Featured Writer on Wellness: Olivia Wildenstein

Filed in Writers on Wellness by on May 31, 2017 • views: 1469

Olivia MainWriting doesn’t seem like a physically taxing job, and compared to lumberjacks or professional athletes, it isn’t, but it is challenging.

As a writer, most of your time is spent sitting at a desk or in a coffee shop with a laptop, staring at an artificially lit screen. It wreaks havoc on your eyes, turning them into red, burning orbs that no amount of eye drops can soothe.

Thankfully, though, you can be spared other aches and pains by investing in an ergonomic chair and a wrist pad (this is my favorite and it costs less that $10!)

Writers Fall Victim to Mindless Eating

Another challenge brought upon by this sedentary job is mindless eating.

When I become immersed in a story, I’ll skip a meal and then compensate with a leftover bag of salt-and-vinegar chips or a bowl of salted nuts or handfuls of sour candy.

To counteract these stretches of time when the only part of my body getting exercise are my fingers, I spend my lunch hour working out or running errands—my attempt at being an energetic wife, a proactive homemaker, and a hands-on mother.

Olivia FamilyMy Childrens’ Stories are At Times Way More Intriguing Than My Own

Having three young kids also helps overcome my sedentariness.

Not only must I run after my toddler, but I also have to chauffeur my two older ones to and from activities. Yes, I’m sitting, this time in a car, but at least, it propels me out of my writing cave into sunshine-filled air.

And it forces my buzzing mind off my story and onto my childrens’—which are at times way more intriguing than my own.

This is How It Feels to Publish a Book: People Point, People Stare

Another challenging part of being an author is the momentous rise and fall of emotions during the publishing process.

Releasing your story for all to read is nail-gnawing. I could liken it to standing naked on a crowded road (not that I’ve ever done this).

People point, people stare. Some will tell you that you have lovely legs; others will comment that you have dimples on your thighs. Some will frown upon your audacity; others will applaud you for it. This is how it feels to publish a book.

OliviaPride and Self-Doubt Braid Together to form the Writer’s Backbone

But eventually pride and self-doubt braid together to form your backbone.

I’ve now published four books. Every book is a separate intoxicating journey, a separate terrifying roller coaster. Does it get easier? Yes and no.

The first 1-star review on any new book will sting; the first 5-star review will make you giddy. And then, when the reviews begin pouring in, good and bad mix and create the vivid backdrop against which your book will strive.

Writers, Don’t Fear the Ride

The most important part of this journey is learning from it and not fearing the ride.

This is when you need a good bottle of wine and a solid circle of author friends, people who have endured the process, people who understand the struggle.

Most people believe writing is a solitary job. It’s anything but! There’s a tight-knit community out there, replete with virtual support groups, critique clubs, and pages dedicated to meeting others.

If you’re starting out and would like some recommendations, don’t hesitate to contact me at my email below.

Some Days, I Want to Toss the Computer in a Trash Can

I’m not superhuman—unfortunately—and some days, I want to toss my computer in a trashcan and browse the Help Wanted ads in newspapers for a real job, with a real salary. But then I remember the reason I began writing, and I sit back at my desk, and let my fingers roam freely over my keyboard.

In a hotel room in San Francisco, three summers ago, I received an email from Make-A-Wish Foundation, a story about a little girl who dreamt of swimming with dolphins and whose dream had become a reality.

I clearly remember the picture of her holding on to the aquatic creature. She wore the most luminous grin, a smile that ran straight into her eyes and that made you forget for a moment her smooth, bald head and her emaciated shoulders.

I cried that day, not because her dream had come true, but because so many others wouldn’t, and I decided that with words I would give children with no future a chance to have one. I would write stories for them where they were heroes, where they could live out adventures and become anyone they wanted.

This project inspired my first novel, Ghostboy, Chameleon & the Duke of Graffiti (details below). This was a work of fiction, but one day, I will make this happen, for real.

For the brave little dreamers who deserve a longer and fuller life.

* * *

Olivia Wildenstein grew up in New York City, the daughter of a French father with a great sense of humor, and a Swedish mother whom she speaks to at least three times a day. She chose Brown University to complete her undergraduate studies and earned a bachelor’s in comparative literature. After designing jewelry for a few years, Wildenstein traded in her tools for a laptop computer and a very comfortable chair. This line of work made more sense, considering her college degree.

