Olivia Spallino Savoie is a life story writer. She writes private family heirloom books for families as keepsakes. Olivia tells the stories of people so that they can pass them down to future generations.
She is delightful and her love of her work shows in everything she says. So what better way to tell you about her than by using a little story she told me:
“I have always LOVED people older than me. For my ninth birthday, my parents said I could have any one person for a sleepover, and I chose my dad’s 55-year-old secretary. I spent my free time in high school befriending nursing home residents or my grandparents’ friends. So being able to work with seniors every day, let them know they are heard, and love on them is the best job ever. When I work for several weeks on a life story book and bring them the manuscript to review — their whole life organized and set before them — their faces light up and it is the best feeling ever for me.”
You can find out more about Olivia and her work on Facebook @RaconteurStoryWriting or at her website raconteurwriting.com. Spending time with her over coffee was such a pleasure. She is just as sweet in real life as she sounds in her answers.
What was your first job? My first job was playing the harp at weddings, other special events, and restaurants throughout Acadiana.
Describe a typical day in your life. A typical day in my life entails reading and praying with a cup of coffee in hand, getting dressed, and then doing one of two things A) Go to the home of a life story book subject and interview them about their life, or B) Find a cozy coffee shop and spend the day writing a portion of what will become a life story book. Then, I will cook dinner with my husband, go on a walk with my best friend or dog Louise, and then call it a day.
What advice would you give the younger you? Believe that your dreams will actually come to pass.
What event in your life most shaped who you are now? Marrying my supportive, encouraging husband.
What values do you live by? Work at everything however big or small to the utmost best of your ability. Tell the truth. Admit when you’re wrong. Forgive quickly. Find something to love about everyone — and sometimes a whole lot to love! Be on time.
What do you most appreciate? Beauty in little things. Pink sunsets. Picking wildflowers. When I stumble across a poem that speaks to me.
What is your favorite journey? The kind where I am aimlessly driving or biking or kayaking with someone I love with no idea where we are going and being totally OK with that. Then making fun wherever we end up.
Where is your favorite place to be alone? Cemeteries. Which is odd, I know. But I love to sit on a blanket in the grass completely unbothered and able to focus on reading or writing or just rest. Or, I like to be alone in what we call “the green house.” It’s a window-filled tiny house my dad built that I hide away and write in with tea.
What living figure most inspires you? My grandmothers. Mimi and Granny are vivacious, adventurous, selfless, and beautiful!
What was the best advice you were ever given? One very wise individual I wrote a life story book for said, “If you dream big enough, are well prepared, and commit to the hard work involved, you must not be surprised when you achieve your dream. Then, you must enjoy the dream come true.” And that stuck with me.
What book would you tell everyone to read? "To Kill a Mockingbird."
What is the best thing about where you live? The close proximity to family — especially the blessing of my grandmas!
How do you "let the good times roll"? I love game nights, bonfires, or late nights visiting with family.
What did you want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be a writer. Even at 8 or 9 years old, I’d write stories and staple them together to make a “book.” Then, at 13 years old, I wrote my first novel. My backup plan, if writing didn’t work out, was to become the president.
What is your motto? Alexander Hamilton wrote, “We have seen such schemes successful when the projector is constant.” And I try to live by that.
How would you like to be remembered? As someone who really listened to others. Valued them. Loved them.
What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
What three things are vital to BEing YOU? 1. Writing lots of words; 2. Being punctual or super early; 3. Going on adventures.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Glorious — which is my favorite word. Just about any great thing in life is glorious to me.
What is your favorite word? Oops. See above. Glorious. Or bubbles. That’s a fun word to say. As is turtle. As is evanescent.
What do you collect? Words. (Ie. Books, poems I love, letters I’ve received, including a huge chest of love letters from my husband)
What food could you live on for a month? Thai.
What would you change about yourself? I’d speak as buoyantly and comfortably as I write.
What literary, movie or cartoon character do you most identify with? Anne of Green Gables. All that imagination, romanticism, hope, despair.
Describe yourself in five words. Writer. Devoted. Engaged. Excited. Dreamer.
What is your idea of happiness? Being content wherever you are.
What is your favorite movie? "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh."
What music defines who you are? Alternative music with poetic lyrics.
Who is your style icon? I don’t have one. I don’t have much of a style either. I just wear dresses with flower patterns and I am HAPPY.
What do you most regret? I honestly do not have any regrets.