Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Michel
We are pleased to introduce author and illustrator, Elizabeth Michel. Elizabeth recently published Honk! A Tale of Praise with us, which is now available through the Word Alive Press Bookstore, and everywhere fine Christian books are sold. We asked Elizabeth to share a little bit about her new book, which she wrote and illustrated. But first, a little bit about her.
As a little girl, Elizabeth Michel asked her dad to tell her a story and write it down on blank sheets of paper. She then drew pictures to match the words on the sheets. It was a job of many decisions and much imagination… and she was hooked.
Elizabeth carried the dream of writing and illustrating her own books all the way to college. Once there, she was able to further that desire through illustration and writing classes. Six years later, Elizabeth graduated with a Master of Arts degree.
Soon after graduating, Elizabeth married her husband and together they led worship on Sunday mornings at a small church. It was during this time that Elizabeth began working on Honk! A Tale of Praise.
Elizabeth joined the Word Guild of Canada and entered their God Uses Ink writing contest. She was encouraged to continue writing when she was awarded second place for her manuscript.
Soon, though, their first daughter was born, and then their little boy, and before long Elizabeth had entered a long pause. At times she feared that her book would never be completed. However, she now sees this cessation from her project not as years lost but as a time God used to teach her about children before He set her into their world as a children’s book author.
“I had no idea that there would be book readings, visits with little children, and drawing sessions with them when I embarked on this journey,” she says. “But God knew and He did well to prepare me by sending me two of my own children to love and to learn.”
To feed her soul, Elizabeth heads outdoors. She can be found painting en plein air, hiking with her family, or caring for their two old shaggy ponies, Merlin and Ted, at the barn.
Q: What inspired you to write this story?
A: Creativity, the arts, singing, and performing were always something I was comfortable doing. Worship team, piano performances, public speaking, acting… you name it, I enjoyed it.
Until I didn’t. I didn’t enjoy it when I suddenly became overtaken by nerves for various reasons. I began to compare my performance to others and it was no longer enjoyable. All artistic outlets were short-circuited by this over-introspection—and worse, it made its way into my worship.
Later I was to learn that creative people often deal with self-consciousness as they must be a little more vulnerable with their work and expression. But for me at that time, it was all new.
Around that same time, I read a book that told me that man was created to glorify God by enjoying Him. I took that thought and applied it to both my creative endeavours and worship music. I needed to have more focus on my beautiful God and less on self and performance in order to engender a genuine praise in all areas of my life.
I also happened to be reading Job and found a verse that brings attention to peacock feathers, which influenced my choice to consider a peacock as my protagonist.
Q: Why did you choose the Garden of Eden as the setting for the story?
A: Because God actually did come visiting in the Garden. A child has no need to decode the symbolism because the God in the Garden is our God today. And it works in my favour to have animals who don’t know yet how they work, i.e. their tails fanning out.
Q: What is the best age for this book?
A: Those who are six to eight are the perfect age. During these years, children begin to become self-conscious, seeing a gap between who they are and who they would like to be. This book addresses this realization and also shows the cure for our souls.
Q: Can you talk about the process of writing and illustrating the same book?
A: I desired to create my own fantastical scenes, and by writing a book that suited those scenes I was fully gratified. Often the picture in my head was there first before I went about writing it down. I loved doing both. I’m kept up all the time by stories that float in my head or songs that spring up from within my soul in word form, so I know that I definitely have a calling in that area… but also in the area of art. To throw both disciplines at the same project feels very satisfying.
Q: Does this book apply mainly for children who are taking vocal lessons?
A: Any discipline they are applying themselves to can be turned around and given back to God in praise. Arts, sports, STEM… I think it’s important to always remind them that they have a mandate and that is to glorify God as they find Him to be all that He is.
Note: We have limited stock of this book at our office in Winnipeg, with more copies at our distributor in the US. If you would like to order this book as a Christmas gift, please place your order as soon as possible to ensure prompt delivery.
Find and follow Elizabeth, here:
Instagram: @elizabeth michel_artistauthor
Watch Deena Adams of Hope-Filled Fiction interview Elizabeth on Zoom
Join Elizabeth for an interview with singer-songwriter Damara Melissa. It will be live on Instagram Nov. 9, 2021 at 10:00 am Eastern time, here:
Instagram: @elizabeth michel_artistauthor