Linda’s new book, The Lake Michigan Mermaid, is reviewed in NewPages which is a major online source for book reviews, publishing, and the literary world.
The Lake Michigan Mermaid, co-authored by Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen, is selected as one of the top ten books by Michigan authors for Summer, 2018.
Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen were featured in the “Authors Next Door” segment of the National Writers Series (NWS) about their book, “The Lake Michigan Mermaid“.
Below is a short excerpt of the NWS’s article:
Mermaids don’t exist. It’s a dull, disheartening truth that we all probably accepted in childhood, despite Disney’s best efforts. But what if they did? Seated next to each other at a reading of Alison Swan’s Fresh Water anthology more than a decade ago, local authors Anne-Marie Oomen and Linda Nemec Foster found themselves asking this very question. Ten-odd years, countless emails, and one fateful weekend together in a motel on Lake Michigan later, their debut collaborative, The Lake Michigan Mermaid, is no longer just an exciting “what if”: as of this past March, it’s bound in hardcover.
At the surface, the book tells the story of Lyk — Lykretia, a name from Oomen’s imagination, meaning “joy” — an only child living on the shores of Lake Michigan, and the connection she develops with the mermaid who shares her beach. But the story itself isn’t the first thing we notice; in fact, we don’t really discover the storyline until we’re three or four pages in. This is because the book is structured as an expertly interwoven series of poems. According to Oomen, the call-and-response structure of the book was something the two women sought from the start: “Driving home from Saugatuck that night, I called [Foster], and said, “I think we should do something with this mermaid idea. I think there’s something there.” The first thing Linda said to me was, “I want to be the mermaid!” My poems often have a narrative impulse; [Linda’s] are very lyric. I was almost from the beginning seeking some kind of very loose storyline. So right away, there were two voices, and we would be personas, not ourselves. We agreed quickly that we’d write very small, back-and-forth pieces month to month, from time to time, and we both agreed we’d keep it a secret……”
~ (National Writers Series, 2018)
Linda and co-author Anne-Marie Oomen were interviewed on the radio talk show, Between the Lines, by Zinta Aistars on WMUK (102.1 FM), the NPR affiliate in Southwest Michigan on the campus of Western Michigan University on March 16, 2018. The interview focused on their new book, The Lake Michigan Mermaid (WSU Press, 2018).
This interview was aired on May 29, 2018 at 7:50 a.m., 11:50 a.m., and 4:20 p.m.
Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen are interviewed by Cynthia Canty for Michigan Public Radio’s Stateside program. They discuss the creative process involved with writing their book, The Lake Michigan Mermaid.
This interview was broadcasted on May 21st, 2018 and aired on the following radio channels: 91.7 FM Ann Arbor/Detroit, 104.1 FM West Michigan, 91.1 FM Flint.
Michigan Public Radio is a NPR affiliate.
On Friday, April 20, 8:30 a.m., Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen appeared on Upfront Fridays at Traverse City’s Horizon Bookstore, Upnorth Media, channel 189 (public access channel).
Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen are interviewed on WGVU (the NPR affiliate in Grand Rapids on the campus of Grand Valley State University) on April 2 (10:15-10:30 AM) by Shelley Irwin for the Morning Show.
Poets Anne-Marie Oomen and Linda Nemec Foster will read from their new book, The Lake Michigan Mermaid, at a fundraiser for FLOW on Thursday, April 19.
The Lake Michigan Mermaid: Co-Authors Discuss Their New Work
Published by Wayne State University Press for the Made in Michigan series, The Lake Michigan Mermaid tells in poetry the story of a troubled young girl who seeks a mythical creature, the true spirit of the lake, a beautiful mermaid that she believes lives in Lake Michigan waters. The Lake Michigan Mermaid is a tale of friendship, redemption, and the life-giving power of water.
At the event, the poets will read poems interspersed with the story-of-the story: how the book came to be.
For more information about the book, click here.
FLOW: How did this project begin? How long have you been talking about it?
Linda Nemec Foster (LNF): This project began as a result of both of us being published in an anthology of women writing on the Great Lakes titled, Fresh Water (edited by Alison Swan and published by Michigan State University Press). In 2008, we were invited to give a reading at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts for the anthology (along with some of the other contributors) and the idea for the poetry sequence was planted that night. Actually, we weren’t talking about it for long before we started writing the poems.
Anne-Marie Oomen (AMO): As Linda said, the idea hatched the night of that reading over ten years ago–you’ll hear about that story when you come to our presentation–springing from a single mysterious remark by a key person among the writers. Writers never know exactly where or when ideas will rise up and make demands, but I think our participation in that rich lake of words–all those stories inspired by the Great Lakes–created the conditions for the idea to flourish.
FLOW: What inspired the mermaid motif? And the connection to a girl?
LNF: At the reading (that I described above), someone said it was too bad there were no Lake Michigan mermaids. Both Anne-Marie and I were intrigued by the question. Later that night we had the first of many discussions about creating a poetry sequence that would weave a contemporary fairy tale involving a mermaid, a young girl, and their connections to Lake Michigan.
AMO: I had a new cell phone, and I was driving home late at night, sleepy and a little dreamy with ideas. I called first. Linda answered immediately. Call and response. The pattern was set. You’ll see when you read the book because the two voices go back and forth. (Side note: During later research, we found that among the native peoples of the Great Lakes, there are also representations of mermaids and mermen. Our mermaid is not necessarily inspired by those, but we found it reassuring to learn that fresh water mermaid tales do exist.)
To continue reading the full interview, please click here.
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