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In Focus | Mix Hart

Mix Hart (aka Melissa to those who know her) is a local author, artist, activist, mother and more. She recently self-published her first book, a middle fiction novel called “Peter Not-Pizzaface and the Decrepit Caboose” that is set in our own Kettle Valley Railway. She has also published a novel called “Queen of the Godforsaken” that is set to be released by Thistledown Press in 2015 and a picture book series called “A pug Named Pru”. As a talented oil painter, Mix also illustrates her middle fiction and picture books. Today Mix Hart is In Focus.

What do you always find yourself saying?
Where are the dogs? I always want to know if my kids have either forgotten to let them out or let them out and have forgotten to let them in again. Dogs are like children; they are the greatest gifts in life and require (and give) a lot of love.

If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select and why?
The Dalai Lama. He has both a deep wisdom and a charming playfulness about him. A day with the Dalai Lama would never be boring.

If you were to receive any existing public award, what award would you like to win?
The Nobel Prize for Literature (
I like to think big).

If you could spend a day with any historical figure, who would you choose and why?

Joy Adamson. She raised many orphaned big cats in Africa (lions, cheetahs, leopards) and then released them into the wild. I read every one of her books about her daily life with the big cats and would love to spend a day with her in Africa.

Who inspires you?
Jane Goodall (for her intelligence, empathy and courageous efforts to do good work on this earth) and my three daughters (they’re such capable and intelligent persons).

What are 3 things on your bucket list?
Visit Antarctica, spend time volunteering in the jungle at a primate rehabilitation center, a dinner date with David Bowie (you never know).

Please tell us about a defining moment in your life.
I wrote and illustrated a story for my youngest sister when I was 11. The story was about sisters getting lost in an ancient cedar forest in BC and meeting a sasquatch. She loved the story and remembers it to this day. I, as storyteller, was hooked from that moment onward.

If you had an enormous yacht, what would you name it?
Ran—after the Norse Goddess of the sea who had many daughters (which are the waves). I’d want to use the yacht to draw attention to the health crisis of our oceans.

If you could foresee a single day of your future in its entirety, what date would you select?
I’m not one to obsess about the future. Future thoughts cause anxiety. I like to live in the here and now.

What are you passionate about?

Life. I value every life form on earth and am fascinated by how we are all interconnected

What has been your favourite day of your life, up to this point?
A day this past May, 2014—I was hiking with my three daughters and husband deep in the Corcovado jungle, on the Oso Peninsula of Costa Rica. It was pure bliss to be with the people I love, surrounded by an abundance of life, in the most biologically diverse place left on the planet.

What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Finishing my novel Queen of the Godforsaken. I started writing it and then had to put the manuscript on hold to have my third daughter and then again to finish my Master’s degree. I had to access my teenage brain to write the novel. Writing Queen of the Godforsaken was hilarious, cathartic and sometimes brutal. I’m proud that it is now finished and will be published by Thistledown Press in 2015.

Where is your favourite place to dine in Kelowna? What do you like about it?
I’m not much of a foodie. I eat to live. However, I enjoy the ambiance at Bouchons. It’s as though I’m on a mini French vacation when I dine there. Though, I must admit, I’m equally content to eat a Taco Del Mar burrito.

What is your favourite activity or event in Kelowna? Why?
I am an outdoor nature junkie. In the summer I head to the beach to play in Okanagan Lake or up to Myra Canyon to cycle the Kettle Valley Railway. In the winter I enjoy skating on the downtown ice rink or alpine skiing at Silver Star. Nothing smells more delicious than the scent of fresh pine trees along the Kettle Valley Railway and on Silver Star Mountain. Surprisingly, the scent of pine is intoxicatingly strong in the winter on foggy ski days.

What is the name of your business/organization?

Mix Hart is my author name, those close to me know me as Melissa. I am a writer and oil painter. My first novel Queen of the Godforsaken will be released in 2015 by Thistledown Press. I also write a new middle years Canadian fantasy/adventure series titled Peter Not-Pizzaface. Peter Not-Pizzaface and the Decrepit Caboose is the first book in the series. It is set in Kelowna and along the Kettle Valley Railway. I have a picture book series in the works as well titled A pug Named Pru. I am a traditional oil painter but have recently transitioned to digital oil painting. I illustrate my middle year fiction and picture books.

