I have the privilege of belonging to a writers’ group with today’s guest, Laura Lavigne, so I know what a vivacious and spunky woman she is. If for no other reason, I would have bought her book Pink Hair & Chocolate Cookies, just on the title alone. The full title includes the subtitle “real life lessons from a real life coach,” and that is what the book is about—ways of extracting essential lessons from ordinary moments in her own life. Readers will be able to laugh, cry, and identify with the stories Laura tells and begin to simplify and expand their own lives.
Laura, your business is Treehouse Coaching. Can you explain what a life coach is? Yes, Heidi. I think I can. A life coach is a mix of consultant, counselor, best-friend-for-hire, cheering team, sounding board with a sprinkle of drill sergeant. Really, I think we can all benefit from a life coach. Someone whom we know has our best interest in mind but is not emotionally invested. Someone who holds us accountable and allows us to hear our own voice. Someone who wants to know about our past but is more interested in our present.
I know you didn’t start out with this career. Tell us a little more about your varied background.
Well, I think that in some way I have always trained for this. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a social worker – which made my very business minded family laugh out loud. I have let life move through me a lot, over the years and it has taken me some interesting places, both personally and professionally. I have had a ten year career as a makeup artist for the movie and fashion industry, started and ran several small businesses (including a moped messenger service in Hawaii), owned an organic herb garden, and created two French bakeries.
Why did you decide to write a book? The truth is that I was involved in developing another program and the man I was working with disappeared! So my partner/love, asked me “What else is asking to come in?” “A book” was my answer. So he and I got to work on compiling some of my writing as well as getting me to create a few more pieces and that’s how “Pink Hair & Chocolate Cookies” came to be … in a month!
Who should read this book? Oprah! Seriously, I always think that women are the best audience for my book because it is so filled with my own experiences as a woman. But then, I will hear from a man, once in a while who will tell me how much such and such story has meant to him. And then – and I love that – I will hear from a mom who tells me her teenage daughter devoured it in one sitting and loved it. So, in the end, I think the stories are universal enough that they touch on all of many of our experiences: being a parent, being a kid, owning a business, feeling vulnerable, being filled with hope, doubt… the whole rich cocktail that makes us … us.
Did the title come to you first or later, as you were writing?
Here again, Chris gently intervened. I had a much less interesting title in my mind and instead of telling me “this is awful,” he knew me well enough to ask, “Do you think this is the best title?” Of course it was not and once we hit on that one it felt perfect right away. A little sweet and a little kooky, you know?
I loved your anecdote about “Oprah and the Chocolate Cookies.” Can you give us a brief synopsis of this story and the lessons you took from it?
I love that story, too. It is a little vignette of my life during the raise-babies-run-a-bakery days. I am going to keep the mystery on that one and let people come listen to it on my site. Or better yet, meet me on Jan 8 at The Skagit Women in Business first annual breakfast and I will read it to you.
And the story that inspired the “pink hair” portion of the title? A sweet, spunky and wise old woman with a mane of cotton candy colored hair rocked my world – and continues to do so.
What advice would you give someone who wants to write? Do it. Do it in spurts and save your work, even if it does not make sense today. Do not “not write” because you don’t see how it could ever be a book or how anyone would want to read it. I wonder that every time I write a piece and every time, someone tells me how much they liked it. And then, when you are ready to share your words, call Fidlar Doubleday and see how easy and inexpensive it can be to put a book together. Just print a few … it does not have to be a big deal. Give yourself the gift of once in your life, opening a box filled with your own books, straight from the printer. You deserve it.
Where are your books available? My books are available online on my site www.lauralavigne.com as well as on Amazon kindle. There is also an audio version of the book (accent and all).
Laura, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us today. Lots of luck with more “pink hair and chocolate cookies” stories!