Michele Olson is an author, voice pro, artist, and speaker. She loves being a wife, mother, and grandmother. Quirky characters and a good laugh always make her smile.
Q: I love your writing journey and think it will encourage readers. Would you share how you started writing and where you are today?
A: Thank you! I graduated from high school in 1974 from a small town in Wisconsin. Got on a Greyhound bus and headed to Milwaukee with a friend, like Laverne and Shirley! (I’m dating myself) I went to job service and got my first job as a copywriter at WISN TV in Milwaukee. That’s a “God thing” because that doesn’t happen. I wrote the announcements for the on-air announcer, which was the norm in those days. That started me on a path to writing in media through several TV stations, then to radio stations where I started jumping on air to help out, which led to being a DJ who spun records. I was also a copywriter at the same time.
Through the years, internet came along and I wrote websites along with any type of media for business like brochures, newsletters, videos- everything. As new needs came along, like newsletters, I wrote that too. Through 40 plus years of business writing, I had in the back of my mind to write books, thinking more non-fiction. But then I was intrigued by the idea of writing fiction. That happened around 2015 and I started reading and learning about that path. I started many books along the way, but it was taking a course with mentor Jerry Jenkins (writer of the Left Behind series and many top selling novels) with a deadline that promised a meet-up in Nashville for his students who finished their novels that got me on track to write and finish Being Ethel (In a world that loves Lucy), my first novel in my series of Mackinac Island stories. That’s a quick summary of 40 plus years! Now our mission is to Fuel Faith with Fiction.
Q: I love that story. Wow. Your voice is wonderful. Tell me a little about how you got started doing professional voice work. What has been your favorite projects that you’ve voiced?
A: I love doing voice work, and I loved my time as a DJ on the radio back in the 70’s, before the internet and everything became computerized. Those were the fun days like WKRP in Cincinnati (I love sitcoms!) I started out as a copywriter for commercials, and then you get called in to do a voice for a commercial. We did lots of sketch type commercials in those days which was a blast. That led to being a DJ. That led to doing voice work for advertising agencies.
Life was so different before the internet. In order to do anything outside of my local area, it would mean driving for hours for a 30 sec. commercial. Once the internet hit, it became possible to do commercials or voice work around the world. I have done commercials, cruise ship announcements, the voice in museum exhibits. I’ve been the voice telling you, you have the wrong number…all kinds of interesting things. I did the voice for Granny Crood in the game version for the makers of Angry Birds and some small on the phone part for films. I did the audio for my first book with Being Ethel, but I couldn’t believe how much work it was to do an audiobook. Commercials are easier. I continue to do voicework and you can hear a sample at my website at LakeGirlPublishing.com
Q: Can you share a little about your books, Being Ethel (In a world that loves Lucy) and Being Dorothy (In a world longing for home)? Of everything you’ve written so far, what is your favorite piece and why?
A: I love Mackinac Island and have been visiting this gem in the Straits of Mackinac where no cars have been allowed for over 30 years. There is a famous hotel there called The Grand Hotel which has one of the longest porches in the world filled with white wicker rocking chairs overlooking the area where there is the magnificent Mackinac Bridge, where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron. That’s where I wanted to set my stories, which have the elements of mystery, romance, friendship, and faith.
I also love the movie Somewhere in Time, which was filmed on the island in 1979. I wanted my main character, Piper Penn, to be an extra in the movie. I also love an era when there were no cell phones! So, Being Ethel (In a world that loves Lucy) is my first book baby, and very special in this journey. The series continues to follow what happens to Piper Penn as she meets new visitors on Mackinac Island. Being Dorothy (In a world longing for home) has a James Bond feel to it. All my books have pieces of the quirky things I love and enjoy. Old Hollywood movies, Lucy, Wizard of Oz, Tv shows, and the importance of finding true faith in a life. I’m working now on the third book – Being Alice (In a world lost in the looking glass).
Q: Among the many gifts you have, such as writing, voice, art. Can you share about your watercolors and which one of these talents are your greatest passion?
A: They all come together like a tapestry in using the creative gifts God has given me to point people to him. I love creativity in any shape or form, and I also love the author of all creativity- God! I’m a dabbler. I don’t worry if I’m really good at something, I approach it from the pure fun of trying it. If people seem to like it, that’s icing on the cake, but I have fun in the process. Don’t be afraid to dive into anything creative. Only you will have the exact outcome you will have. That makes you, doing you, really important! The postcard paintings on the covers of my novels are my artwork of Mackinac Island. I love being able to incorporate the two fields of creativity.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from your writing?