What does your business/organization do?
I write fiction (and illustrate children’s books). I’ve also been blogging since 2007. My blog is Musings…By Mix. You can find a link to my blog on the author website.

Where can people find you or your business online?

How do people connect with you on Linkedin?
Mix Hart

Where can people find your business on Facebook?

What is your Twitter account?

What is your mission?
As a writer and artist, my intention is tell stories about fascinating characters and at the same time explore how natural landscapes shape one’s life. My writing also touches on the mysteries of time. I delve a little into how historical landscapes and our ancestors’ actions influence the present. In addition, I write about strong female characters because despite being so numerous in life, few are mentioned in our history books. I aim to give girls credit where credit is due.

If you could achieve one thing within your field, what would it be?
To inspire minds through my writing, to encourage my readers to take another look at the natural earth around them and to be cognisant of the natural and historical landscapes that contribute to making them who they are.

Where do you want your business/organization to be in 5 years?

I want to have an international audience for the novels and pictures books that I’ve written and illustrated to date and I want to be busily working on a new writing project.

Who do you consider to be a forerunner within your field?
There are so many but I will chose a few who have influenced me the most:

Charlotte Bronte—a brilliant writer who paved the path for strong female characters in literature.

Mavis Gallant—a Canadian icon. She exemplifies the courageous artist. She created her own career; as a young woman, in the early 1950s, she made writing fiction her full time occupation and succeeded.

Astrid Lindgren—one cannot deny that Pippi Longstocking has inspired many
 girls in many nations (for decades) to believe that being genuine, autonomous, courageous and generous in spirit are characteristics that one should aspire to develop.

How does your business/organization impact the community?
My stories celebrate Canadian Characters, Canadian landscapes
, Canadian wilderness and Canadian history. Young Kelowna readers will be thrilled to recognize local settings in The Peter Not-Pizzaface series. My hope is that my books inspire readers to explore some of the natural setting I write about. Also, I think they might learn a little British Columbian history while they’re at it. Most importantly, I hope my writing inspires readers to take a closer look at the wildlife in their own backyards and realize how truly connected they are to the Okanagan landscape and the wild creatures that they share the region with.

What makes you successful? Tell us about it.
Perseverance and passion. I never give up on anything I believe in. I am very passionate about my work, whether it be writing, painting or motherhood. I set goals that are not invested in the final outcome but rather in the process. I am determined to finish all my books to the final editing stage because it is important to me that I tell my stories and express myself artistically. I am also a social creature; I like to share my work and ideas and learn from other’s ideas (plus I need to eat on occasion). I invest the same passion and determination in marketing my work. I want an audience and if I have to go to the end of the earth to find one, I will.

If you were trapped in an elevator with several wealthy investors from any field, which field would you want them to be experts in? What would say to them/talk about?
Sustainability experts. I’d talk to them about investing in large sections of wild spaces/forests and protecting them from development.

If I could change 1 thing about Kelowna, it would be:

Better public transport (there are too many cars in Kelowna)—streetcars that climb up and down Knox and Dilworth Mountains and connect with the bus system would cut a lot of traffic.

What do you think makes Kelowna great?
The natural splendour of the Okanagan wilderness preserved in places like Knox Mountain Park.

My choice for the Kelowna In Focus spotlight is:
Dr. Miranda Hart (scientist and professor at UBC Okanagan).

Some general comments I would like to share are:
The thing I love about being a writer is that I can take all of the hideous and lovely things in life and turn them into a story worth telling.

In Focus is our gift to the community. A way for us to help show our recognition for the people, businesses and organizations that help make our city great. The team at is passionate about this community and the people that make it amazing. We want to show our friends, neighbours, family and colleagues that we notice them and the fabulous things that they do. We encourage you to leave your comments and words of support below, and submit your own nomination by clicking HERE. You are also welcome to submit a form of your own by clicking HERE. Thank you, Kelowna!

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