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WomanOf the Month 5-05: Nancy Vogl, Author, Chicken Soup for the Single Parent?s Soul

She’s a believer in serendipity—nudged along strongly by the power of positive, creative thinking. So when she found herself sitting next to Mark Victor Hansen, a co-creator of the Chicken Soup book series, at a speaking event, Nancy Vogl didn’t think twice before asking why a recipe hadn’t been written for single parents. Asked in turn to justify why the book should be added to the series, she was ready with an answer, and one that would satisfy the marketing as well as the creative soul: Single parents make up one-third of all U.S. households. Hansen told her to do a book proposal, and Chicken Soup for the Single Parent’s Soul made its debut in February. Vogl will be appearing at the Women & Family Expo May 20-22 at the Denver Merchandise Mart.

Vogl grew up in Lansing Mich. , raising her three daughters in East Lansing in a culturally rich, diverse community thanks to the proximity of Michigan State University . She dreamt of a career as a writer or actor early on but didn’t pursue writing until 10 years ago, when she took a writing class. “My instructor told me to go to the honors class, which was this great surprise to me. I didn’t know I was bright enough. My ex-husband had put me down and didn’t make me feel worthy. I got a 4.0 in the class.apostrophe

With three daughters to support, early on Vogl sold real estate for 11 years until she reached a turning point in her life. “Something told me to go to an event in Detroit , two hours away, to hear Michael Wickett speak. I had no money or resources at the time—I wrote bad checks for gas, for the event itself, for hotel and for food to get there. I had had a turbulent marriage. But I sat in the front row and I was just a sponge for everything that was going on, a bundle of energy.

“Wickett spied me and sought me out. He told me, You have an amazing aura. This was one of the first positive things I had heard in a long time. He got me a scholarship to a Dale Carnegie course—he saw the spark of promise in me. I found out I had a voice and was competent in expressing it.apostrophe

Vogl then started up an event planning business, which she continued in one form or another for the last 15 years. She’s booked everyone from Barbara Bush to Al Roker to Dr. Wayne Dyer. She also worked on established a learning library for Oldsmobile and Chevrolet. She’s now focusing largely on speaking engagements and writing. She’s proposed a Chicken Soup for the Stepfamily’s Soul addition to the series and has published a children’s book due out in July, Am I a Color Too? The latter, an illustrated children’s book, presents a poignant message on diversity from a child’s point of view and was inspired by a question posed by Vogl’s grandson. Vogl wrote the book with her daughter, Heidi, who is pursuing her own dream of becoming an actress.

Next up is a self-published book written with Vogl’s fiancé. The proceeds from Why Grandpa Rides a Harley will be donated to dystonia research, a disease her granddaughter suffers from.

Eight is enough won’t compare to Vogl’s combined family after her marriage to the fiancé she met on match.com. He has six children, while she has three daughters plus another she adopted.

Vogl understands one of the biggest problems facing single parents: Often they are so overwhelmed they cannot see in themselves what others see in them—that spark. The universe must give them a “nudge,apostrophe as she puts it, or someone must notice the spark and help them ignite it. Vogl’s own story attests to the determination and strength required to support and guide a family while making a life for oneself.

Go to www.womenandfamilyexpo.com for a complete schedule of events.