1. Hi Nicole, thanks for taking time out of your day to chat with us here on Q7. Tell me a little about yourself, do you have hobbies other than writing? Or maybe you'd like to share something that we wouldn't know just from reading your work or visiting your websites?
Hey April, thanks so much for featuring me on your blog! I am honored. Mmm, a little about myself. Well, I am a first born of three girls. I was home-schooled from grade school through high school. I graduated when I was 17 and my senior year, attended KCTC (Kent Career and Technical Center) in Grand Rapids for graphic design, completing the two year program in one year. I went on to Spring Arbor University in Jackson, Michigan for art and design. Completed that four year program in three. So you can see there is a fast-track component to my career in all aspects. Some other fun facts, I met my husband Ken when we were both sixteen. We got married when we were both 21 and have been married for 6 1/2 years. Some of my hobbies? Music. I love listening to music. Country, Celtic and Disney music are some of my favorites on my Pandora play list. I love animals, was a 4-H participant for at least 13 years. I love spending time in nature and enjoying the outdoors. I love to cook and bake paleo and enjoy drinking kombucha and fresh green juice. Something you wouldn't know? I was an introvert for most of my life. Talking in front of people was not my forte, somehow I've outgrown that fear and love interacting in this capacity today.
2. Meeting you at the Women Who Write Conference, in Grand Rapids, MI earlier this year, I noticed you have a very fun, positive, and kindhearted way of interacting with others. Have you always been so upbeat?
Thank you so much April! No, I wasn't always this way. I think over the past few years I've finally started to slow down and enjoy the present moment. Having futuristic qualities (one of my strengths finders qualities) and being a Sagittarius can be a blessing and a curse all at the same time! I am always dreaming bigger and broader, about what COULD be and how I can inspire and touch more individual's lives. The beauty of thinking into the future, is you have to be dutifully active and conscious of being here in the present moment. Through some personal experiences, a health crisis I experienced at 22, loosing a close friend and teammate to an unexpected accident in 2013, I've learned we've only got one life and one chance at the present. Also, I've learned life is MUCH better and joyful when we focus on being grateful and happy for what we have, not what we lack or a comparison to someone else's. I like myself better when I am happy, upbeat, and take the time to get to know and listen to others. It's the key to building relationships and relationships are one of the keys to success.
3. You have a passion for health and for the well being of our world's Bee population- can you share what sparked that passion and how it relates to what you currently do for others?
My passion for holistic health stemmed from the health crisis experience I mentioned earlier. Long story short, my body stopped making the hormones progesterone and estrogen and instead of going the traditional route of "medicine" to take drugs and not get to the root cause of my illness, I decided to dive deep and figure out what I could do naturally to heal my body. This began a four year journey in understanding the importance of connecting to your spiritual practice (spirit), nutrition and healing modalities (body) and the power of choosing to change your thoughts and previous "addictive" behaviors (mind). As a result of this interesting bout of events, it's propelled me into the work I do with my company LUX CHIX - a creative agency for holistic brands. We work with many Chiropractors, Naturopathic Doctors, those in Integrative Medicine and purpose driven brands. Our featured services include: branding, graphic design, marketing strategy, coaching and website development.
To answer your question about the bees, I am a HUGE proponent of organic and non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) and in early 2015 I started hearing more news about the dwindling honeybee population and it's effects on global agriculture. Overuse of pesticides on crops are one of the reasons for the disappearance of bees. Studies have shown that upwards of 90% of the worlds food supply is dependent on bees and pollinators. No bees, no food. No food? Well, you get the idea. Albert Einstein said, "if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man." I also love animal symbolism and if you think about bees, they are very similar to people. I love the aspect of community and focusing on collaboration verses competition. We can accomplish so much more and help more people if we are willing to work together in community. The bees remind us we don't have to go it alone. Although we are each individuals, we each have special gifts to bring to the hive and collective colony. When we can focus on celebrating our similarities rather than our differences, we have a greater chance of being able to impact the world in a positive way.
4. If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I've always wanted to go to Ireland and India. Ireland, have friends there and I think it would be so cool to tour the castles and the historic places there. India, has just always called to me. As part of my senior art project, I created several pieces tied in to Indian culture and atmosphere. Indian food is probably one of my favorites and I have many friends who currently live in India or are of Indian decent. I was invited to speak there in 2017 so perhaps I'll get there sooner than I think!
5. Most people have something or someone that influenced them as a child, was there anything like that for you and if so, would you be willing to share the story here?
I'd have to say my mom was the one who influenced me the most growing up. As a child she instilled such a positive way of thinking and was a tremendous example to live my life by. Being raised in a Christian home, I got to witness and see first hand how her personal relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit has influenced her life. Her continually living out her faith has transferred in to my life more ways than I can count. She also told me I could be anything I wanted to be, she's been my biggest cheer leader aside from my husband. I am so grateful for her and my dad.
6. I see that you've written two books so far- both focused on the idea that a person can live life on their own terms and still be successful. Are there other books in the works for you?
Yes! Actually, my memoir You're A Rarity was scheduled to debut in 2016 - it's a very personal and historical account of my life, including before I was born. It begins with the story of how my parents met, both from different sides of the country and engaged to be married to other individuals prior to meeting. The first few chapters are filled with journal entries my mom penned before I was born and my years of growing up. After going through a personally challenging year in 2015, I was unsure how to end the book and thus postponed the release. Bee BADASS and Brilliant was penned out of my frustration and desire to put a meaningful work out to inspire others to create success on their terms regardless of the crummy situations life throws at them. I have a contract to write three books with the publisher I am working with, so yes, there will be more books to come. Although I have some ideas to work with, I am not entirely sure the direction God wants me to take just yet. I am going to see the response from Bee BADASS and Brilliant and go from there.
7. Last question, Do you have a favorite quote or saying that you'd like to share here?
Yes! My signature quote is: "Success is defined by the journey within you." When I penned this quote in the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey in September 2014, I didn't know entirely what it meant. After two years of figuring things out as a business owner and growing more and more personally and professionally I have a better sense. I always believed success was somewhere, out there. But it's not. It's a part of us, our substance and the way we passionately (BADASS) live our lives and think for ourselves (Brilliant). It's all the joy, pain, love and heartbreak you go through. All of our experiences are filtered and distilled through our hearts to help us define what success means to us, not to anyone else. We don't have to remain beholden to what we think someone else wants us to do with our lives. We can decide what is best for us and our families and take action on the distractions preventing us from moving forward.
Q7 Corner: Author Interviews
A.L.Deleon loves to find and interview authors, Indie or Traditional. This is where you'll find all the details of those interview spotlights. Typically you'll find her asking seven questions of each author featured.