Plains woman inspired to author children's book
Plains author Karen Olson displays her recently published book. (Chuck Bandel/Valley Press)
By CHUCK BANDEL
Rescuing an abandoned, mistreated dog changed Karen Olson’s life.
So much so that the Plains resident turned the experience with her dog Nike into a delightful children’s book that was recently published and is now available to others.
Olson and her family adopted Nike several years ago after the mixed breed pup had endured being abandoned on a mountain and left to fend for itself.
The book, 'A Dog’s Bucket List,' relates the thoughts and aspirations of Nike as told through his eyes. Clearly, this was a clever, heartfelt way to share a love story between family and pet written for children everywhere to read and enjoy.
“A lot of people want to write a book at some point in their life,” Olson said. “I always thought if I found the right story, I would write it. Here it is.”
That she did.
What first started out as a picture filled book for kids, quickly morphed into a chapter style book because of the many ways Nike touched the lives of Olson, her husband Tim and her daughter Erica.
It was the birth of Erica, in fact, that convinced Olson to write a book.
The easy to read paperback, now available through Amazon, features 18 short chapters. It is illustrated by Hestia Nura and was edited by Erica Olson.
Prior to writing the book, Olson, who possesses a degree in elementary education, began exploring the process of writing, which led to her joining the Plains Writers’ Group. Erica had also displayed an interest in writing and together they came up with the concept of having Nike relay his life goals from a canine perspective.
“You don’t just write,” she said. “I had no real writing background but I listened to others who had writing skills and watched a lot of ‘webinars’ to learn about children’s books.”
The close relationship between Nike and family made telling the story through his eyes a logical move.
“I let the dog tell the story,” she said. “I think if he could talk, this is what he would say.”
When Nike passed away, the book project began in earnest. Nike, she reasoned, must have had a bucket list of things he would like to do in his dog life.
Chapter 15 of the book, titled “Teach my Human to Play Catch” is an example of the insightful and whimsical nature of the entire book. Anyone who has ever owned a dog can readily relate to such Nike thoughts as “Humans think they need to teach US tricks when usually it’s the other way around”.
“Dogs have minds and personalities,” Olson said. “Once I settled on that concept, the book was easy for me to write.”
Throughout the process of writing, editing and publishing the book, Olson said she has learned a lot about the path to becoming an author. She has ideas for another book in mind but said she hasn’t decided on whether or not to write it.
The process and expense involved have given her reason for pause.
“It has at times been overwhelming,” she said with a smile and laugh. “Writing has been fun, but as I got closer to the finishing and publishing process, it increased my stress level.”
A lot of that stress has involved the many steps involved in launching the book and making it known and available. For that reason, she is happy to have a local debut.
Olson currently volunteers at Tracs, the Thompson Falls animal shelter. Her book is coming to the Plains Library and other locations in the near future.
In the meantime, she is savoring the experience of doing something that may well have been on her own bucket list.
“My husband and daughter, along with several other wonderful people have been so helpful throughout this process,” she said. “It took a few months to write, because we kept adding things on as we thought about Nike.”
Now, kids and adults can share in those thoughts and feel the love between family and pet.