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Renee Bolla

Birmingham-based author and mom, Renee Bolla, has written three children’s books which honor her daughters’ personalities and feature themes that resonate with young readers.

Bolla, who grew up in Indiana and lived in many states before landing in Michigan, studied business and fashion merchandising in college with a photography minor that introduced her to other creative subjects, like art and writing. After spending almost 20 years as a fashion retail executive, she was ready for a change.

“At the end of 2020, I was faced with a pivotal moment and decided to resign,” said Bolla. “It was a very hard decision, but I wanted to take a break and spend more time with my kids.”

Bolla began to explore writing. “I had this open time and I have a lot of energy, so I had to channel it and educate myself on what it would take to write a book,” she said. “I was on a mission to write a book for each of my daughters to share these stories and for them to have as keepsakes.”

She hopes to inspire others on a similar path, as well as for young readers.

Bolla’s first title, “Finding Bunny,” dedicated to her youngest, Elle, now five, tells the story of a special friendship between a young girl and her stuffed animal bunny who goes missing.

“Imagine That” is for her daughter Emma, now 10. Her second picture book features a girl who is very brave during the day, but scared of the dark in this children’s story that highlights courage and fear.

Set to launch on Mother’s Day, her third book, “The Truth About Stepmoms,” is dedicated to Nina, her 13-year-old stepdaughter. With this title, Bolla, who also has a stepmom, celebrates the relationship between a stepmother and stepdaughter.

To stay true to her creative vision, Bolla self-published her books and collaborated with different illustrators.

In addition to local sources, such as Found Objects, Fascination Factory (where she has a launch event in May) and Petite Cabane in Birmingham, and the events Bolla does at schools and other venues, her books can be purchased online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target and Walmart. Adorable products to go with the titles are also available, like a stuffed bunny and monster spray.

Bolla pursues another passion with the initiative, A Pop of Indie, which connects local independent authors with kids to foster a love for reading and writing among elementary school children.

The author was driven at an early age. “As a child, I wanted to be in business,” she recalled. “I remember going to my grandma’s pretend office in my grandparents’ basement where I would be working and have people working for me.”

A professional connection would later emerge. “My grandmother worked for Walmart and my mother did as well,” said Bolla. “In college, I interned for their corporate office.”

Her books create the feeling, empathy and connection people often crave. “Growing up in the industry, I was able to connect with people on a deeper level. So much of it is rooted in understanding consumer behavior and what entices them to buy something,” she said. “I love hearing other people’s stories and I’m a really good listener with my children.”

Bolla, who is currently working on an expanded picture book for ages 7-10 about embarrassing parents, appreciates the creative journey.

“I love that there isn’t a roadmap,” said the author, who enjoys the creative process. “I am so grateful for the path I chose. It’s not just the books, it’s the whole experience.”

Story: Jeanine Matlow

Photo: Laurie Tennent


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