Monday, June 30, 2014

Michigander Monday: Rosemary Van Deuren

I'm very pleased to welcome the fabulous Rosemary Van Deuren to Michigander Monday!

Debbie:  Rosemary, please tell us a little about yourself.

Rosemary:  I am a novelist, essayist, interviewer, and press writer. I wrote the arts and entertainment column "Flipside" for the former webzine, which was chosen by the Writer's Guild of America West for their Hotlist: A Guide to the Web's Most Cutting Edge New Media Content.

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about your book.

Rosemary:  My debut novel Basajaun is a young adult adventure fantasy about a twelve year-old girl who's trying to rescue a warren of mystical rabbits from a dark and sinister force. Some people have called it "Watership Down meets Little Red Riding Hood," or, "The Golden Compass meets The Velveteen Rabbit," but with an approach that's completely new. I wanted to create the kind of story that would have resonated with me when I was twelve, so it's a little bit scary, a little bit contemplative, and a little bit magical -- just how I liked my books when I was a kid. The narrative was written for ages ten and up, but honestly, I have as many adult readers now as younger ones!

A Basajaun book trailer is available for viewing at

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Rosemary:  I've just signed with the Florida merchandise company District Lines to do Basajaun t-shirts, and I'm super pumped about that. Everything is shaping up terrific, and the DL folks are helping me get ready for the launch ... soon!

I've also recently conducted an in-depth guest-interview with musician and engineer Stephen Linsley for the UK / US music website Louder Than War. It's a beautiful interview. Stephen was also the bassist for The Jim Carroll Band, and he offers such an insightful and nuanced account of his experiences in the music world, and how they've impacted his life.

As for the long haul, I'm working on my next novel -- something completely different from Basajaun, which has been a rewarding challenge so far. I'm posting snippets from the new manuscript online, and you can find those on the writing page of my website.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Rosemary:  I just got back from the Ann Arbor Book Festival Street Fair. It was a great time! I got to read at their open-air children's and young adult event. Also coming up in Ann Arbor, I'll be at the Kerrytown Bookfest on September 7th (as will a certain Pout-Pout Fish author, I hear!).

Debbie:  Looking forward to it!!  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore?

Rosemary:  I always find something at the Dawn Treader Book Shop in Ann Arbor. And John K. King Books in Detroit was staggering back when I went there -- the building is five stories high! Curious Book Shop in East Lansing is a lot of fun too. Ray Walsh, the store owner, reviewed Basajaun for his column in The Lansing State Journal newspaper. He's also part of the Michigan Antiquarian Book and Paper Show that runs bi-annually in Lansing. If you want to cast your peepers over a signed first edition of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood in a locked plexiglass case, that's the place to do it!

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Rosemary:  I love The Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary. I'm a companion rabbit owner, and the GLRS does wonderful work. Their non-profit farm property in Monroe, Michigan is equipped to lovingly house fifty or so rescued, adoptable rabbits and a handful of potbellied pigs. When people are looking to add a pet rabbit to their home, I always send them to The Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary.

Debbie:  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Rosemary:  The Bat Zone tours at the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills are pretty rad. Their educators conduct tours daily in the summer and on weekends the rest of the year. It's a great way for children (and adults!) to familiarize themselves first-hand with bats and other nocturnal creatures, like owls and sloths. The Bat Zone facility is also the headquarters for the Organization for Bat Conservation. Jannell Cannon, the author of Stellaluna, is affiliated with the OBC.

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Rosemary:  There is so much talent here in the state, I wouldn't want to risk leaving anyone out! But Michigan boasts a roster of acclaimed individuals, spanning back years. Iggy Pop was born in Muskegon and grew up in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. Rosa Parks wrote her autobiography in Detroit and retired there. And Robert Frost held a fellowship teaching post at the University of Michigan in the twenties. Can you imagine?

Debbie:  Quite amazing!  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Rosemary:  We have marvelous parks here. They are awesome. The trees and vegetation in this part of the country are lovely, and there's a bounty of nature centers and deep, wooded trails that are open to the public. All my city-mouse friends look forward to the forest escape when they visit me here. I'm the lucky one who has access to it whenever I want!

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?

Rosemary:  I grew up in Wisconsin -- I've heard the term "Wisconsinites." [laughs] "Michigander" rolls off the tongue more easily than Michiganian, I think. Also, then you can say, "What's good for the Mittengoose is good for the Michigander."

Debbie:  Love it!  We'll add you to the Michigander column.  Rosemary, thank you so much for being here today for Michigander Monday!

1 comment:

Teresa Robeson said...

"it's a little bit scary, a little bit contemplative, and a little bit magical"...sounds just like the sort of book I'd want my kids (and me!) to read. :)