Flashback to 1980: Enid comes of age in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where there isn't much to do in the summer or any other time of year for a twelve-year-old girl. Her summer education includes listening to the "drunken pontificators" lecture in the coffee shop about what not to do as she joins her dad at the local table for their morning refueling. Her mother and grandmother provide conflicting advice on maturing gracefully and younger sister Chloe dances her way through the days, oblivious of Enid's struggle to define herself. Enid learns life can't be distilled into mere words and small towns sometimes offer the widest view of humanity.
————————————–What inspired you to write this book?This was my second book, but it was my first fiction book. Several scenes had already formed in my mind, ready to write, by the time I decided to write this book. First, I created a workbook for the characters and other information contained in the book. I wrote a loose outline, then wrote the entire manuscript from beginning to end, inventing peripheral characters as I went. Part of the inspiration for this book came form my own childhood—I was raised in De Tour Village, the setting I used in the story. Growing up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a unique experience; we are geographically isolated, and our town has a population of just over 300 people. The Internet has shrunk the world down to a more manageable level, but in 1980, when the book takes place, we were virtually cut off from the world.
Also, I’ve always wanted to write a book about a girl named Enid. It’s a name you don’t hear every day.
It’s kind of like Red Green meets Mayberry RFD, and everyone should experience that at least once in their lives.
How was this book received in your town?
Very positively! My favorite remark from a local who read the book is, “I can’t tell who any of the characters are, but they’re all somehow familiar to me.”
One day, I was walking across the main street in town toward the sports shop, and someone (the owner!) was sitting on the front porch of the store reading…my book! It was so exciting to see someone enjoying the book I wrote.
Do you follow a specific writing routine?
No. I read lots of books about writing, and many of them extoll the virtues of a routine, but I am incapable of maintaining a routine for longer than three days in a row. I do write every day, but it might be in the morning, afternoon or evening, depending on my schedule for that day. I work full-time as a field engineer for an electric utility, and the writing has to fit around those hours.
Usually I write on my macbook, using Scrivener, but if I have an unplanned ten minutes or so, I’ll write with a pen and paper. If I don’t have any writing materials, I’ll make a note on my phone. Anything to capture the words.
What’s your favorite scene in the book?
The book is designed to showcase roughly one calendar year in a small UP town. We advertise our four seasons and the various activities we do to enjoy them, but the truth is, we have five seasons: spring, summer, fall, deer season, and winter. My favorite scene in the book is the one that features deer season and the various preparations the local hunters make. This particular season really highlights our UP culture, and one of my goals for this book was to communicate our culture to the rest of the world. Yoopers are widely known for displaying redneck fashion and features, which camouflage their big hearts. It’s this contradictory nature I wanted to highlight.
If you haven’t visited the UP yet, it’s worth the trip. We have more trees than people, more peace than drama, and more bars than restaurants. And very weak cell phone signal. We are truly remote!