Monday, December 19, 2016

Michigander Monday: Jodi McKay

I'm pleased to welcome Jodi McKay to Michigander Monday!

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

Jodi:  The first thing that comes to mind is that I am horrible at talking about myself, but I also like a good challenge so let’s see what happens here.

On a personal level: I live in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan with my husband, son, and the dynamic duo, Ralph and Alby (dog and cat bff’s). I received a master’s in Developmental Psychology from Florida Atlantic University and worked within that field for a short time before moving back to Michigan. I am a proud introvert who enjoys a quiet day, curled up with a good book in a pair of cozy pajamas.

As a writer:  I was an avid reader as a child and started writing my own stories when I was 8 years old. Writing and drawing were always my “go to” and I found ways to incorporate that creativity into different areas of my life. I started writing for children full time when my son started kindergarten and I had a little more time on my hands to really learn the craft. Now I am an active member of SCBWI and several other writing and critique groups which has been instrumental in my development as a writer.

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

Jodi:  Thanks! Where Are the Words? was born from a rather rough case of writer’s block. It was probably after the tenth time of me asking myself, “Why can’t I find the words?” that it finally hit me to write about just that, finding the words for a story. I knew that I needed a fresh spin on that concept as there are already a few books available on writing or telling stories, so I decided to use a different set of characters. Anthropomorphized punctuation marks was the twist that I was looking for which also established an avenue for learning. The punctuation marks work together to find the words for their story all while speaking as their actual punctuation roles dictate. My hope is that this will create a fun way for kids to learn about punctuation.

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Jodi:  I have several books that are in a revision rotation and a handful of more ideas spinning around inside my head. I am enjoying the process of working on these manuscripts, especially with my agent who is very editorial and offers great insight into the craft of building a good book. I can say that I have a couple of favorites so fingers crossed that they find a home!

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Jodi:  I am working on my book tour now and am happy to announce that my book launch will start at Pages Bookshop in Detroit on January 7th. I will also be at Hopscotch Kids in Tecumseh, MI in January so keep an eye out for that event date. I am very excited for both and have plenty of fun planned so please join me!

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore?

Jodi:  I have to say that I am a big fan of Pages Bookshop. It’s only been there for a year and a half, but it already has that wonderful book smell that soaks into everything and makes you feel immediately at home when you walk through the door. The owner, Susan Murphy is so welcoming and generous with her book knowledge, I could sit and chat with her for hours, although that would take away from my reading. Does it get any better than that? Yes! There is also a friendly feline who purr-uses the store offering her own opinion on books. It’s a delightful store, you have to go!

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

Jodi:  Michigan is a vacation destination! There are incredible beaches, stunning cities, charming towns, and a natural beauty that will leave you inspired. I would also like to add that Detroit is not scary. We lived in Detroit for 5 years and were able to walk down the street without any issues. The resurgence the city is experiencing is exciting and worth checking out.

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?

Jodi:  Ha! That’s funny! I am and forever will be a Michigander.

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