The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Annemarie Schiavi Pedersen

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature novelist Annemarie Schiavi Pedersen.

When did you first start writing?

I studied journalism and history at The University of Michigan and have worked as a reporter and editor the majority of my life. But as much as I enjoyed journalism, I always had a burning desire to write a novel. After my parents died within less than a year of each other, I realized that life is short and that a dream deferred can die.

So, I set aside journalism, and for ten years worked hard and struggled to find success as a fiction writer. Grateful it came.

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?

Northville Poet Kathleen Ripley Leo, who has published fifteen collections of poems, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I took a novel writing class at Schoolcraft College from her about a decade ago, and we became fast friends. I’ve learned so much from her.

Rejection is inevitable. Use it to get better.

Are you a member of any local or regional arts groups?

I am a member of Detroit Working Writers.

Can you describe something you’ve created that is particularly meaningful to you?

My novel Celestina’s Burnings. The best part of writing and getting this book published is giving an everyday baker girl a voice. Celestina pushes against the most powerful people and ideas of Western Civilization. I love how she adapts. And in the end, with a little help from her friends, she just might get the better of them all.

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” —Toni Morrison

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger writers?

Rejection is inevitable. Use it to get better. Study, learn, and experiment with scene and structure. Read books about writing and attend writer’s conferences. At the end, with lots of work, you will become the writer you dream to be.

Learn more about Annemarie Schiavi Pedersen here.

(Are you an artist or creative living in Farmington/Hills? We’d like to feature you and your work here, too. Download our questionnaire and return it to

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