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Conversations with Michele Olson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michele Olson. 

Hi Michele, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Michigan has such a special place in my heart, including Mackinac Island and Traverse City area. I’ve been a corporate and commercial/media writer for over forty years. I always knew that when the time allowed and was right, I was going to write novels – and they would take place in Michigan, starting on Mackinac Island. In 2019, I was able to accomplish the goal of publishing my first novel- Being Ethel (In a world that loves Lucy). It hit right at the same time as covid which put a delay on many plans to visit Michigan areas to promote it. Since that time Being Dorothy (In a world longing for home) and Being Alice (In a world lost in the looking glass) have also found their way onto shelves in Michigan bookstores and libraries, including The Island Bookstore on Mackinac Island where my novels are top sellers. Joining the series this fall will be: Being Wendy (In a world afraid to grow up). I like to think I’ve done my small part to bring tourists to Michigan, as I hear from many readers who now want to visit! I’ve also written a nonfiction called 5 Easy Steps to a Happy Birthday! so no adult ever has to have a ho-hum birthday ever again on their terms. I love being a wife, a mom, a “Gee Gee,” along with being an artist, speaker, and voice-over artist for commercials around the country. All blessings, but there is a special smile on my face when I hear from a reader who has opened their hearts to the magic of Michigan through the power of story. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Being an author is one of those things that fall in the category of “If I knew it was going to be that hard, I might have skipped it, “…like the trials and joys of anything worth doing. For authors today, there is an emphasis on having a platform, including social media. Marketing is very time-consuming and takes away from doing what I love, the writing. I also love connecting with readers, but marketing has to be done. That’s a constant struggle as any author will tell you. There is so much to learn about being a good writer, and that’s one thing. Then…there’s the business of being an author, and it is a business. I’m going to teach a class this fall that gives a big overview picture of what you are getting into when you want to be on a bookshelf. It’s the type of class I would have loved to attend before I began this journey. You have to be a “wise” learner along the way because as in any business, there are scams and ways that people are happy to take your money with very little reward. Smooth roads are easy to travel, but you never get to see the real scenery. So, being an author is most certainly a “bumpy” road, but one filled with lessons and rewards along the way. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I work under a creative imprint called Lake Girl Publishing. While “publishing” may denote books, my creative imprint is just that…all things creative! They all flow together. I’m a better voice artist because I’m a writer. I’m a better writer because I’m an artist and have branched into intentional doodling and sketchnoting. I’m a better speaker because I can incorporate sketchnoting into my presentation. So, my specialty is – being creative in all things. 

I’m most proud of working under this imprint which I started with my husband and doing most of these things professionally after the age of 60. Often when people are in the heat of raising families, etc., there is simply not time to pursue everything. All those years were precious, and I wouldn’t change them. They all led into making me the author, artist, speaker, and voice pro I am today. Along with doing all these things, I have an intense passion to help everyone find their creativity. Everyone is creative! The problem comes when somewhere along the way, we started listening to our “inner critics” instead of enjoying the play of creativity. I am on a mission to help anyone who is interested in killing their inner critic and exploring how creative they really are. 

Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
I’d like to encourage everyone to open up to their own unique creativity. I had a moment when I was starting to work on Being Ethel (In a world that loves Lucy) when I walked into a bookstore and looked around and sighed. “Does the world really need another book?” was what I was thinking. We can think the same way about a painting, a gift, a smile. But the truth is, there is only one you. Only you can say something exactly the way it would come from you, in whatever art form you choose to express yourself. This is your time. This is your day. Be creatively YOU! 

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Michele Olson

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