back to Linda....] I can't wait to make a clutch from my own book, but I've been busy promoting In the Context of Love and writing new work.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Linda: I love my hometown of Rochester. We've got a beautiful park, terrific bistros, several 5-star restaurants and all kinds of shopping, from antiques to skateboards. We have great events like art shows, car shows, Dancing in the Streets, gallery walks, Girls Night Out, Rochester Posed, and the Big Bright Light Show at Christmas. We also host the second largest Christmas parade in the state.
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Linda: I get really cranky if I have to miss the Arts and Apples Festival. Who can resist homemade apple pie and fabulous artwork?
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Linda: Yes! Anyone who reads fiction should know about critically acclaimed authors Bonnie Jo Campbell and Lev Raphael. If you enjoy poetry, check out Detroit poetry guru M. L. Liebler, Dr. Terry Blackhawk, who founded InsideOut Literary Arts Project where professional writers teach creative writing in city schools, and Diane DeCillis whose poetry collection Strings Attached won a Michigan Notable Book Award.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Linda: Many people would be surprised to know that Michigan and the metro Detroit area has a vibrant literary community with writers of all genres and forms. We're like a tribe. There are excellent classes, readings, workshops and conferences here. Detroit is also home to Springfed Arts, Detroit Working Writers, and Rochester Writers.
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?
Linda: Michiganian sounds a bit hoity-toity, but Michigander reminds me of a goose. I don't know. I'm from Michigan. I live in a mitten.
My website is http://lindaksienkiewicz.com/ and the buy link for my book on Amazon is http://www.amazon.com/Context-Love-Linda-K-Sienkiewicz/dp/1941523048/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434405246&sr=8-1&keywords=linda+k+Sienkiewicz
Debbie: Linda, thank you for joining us today for Michigander/Mitten Monday!