Michele Olson - Fun, Laughter, Tears and Love
A pursuer of authentic faith, Michele loves telling stories that take a deeper look at how faith can be a part of every moment. She also enjoys sharing life lessons from a storied career, and life as a wife, mother, and grandmother. Whether doing voice work around the country (you may know her voice), writing novels, or working on more art, she loves a good laugh! Fans will love this series, as will lovers of Mackinac Island and faith-filled fun! As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Being Ethel.
Please give us a short introduction to what Being Ethel is about.
We all love to think we are Lucy, but in reality, we are mostly all Ethel, and that’s okay! Being Ethel (In a world that loves Lucy) follows the story of Piper Penn from San Francisco to an unexpected inheritance in a tiny Midwest island…Mackinac Island in 1979. Snarky, wounded, and full of mistrust, she learns life lessons from an I Love Lucy Loving nun she meets…and love is in the air with the handsome groundskeeper where she is staying at the Grand Hotel. They both get jobs as extras in the filming of the 1979 classic Somewhere in Time. Mystery, mayhem, and miracles happen as she encounters her feelings about her past and what the future holds.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
I love Mackinac Island- I’ve been going there for over 35 years, it’s about five hours from my home in Green Bay, WI. I Love Lucy, and old movies and TV shows…plus old TV shows with nuns…so all of that came together in a mystery…set at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. There are over 25 references to old movies in the story.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’ve been a marketing advertising writer for over 40 years, so I still do that on the side, I do professional voicework around the country, including commercials and voice for documentaries or anything, like cruise ship announcements! People can hear more of my voice work and see my art also at my website www.LakeGirlPublishing.com/voicepro. It’s also where you’ll learn about my books.
Why 1979? What fascinates you about this time period?
It’s a mystery, and I wanted a time period before cell phones. Cell phones make mysteries much easier to solve! Also, they were filming, in real life, Somewhere in Time with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve, and that plays into the story. So that’s where I started my series. Being Ethel (In a world that loves Lucy) takes place in 1979, Being Dorothy (In a world longing for home) in 1980, Being Alice (In a world lost in the looking glass) in 1981, and Being Wendy (In a world afraid to grow up) in 1982. I’m working on Being Nancy (In a world lost in mystery) and that’s 1983. Piper Penn is the recurring character in each story and you see her life one year later, but she moves more the background as someone else visiting the island moves to the forefront. Each books stand alone, but I like to say they are richer if you read them in order.
Interesting cover, please tell us more about how it came about.
Piper Penn is a watercolor artist…and I’m a watercolor artist. So I paint scenes from Mackinac Island to go on all my covers. Each of the icons also points to something in the story. The scene from Being Ethel is of the very famous in the region …Round Island Lighthouse.
Readers say that they found the characters to be very relatable. How did you pull this off?
I write in firs-person…which is hard for some people at first. But first-person really allows you to get in the main characters inner thoughts. In fact, it’s challenging, because I can’t put anything in there that the main character didn’t see first hand or hear about…it makes for a certain intimacy with the reader.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
I have to do the cover first! I started writing Being Nancy, and I was struggling…then I realized why…I didn’t have the cover done yet! So I do the cover way before the book is written.
Do you have any interesting writing habits?
I’m what’s called a “Panster”, meaning, I don’t do outlines, or most of the time even know what’s going to happen before it jumps on the page and surprises me, too! I think after writing in so many mediums other than novels for over forty years, that just rubbed off into intuitively knowing what to do next. I like to keep it moving and keep that cliff hanger at the end of every chapter. That’s how we are trained to stay interested in a book these days.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
All my books are free in Kindle Unlimited, the Ebook is exclusively on Amazon, and on sale till the end of the month, paperbacks are available everywhere (sometimes you have to request them), and also all libraries can bring in my books. Being Ethel is also available as an audiobook. They are top sellers on Mackinac Island, and I try to get there every year to sign books at the Island Bookstore.
I have a website www.LakeGirlPublishing.com where you can learn more about the company, my novels, my non-fiction on 5 Easy Steps to a Happy Birthday, so no adults ever has a ho-hum birthday ever again, my art, speaking, voice work, and sketchnoting and doodling. One of my passions is that absolutely everyone has some artistic talent, but somewhere, usually as a child, someone told them they didn’t and they stopped drawing for fun. I teach people how to find that again, and enjoy their gifts.
All of that is reflected, along with my encouragement to live a life of authentic faith, on my website and my social media. www.Facebook.com/LakeGirlPublishing www.Instagram.com/LakeGirlPublishing My twitter handle is : www.twitter.com/modawnwriter and I’m also on Linked in www.Linkedin.com/in/lakegirlpublishing I love to hear from readers…my email is [email protected]
When Piper Penn escapes to Mackinac Island, the mysterious accusations and headstrong residents like the Grand Hotel groundskeeper send her into a tailspin. Friendship with a quirky, I Love Lucy-loving nun challenges her embittered look at life and faith. Can Piper survive the baffling attempts to derail her island inheritance, or has she fallen for a well-planned ruse while falling in love?