When she’s not writing, she’s psychoanalyzing everyone she meets (Yes. Everyone), eavesdropping on conversations to gather material for her next book, baking up a storm (that she actually eats), going to the gym (because she eats), and attempting not to be late at her children’s school (like she is 4 out of 5 mornings, on good weeks).

Wildenstein lives with her husband and three children in Geneva, Switzerland, where she’s an active member of the writing community. For more information on Olivia and her work, please see her website, or connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or contact her at olivia at wildenstein dot com.

GhostboyGhostboy, Chameleon, and the Duke of Graffiti: Have you ever dreamt of becoming a superhero? Jaime did. He had big dreams, bigger than most eight-year-olds, but a small amount of time to make them true.

Cora Matthews, the principal’s gloomy goth daughter, is not exactly popular Duke Meyer’s type. Still, Duke finds himself inexplicably drawn to her dark eyes and mysterious manner. She makes it clear she doesn’t return his admiration, but when a burst appendix lands Duke in the hospital, he and Cora will be forced to come together by the most unlikely intermediary: her eight-year-old brother, Jaime.

Duke learns Jaime has brain cancer and little chance of long-term survival. He admires the kid’s plucky positivity and wild imagination and offers to write a story about Jaime’s make-believe superheroes. So begins an epic tale—that of Ghostboy, Chameleon and the Duke of Graffiti—and a deep friendship between Duke and Jaime.

Despite their outward differences, Cora and Duke bond over their affection for Jaime, but unintended betrayal and Jaime’s advancing disease threaten to derail their blossoming romance before it can truly take root.

Ghostboy, Chameleon & the Duke of Graffiti is a gorgeous debut novel that will resonate with the thoughtful fans of John Green’s blockbuster The Fault in Our Stars.

Available at Amazon.

The Masterpiecers The Masterpiecers: Nineteen-year-old Ivy Redd’s talent with a needle and thread has earned her a spot on a coveted reality TV art competition set in New York’s Metropolitan Museum. The prize: a significant amount of money and instant acceptance into the Masterpiecers, the school that ensures new artists fame and fortune. Her talent has also thrust her and her twin sister, Aster, into the spotlight.

Not that Aster needed help with becoming a media favorite. She managed that on her own by running over a wanted Mafioso. She told the police it was self-defense, because she couldn’t tell them the truth—the truth would make her sister look bad.

Locked in an Indiana jail to await her trial, Aster watches Ivy on the small TV hanging in the dayroom. It’s the highlight of her day, until she finds out what her sister truly thinks of her. Then, observing her sister becomes a punishment far crueler than imprisonment.

Discover a “glamorous mystery,” perfect for fans of Knoll’s The Luckiest Girl Alive and Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train.

Available at Amazon.

MastermindsThe Masterminds: The only downside to Joshua Cooper’s investigation of a mob runner is not being able to discuss it with his two best friends, nineteen-year-old twins, Aster and Ivy Redd. However, when Ivy sells one of her quilts to the mob runner, and Aster hits him with her car in a motel parking lot, they become entangled in his investigation. The FBI even believes the twins could knowingly be involved with the mob. Joshua will do everything he can to disprove their suspicion and nail the true criminal.

Brook Jackson is a judge on the Masterpiecers’ art competition. That is his official job; his unofficial job is running questionable errands against easy cash. But a ripped quilt and the girl who sewed it will make Brook’s life and heart spiral out of control.

Accused of money laundering, Brook becomes the fall guy. After three weeks of imprisonment, he cuts a deal with Joshua: his freedom for the real felons and a meeting with Ivy. Although eager to clear his name, Brook wants to win Ivy’s forgiveness—and if she’s willing to give it to him—her love.

Available at Amazon.

Rose Petal GravesRose Petal Graves: Ancient secrets cannot remain buried forever.

Founded two centuries ago by a powerful tribe of Gottwa Indians, Rowan was a quiet town, so quiet that I fled after graduation. Staying away was the plan, but Mom died suddenly.

Dad said she suffered a stroke after she dug up one of the ancient graves in our backyard, which happens to be the town cemetery. Creepy, I know. Creepier still, there was no corpse inside the old coffin, only fresh rose petals.

As we made preparations for Mom’s burial, new people began arriving in Rowan, unnervingly handsome and odd people. I begged them to leave, but they stayed, because their enemies—my ancestors—were beginning to awaken.

Available at Amazon.


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  1. Angela Noel says:

    I love the phrase: Pride and self-doubt braid together to form the writer’s backbone.” Both propel us forward in different ways–sometimes stumbling, sometimes head held high. Thank you for the insight!