Elizabeth Chats With…Michelle Oucharek-Deo

For the past couple of months, I’ve been talking about Authors in a Pickle, my  internationally-based networking and support group. This month, I’m delighted to be introducing you to another of my Pickle Jar buddies. In fact, Michelle Oucharek-Deo is the one who introduced me to the group in the first place. The two of us also meet weekly online, as accountability partners, working together on our marketing strategies. But most weeks, we find so many other things to talk and laugh about, that marketing rarely gets a look in. In addition to being an author, Michelle is a Registered Art Therapist and has been practising in the field of counselling for almost thirty year. She is a dedicated gardener and is always looking for ways to add a little color into her life and her writing. 

Hello Michelle and welcome to my blog. Let’s start in the traditional way, by going back to the beginning. What is your earliest memory – and how old were you at the time?

My earliest memory is when I was 2 1/2 years old and we were living in our first family home. I have flash memories of holding a purple crayon and drawing perfect circles on a wall.

If you had to escape from a fire, what three things would you take with you?

  • The flash drive with my stories
  • My violin
  • And the journals I have been writing to my son since I was six weeks pregnant with him.

Where is your favorite place on earth-and why?

I have three favorite places but the why is all the same: my writing

  • Maui, Hawaii: waking up at the crack of dawn to sit on the lanai and write as the sun breaks over the horizon with a hot cup of tea
  • Pender Island, British Columbia: snuggling into a chair wrapped in a quilt outside with a cup of tea in hand, writing.
  • Sun Peaks, Pinnacle Lodge, British Columbia: waking up before everyone else, sitting by the fire, watching the snow fall and creating the most beautiful stories.

Describe your ideal menu, and where would you like to eat it?

This is an easy one for me. I would love to replicate a meal that I had in Bali with my husband 22 years ago. When we arrived at the outdoor restaurant, they walked us by tubs of fish and seafood that had been caught that day. We choose what we wanted to eat and they walked us to a card table that was planted on the beach in the sand. We sat and watched as the sun sank below the horizon and at that exact moment, they placed our food on the table. There were no forks, no cutlery at all, just clean food that had been BBQed over the coals of coconut husks. The breeze was gentle, flames of the torches lit our faces enough for us to see each other and food that changed my palette forever. It was magical.

Watch a film, go to the theatre, read a book or talk to friends – which would you prefer?

  • I would watch a film with my husband.
  • Go to the theatre with my old friend Chriss from theatre school.
  • Read a fun-filled book written by Rosalind James
  • And I would only talk with one friend – my best friend Jennifer B

What would you have printed on the front of your T shirt?

I already have it. I found a shirt that reads Strong and Fearless. I love it. And if I could wear it every day I would.

How do you relax?

If you asked my family, they would say that I rarely relax. Or that I am generally not very good at it. My version of relaxing usually entails doing something or making something. I love to garden, bake, paint, sing, and most of all write. Sometimes though when I am too tired to do any of that I will just sit in the front window of our house and daydream with a good cup of tea.

What do you believe in? What is your philosophy in life?

I believe in joy. Or let me clarify, I believe in the possibility of finding joy in every day things that surround us. From as far back as I can remember, I have ruled my life with heart. That has not always been easy, but it certainly has offered me some of the most unique opportunities I could ever imagine.

Seek first to understand and then to be understood’ and ‘Fatigue makes cowards of us all.’ These are just two of the many phrases that my father gifted me with as I was growing up. I didn’t always know how to apply them to my life as a teenager but as an entrepreneur in the counselling industry I took his words and incorporated them into my philosophy of care using his mentorship to grow a respectful and effective private practise for almost three decades.

It is with that same philosophy I am building my author/speaker career. For a time, I thought I should use a pseudonym; to draw a line between my fiction and non-fiction careers, but the truth is one informs the other. The fiction writing was born from my need to express myself and my non-fiction writing is about using the expertise I have to help people achieve their goals with simple effective techniques of applying time with intention.

This fall I will be launching Inside the Wind, the third book in my women’s contemporary fiction series: Wine, Love & Friendship. If you have not had a chance to catch Book 1 The Girl in the Peach Tree and Book 2 Barefoot in the Dirt, I encourage you pick them up so you will be ready for the action-packed conclusion to this part of the series when it hits the shelves in September 2022.

I have always followed my heart and will continue to do so during the next phase of my journey. I invite you to come along as I use my time intentionally to write, speak, live, laugh and love the best way I know how, with joy and a dash of humor.

Michelle, it’s been great chatting to you and learning more about your background and your philosophy. Readers: you can find out more about Michelle and her writing on her website. Or you can find her on Facebook, or Instagram.

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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