I'm very pleased to welcome Shanda Trent to Michigander Monday!!
Debbie: Shanda, please tell us a little about yourself and your writing.
Shanda: I have worked with young children for over 30 years. Reading to children is the favorite part of my work. I've always been an avid reader and writer. Combine that with being "in the toddler trenches," I have had lots of experiences...and "issues," that NEED a book! So I try to fill "book-less" niches. (There's an answer to any dilemma in a book!) One of my first pieces was You Can't Bite Me, a result of my daughter's friend biting her. Uh-Oh, I'm Gonna Be Sick was inspired by a G.I. bug that swept our household. I have several other unpublished manuscripts that revolve around a city bus, noodles, holidays and the earth. Not all in the same manuscript, though that might be a fun exercise in writing!
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your book!
Shanda: Sometimes my day to day life leads to a fun-filled manuscript. Believe it or not, my just published book Farmers' Market Day started out as a grocery list! My inner storyteller quickly told me that the grocery store wouldn't be nearly as much fun as a Farmers' Market. As both a preschool teacher and mother, we visited the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market often, stocking up on fresh produce, delicious baked goods, and great gifts. And the people-watching couldn't be better. I've seen many exuberant children like my character that illustrator Jane Dippold brought to life. Kudos to tiger tales books for pairing Jane & I.
In 2002, FMD took on an urgency to complete; I submitted it to an SCBWI-MI conference as my entry in a contest. I did not win the mentorship that year. But two years later I did win, with a manuscript called Tumbleweed Twins. I was incredibly lucky to work with fellow Michigan author, Rhonda Gowler-Green. My wild-west brothers evolved into Buckaroo Bandits, which I am submitting around. I have so many other Michigan authors and illustrators to thank for helping me to become a better writer. My monthly critique group includes Nancy Shaw, Hope Vestergaard, Shutta Crum, Tracy Gallup, Deb Pilutti, Lisa Wheeler and several other accomplished Michigan writers.
Debbie: Favorite bookstores and libraries and other favorite places in Michigan?
Shanda: Nicola's Books is my favorite local indy bookstore in Ann Arbor. And I can't pass up a bookstore on any trip. In Grand Marais, Michigan, there's a very cool vintage diner with an attached bookstore. You can have your cake and read about it, too! My first library experience was a bookmobile, which came to Cannonsburg once a week. So I was delighted to find a bookmobile when I moved to Ann Arbor in the mid 1980's. In fact, driving the bookmobile is my dream "retirement job." Last summer, I was in Petoskey, Michigan. While the rest of my family window-shopped, I explored the library. (This says a lot about me, as I'm beach bum at heart.) Land-locked in Ann Arbor, I drag my family to Lake Michigan every summer. My husband calls this my religious pilgrimage. My idea of heaven is a quiet beach, like PJ Hoffmaster State Park near Muskegon. Back in Petoskey, my cousin told me that if I described this library as the "Mercedes Benz" of small town libraries, the library in nearby Harbor Springs is the "Rolls-Royce."
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Shanda: I will be doing a signing / story time at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor on June 1 at 11 AM. For details, check my website (shandatrent.com). I'm currently cutting my teeth visiting school groups in teacher-friends' classrooms. I look forward to school and library visits and other events...certainly including appearances at Farmers' Markets!
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Shanda: One can vacation in Michigan for 365 days and still not finish soaking up all the wonders Michigan has to offer. Have I mentioned the beach? We are surrounded by 4 of the Great Lakes. Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes go on for majestic miles. You can't miss the tall virgin pines of Hartwick Pines State Park. Nor Tahquamenon Falls, nested deep in the woods. Michigan isn't only about "nature." The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan offer a feast of early Americana. And speaking of feasts, make sure you hit iconic Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor. And itty-bitty Pekadill's in Whitehall, Michigan. Part "old fashioned ice cream parlor," part sandwich shop, tucked into a secret garden eating area.
Debbie: That all sounds fabulous! Last question. Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders, others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a Michigander or a Michiganian?
Shanda: The only thing that would make me an even happier "Michigander" would be a couple hundred more days of sunshine.
Debbie: Hear, hear! Shanda, thank you so much for joining us today for Michigander Monday!