Featured Interview With Michelle O’Healy
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born in Mt. Vernon, Washington. Dad joined the military shortly thereafter, so we moved a lot.
My primary years were spent mostly in Germany (Dad had two tours) . We always came back to my Grandparents tulip farm, though, and I cherish many happy memories there.
I started High School in Georgia, and finished the last two years in Washington State. After college, marriage, and the birth of my first child, I returned to Europe to live in London for four years. My second child was born there. For many years she thought she was British royalty, as she was born in the same hospital as Will and Kate’s first born. She did not take the news well.
I returned to California, and homeschooled the kids on a boat for seven years. We then sailed from California to Baja, into the Sea of Cortez, and hung out in Mexico for a while. Feeling the call of the sea, we left Mexico, crossed the South Pacific, and explored French Polynesia.
I now live in the Bay Area, California with my family, looking forward to the next adventure.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
Books were a fascination for me for as long as I can remember. I was a natural storyteller, and have written in some form or another since I was a child.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
This list changes daily, as my interests are rather broad. I’m into picture books mostly these days, with things the way they’ve been this year. Picture books are a short, fun diversion. Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein are always in my top ten. A. A. Milne always puts a smile on my face.
As far as inspiration: that’s something I find all around me. Often times, my book ideas are sparked by joking around either with my kids, or my nieces and nephews. Sometimes I’m just bored and needing entertainment; like when I’m in line at the post office.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
“What Happens When Unicorns Fart?” came about as I was trying to keep my kids entertained. The story itself took about a month to write, with multiple revisions. In the final copy: A young boy, fascinated by farts, follows his curiosity. He first tries to sneakily get the unicorns to eat beans and other fart producing foods, but doesn’t have any luck. Then the unicorns capture him. The conflict is resolved with calm discussion, and the unicorns do eventually give these new foods a try. Tasting these new foods makes the unicorns fart for the first time, and it’s a lot of magical fun!
There are a number of lessons kids can learn from this engaging and entertaining story. They might be introduced to healthy foods they have never heard of or tried before. There’s cooperation, peaceful conflict resolution, the importance of listening to others, work ethic, and at the end, an illustration depicting the beauty of human diversity. All of this, in a story about unicorns farting.
I’m really proud of how this book came out. While I had written it before covid hit, the illustrations creation and publishing process happened while I was sick with an “upper respiratory viral infection” in early March, which resulted in a fair number of doctor’s appointments and a scary trip to the ER. Every time Milan sent me a new proof or illustration, it cheered me up, with a number of them making me laugh out loud. I’m so grateful to be able to offer to others something that brought me so much joy while I was ill.
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