Monday, December 1, 2014

Michigander Monday: Julie Lawson Timmer

I'm pleased to welcome Julie Lawson Timmer to Michigander Monday!

Julie:  Thank you for having me, Debbie!

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

Julie:  I live in Ann Arbor with my husband and our four teenagers (we’re a blended family) and two labs. I work full-time as an auto industry lawyer, and I write from 4-6 am every morning.

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

Julie:  Five Days Left tells the story of two people who have five days left with the ones they love. Mara is a Type A lawyer living in Plano, Texas, with her adopted daughter and her husband. She’s been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, and she’s considering taking her own life in five days, to spare herself and her family from the horrible future the illness will bring. Meanwhile, in Royal Oak, Michigan, Scott is a middle school basketball coach who has five days left with Curtis, the eight-year-old boy who’s been living with Scott and his wife for the past year while Curtis’s mother is in jail. Scott and Mara are both members of an anonymous Internet parenting forum, and they have become friends, even though they don’t know each other’s names. The book explores the limits of human endurance, the things we do for love and the friendships that sustain us.

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Julie:  Yes! I recently sold my second book, Untethered, to Putnam, and it’s currently scheduled for publication in 2016. It touches on step parenting, foster care, adoption and the question of what makes a family. Between working on edits for that book, I've been drafting a third and outlining a fourth. I need more hours in the day!

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Julie:  With the holidays coming up, I don’t have anything big scheduled. Writers might want to come to a panel I’m doing with Lori Nelson Spielman at Write on the Red Cedar on January 16/17, in Lansing. For readers, my next scheduled Michigan appearance isn't until April. But I’d love to see Michigan readers there! I’ll be at the Spring Lake Distric Library on Thursday, April 16 at 7 pm. I’m also very happy to attend book club meetings via Skype, so if anyone’s book club has plans to discuss Five Days Left, they should feel free to contact me via my website ( and set that up. I love talking to readers.

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?

Julie:  Oh boy--impossible to pick a single bookstore. We are lucky to have so many terrific ones in Michigan, and I’ve been so fortunate to spend time in each, and to get to know their terrific owners and staff. I love Saturn Booksellers in Gaylord, as well as Literati and Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor and Horizon Books in Traverse City. My family has spent countless hours in the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library, and it will always be one of my favorite places in town.

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Julie:  We have a cottage on a small, no-motor lake in Gladwin county and it’s the most peaceful place in the world. We have made many wonderful family memories there. I also love Ann Arbor and can’t imagine ever living anyplace else. (Except in winter, when I can quite easily imagine living on Maui!)

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

Julie:  I love the Ann Arbor Art Fair. Our family also loves attending Michigan football and basketball games. The former have been a little tougher to take this year, though!

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

Julie:  As a result of writing Five Days Left, I have become friends with two lovely, talented Michigan authors--Camille Noe Pagan of Ann Arbor and Lori Nelson Spielman of Lansing. They both have one book out already (The Art of Forgetting for Camille and The Life List for Lori) and they each have a second coming soon (Sweet Forgiveness by Lori, coming June 2015).

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

Julie:  Well, I recently learned that non-Michiganders are under the incorrect impression that Big Boy is a thing of the past. So, I’d like to announce: we still have Big Boys here, and many of them! I’ve actually never been to one, but I love seeing the cute little guy rotating on the top of the restaurant signs in almost every town we drive past on I-75.

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?

Julie:  I’m a Michigander.

Debbie:  Julie, we'll add you to the Michigander column.  Thank you so much for joining us today for Michigander Monday!

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