Sally Cole-Misch


When Sally Cole-Misch received feedback from her friends about her book, The Best Part of Us, she assumed they were just being nice because, well, they’re her friends. But now that her book is out in the world it turns out they aren’t the only ones who like it. “I've gotten, I think, one four-star review and all the rest five stars,” she said. “The really nice thing is some of the reviews, that the themes and the messages in the story are resonating with them. So that's really encouraging and satisfying.” Almost eight years ago was when her journey to write The Best Part of Us, which was released in early September and is Cole-Misch’s debut novel, began. What originally started on a whim and as a way to connect with a friend who lived far away ended with her enrolling in Stanford University’s master certificate program in fiction writing, where the novel began to take shape. “It was probably the most amazing experience I've had as far as education,” said Cole-Misch, who lives in Bloomfield Township. She grew up in the Bloomfield area as well. “We had award-winning writers and authors as professors, and it was intense, but I really started to formulate the idea for the book through those courses, and by the end of that I had a really good first draft.” She worked on it for a few years after she completed the program and was then fortunate to meet her publisher at a writing conference. As far as the content of the fiction novel itself, it focuses on an American family, told through the eyes of their youngest child, Beth, who spend their summers in a pristine lake in northern Ontario, a place they cherish until, naturally, something happens. Beth leaves for a life in Chicago until her grandfather contacts her and asks her to come back to the island to help determine its fate. “I really wanted to challenge myself and see if I could write a fictional story where nature is as much a character as the human characters in the book,” Cole-Misch said. “So people get a sense of how truly we are all connected, that we are all part of the same planet and we play a role just like a lion or a spider does in the whole connectedness.” She hopes this story will help readers remember a special place or a part of nature that they hold close to their heart, much like Cole-Misch does with the Great Lakes region, specially Northern Lake Huron, where she spent a lot of time as a child. And that people would find hopefulness in Beth’s story, that we can always choose to change our perspectives and lives to be who, what, and where we want to be. Cole-Misch’s background in Great Lakes policy and environmental communications, where she spent a 30-year career, also played a large role in what she wrote about and how she wrote it. “Because I'm a journalist by training, I live by deadlines,” she said. “I'm not someone who's going to get up at five in the morning and write for two hours…so I had to grab time between work hours. I had to grab time on the weekends. I gave myself assignments and deadlines, and then tried to work towards those.” Will she be putting herself on these types of deadlines any time soon with another novel? “I’ve gotten that question quite a bit,” she laughed. “I'm just trying to enjoy this process and we'll see what happens." Photo: Laurie Tennent

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