Mike Purewal decided to make a change in his life.
A big change.
He spent 20 years in the corporate world, leaving the company as a Vice President of Sales. He says he “experienced severe burnout, due to stress related health issues, from the intensity of my career. For the majority of my life, I didn’t feel like I made a positive impact to society.”
And so he left in 2020 to “pursue a path of passion that includes writing. My ultimate goal is to bring more laughter and joy to the world for both children and adults alike when they are snuggling together enjoying one of my books.”
Purewal’s first book On Your Way! (Olympia Publishers, $10.99; amzn.to/
His inspiring story was documented in a commercial by ManuLife Financial and can be watched here.
Here, Purewal recalls his path.
You began your journey by taking a year “unplugged.” How did that help shape you today?
In 2010, before mindfulness and meditation was mainstream, I took the road less travelled by living in an Ashram in Northern California. I studied happiness, mindfulness and became devoted to my meditation practice. This experience radically changed my outlook on life. I weave the main essence of mindfulness in my stories using a fun and simple approach that children can relate to.
What is On Your Way! about?
It is a rhythmic story that inspires children to be adventurous, imaginative and explore what’s around them and within them. Yielding a superhero vibe, this magical journey takes children from outer space to the center of the universe. With rainbow trees, rocket ships, dances with the stars and tapping into the powers of the universe, this story inspires immense creativity.
Are there secondary messages in On Your Way!?
Absolutely. The book has a mindfulness component by touching upon the mental obstacles we all face, such as anger, worry and fear, assuring that they are natural but can be overcome. Mental health and wellness are such critical issues in our society and I want to ensure that children are heard and understood. Another central theme throughout the story is encouraging children to get off their electronic devices such as their tablets and TVs to explore the world and make new adventures.
From where did the idea to write the book come?
After I left corporate, I naturally gravitated towards writing. I started with deep reflection and poetry. During this time, my daughter Bianca and I went through a phase of reading Dr Seuss books. Our favorite was Oh, the Places You’ll Go! I thought, why don’t I try rhythmic writing, something as I enjoyed doing that when I was younger. I planned out multiple scenes for the main character to explore and created this rhythmic text to match! The rest is history.
What was it like having your daughter illustrated as the main character?
It was an incredible bonding experience. At the onset of production, I sent my illustrator pictures of her to be utilized in the story. Every time there were creative revisions, Bianca and I would sit down and she’d give me her perspective. It was so cool for her to see the illustrations evolve and see herself as the main character. I’ll forever cherish those moments when we’d discuss what we loved and what needed changing.
Why is it important to you having BIPOC representation in the characters?
I’m a huge advocate of increasing BIPOC representation for authors and young readers. On Your Way! features children from all backgrounds, with the main character a South East Asian girl. Growing up, I rarely saw children that looked like myself in books. This needs to change. I wanted Bianca to feel seen and heard in her
lifetime. This is a story that she can see herself in.
What are your future writing plans?
I have a second children’s book called Boban from Zoltan that will release in early 2023. This story is about Boban from Zoltan, a wise and witty wizard. He shows how the world works in a way you’ve never heard of. He reminds children of the day-to-day things to be grateful for, including the little miracles in life that are taken for granted . . . all while explaining Boban’s crazy, rhythmic way.
For more information, visit mikepurewal.com