A: As a marketing professional, I look at what is selling, what people are excited about. That the way of thinking I have about anything I do. When it came to authoring novels that would have an authentic search for faith, I decided I needed to write a story that showed the importance of faith in a life -even it if wasn’t going to be a big seller or limited my market. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that people who don’t dwell in faith have loved and appreciated the books. They see that everything in the story is a part of the character’s life and questions that come about in an entertaining manner. I received a line in a review recently that made me smile. The reader said: “Michele showed me a few things I hadn't thought about in this book and I'm sure you'll see them too!! You cannot let this book pass you by!! Great story!!” That makes my heart sing, because that’s exactly what I wanted to do through story: to say, have you considered this?
Q: The publishing journey is unpredictable, but if you could write your own publishing story, what would be the next step for you?
A: I’m an independent published author as opposed to traditionally published with another company. My husband and I started Lake Girl Publishing to publish my books. It’s hard to “be found” by new readers. Most people talk about the same 15 authors, and don’t realize there are hundreds, if not thousands, of independent authors with remarkable stories. I would love to be found by people and have them spread the word, and as an “influencer”, let more people know about my stories and the stories of independent authors. Unless you have tons of money to pour into marketing, it’s difficult. I really appreciate blogs and websites like yours that take the time to tell authors’ stories; it really matters!
Q: If there’s anything else you’d like to share, please do so.
A: I love to connect with readers. I’m on all the social media sites and my eBooks are free for anyone in Kindle Unlimited. They are also available for purchase. Being Ethel (In a world that loves Lucy) is available everywhere in paperback and audiobook. If your local bookstore doesn’t have my books, ask them to bring them in. Also, ask your library to bring in books you like. That’s often how independent books get into libraries. Being Dorothy (In a world longing for home) is available all the same ways, except audiobook. If you or someone you know is having a ho-hum birthday as an adult, I’ve written a fun little nonfiction book. No adult ever has to have an unhappy birthday ever again. They can have one on their terms: 5 Easy Steps to a Happy Birthday! Anyone can start the five steps right away no matter when their birthday falls, it works!
Being Dorothy (In a world longing for home)
1980 has rattled Dorothy Cooper’s world. Disillusioned, she drops off the grid after more than a decade of dedication to The Service, a highly secretive organization. An expert at hiding, being found in less than a year reinforces Dorothy’s fear that she is losing her edge. Escaping to a remote area from her long-ago past along with a fellow Service insider, they both assume new identities on a tiny Michigan island in the Straits of Mackinac. Taking up residence in the opulent Grand Hotel, Dorothy questions their relationship and wonders if anyone can be trusted after what she’s seen. Trying to remain in the shadows, loneliness draws her into a friendship at a new knitting and craft shop, The Creative Lilac. The camaraderie and ambiance the owners and frequent visitors enjoy disrupts her concept of marriage, family, and faith. Can Dorothy find her long-lost feelings of love before the enemies of The Service find her? Or has her past destined her to an endless life-on-the-run, never allowing her to know the happiness of home?
"What happens when you combine a love of Lucy, Nora Ephron, Old Hollywood, and the desire for true faith? You embark on an unforgettable 1979journey to magical, Mackinac Island."- Author, Michele Olson, Being Ethel (In a world that loves Lucy)
Being Ethel (In a world that loves Lucy)
1979 is getting on Piper Penn nerves. Struggling to survive past tragedies, she finds comfort in Old Hollywood movies in her native San Francisco. Seeing no reason to adhere to man-made rules after her first-hand look at the ultimate in hypocrisy, Piper does what she wants, and trouble follows.
An unexpected inheritance on a tiny Midwest island in the Straits of Mackinac provides an escape. The mandated stay at the island glorious Grand Hotel gives her spirits a much-needed boost, especially when she catches the eye of a handsome groundskeeper. Taking part as an extra during the filming of the island movie Somewhere in Time adds to her excitement about this turn in her life.
When mysterious accusations and headstrong residents send her into a tailspin, she finds friendship from a quirky, I Love Lucy loving nun who challenges her embittered look at life and faith. Can Piper survive the baffling attempts to derail her inheritance before it too late or has she fallen for a well-planned ruse while falling in love?
Go to LakeGirlPublising.com for more information and to purchase
Connect with Michele at: