Every walk in the park can hold a story

Sheila Kovach, author of “Hello: Everyone Has A Story” hosts book signings

Shyanne Belzer/MDN “Hello: Everyone Has A Story,” written by Sheila Kovich, was inspired by Minot’s Oak Park and the responses Kovich got from those walking its many paths.

Writing is not for everyone, but for Sheila Kovach, it all started as a walk in Oak Park here in Minot. “Hello: Everyone Has A Story,” by written Kovach, shows the stories that came to her mind when people watching and saying a simple hello to strangers while on her walks.

Kovach’s husband and son own and run Rossco Crane and Rigging and she has two married children who live in Minot. While she is originally from Wyoming and still lives there, she took early retirement to live part-time in Minot as well. It was her time spent in Minot and the park that moved her to write a story.

“I would always walk around the park and I would always say hello. The manner of which someone responded to my hello was very telling to me,” she explained. “They would either not respond or do so somewhat, not look me in the eye, and/or engage in conversation. There were a variety of things going on.”

These responses made her wonder, “What’s their story? What’s going on with them?” Applying the knowledge she had of her own life and her own experiences, both good and bad, she began to form ideas that became stories.

Each story she writes is separate, with a moral, lesson, or idea to make people think. An important thing she tries to teach readers is to not judge someone for not responding, that they aren’t necessarily being rude but may just be trying to hold it together.

They are also all tied to the park and something going on there. It could be a reference to the animals, the wind, or anything. They all reference the park that helped create her fictional stories.

“I fell in love with Oak Park because it’s so beautiful and it reminds me so much of home, even though it’s oaks rather than pines,” said Kovach.

While she never specifically calls it Oak Park, she references the park and many other aspects of the community in her novel. Her goal was to make it more personal for all readers, allowing it to be seen as anywhere and not just Minot.

After she wrote a handful, both her daughter and husband pushed her to write more and create them into a book. She thought the idea was crazy, but she just kept feeling an itch to keep writing.

Taking the advice of write what you know, she wrote what she knew through incorporating her life experiences and basing characters off of a variety of people she knows. For her, this is what she believes makes the characters and stories more relatable and believable.

“Hello” was published through Christian Faith Publishing. She sent her manuscript in on Aug. 2, 2017, and within five days, on Aug. 7, they responded and said they were interested in publishing her novel.

“Hello” is made up of 40 short stories that all stand on their own and have different subject matters.

“I can tell you that nobody is going to respond to the story like anybody else. The reason for that is that your life experiences, what you’ve gone through and your current experiences, is different than mine, so a story in there that is extremely meaningful to you might not be extremely meaningful to anyone else,” Kovach said.

Kovach’s book is being sold at a variety of outlets including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Gideon’s Trumpet, and Main Street Books. She will be hosting book signings at all three in the coming days and weeks.

On Saturday at Barnes & Noble starting at 1 p.m., she will be there for those interested in her novel and in getting a signed copy.

On Sept. 15, Kovach will be at Gideon’s Trumpet and on Sept. 29 she will be at Main Street Books.