Create Out Loud

with Jennifer Louden

6 | Angeline Boulley: Finding Self-Trust In Your Creativity and Journey

Episode Description

Do you feel like it's too late for your creative desires? For Angeline Boulley, her first major creative success came in her mid-50s, with her debut novel The Firekeeper's Daughter. In addition to debuting at #1 on the New York Times, being optioned by the Obama's for a Netflix TV adaptation, and being chosen for Reese Witherspoon's book club, the novel is celebrated for its honest and multi-layered portrayal of modern indigenous life.

In this episode:

  • A glimpse behind the scenes of Angeline Boulley’s #1 New York Times bestselling debut novel, The Firekeepers Daughter
  • How fully claiming your identity can be the key to fueling your creative projects
  • The benefit of allowing yourself to become who you need to be to create the work
  • What it means to stay aligned with your values in everything you create
  • The joy and challenge of coming into more money than you’ve ever had as a result of your creative success


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How did Angeline become such a literary lightning rod, especially at an age where many may have given up?

She trusted herself.

She trusted her artistic voice, the long journey it took, and never let "time anxiety" get the best of her. Instead, she trusted herself to create the art that would be born when it was ready.

When I asked Angeline how patience worked in her favor, she revealed that it was the confidence she gained over time.

“The confidence in the artistic choices that I made, the craft decisions that I made, that came through in my writing. When I would talk with prospective agents, or editors that were interested in acquiring the publishing rights, I could speak with confidence. And I think that was something that had them sit up and take notice—to be a debut author, but yet be solidly behind my convictions of why I wrote what I wrote.”


We talked about those artistic choices and how her native identity contributed to character and story development. There are unpleasant truths, but there's also so much joy and healing; if you only look at the trauma, you're missing half the story.

When Angeline landed her book deal, she was the Director of the Office of Indian Education in Washington, D.C., and before that had a long career in Indian education at the tribal, state, and national levels.

Among other influences, she was inspired by the Ojibwe women in the communities where she worked over the years. Along the way, she recognized that:

“...the strong women that we see, didn't start out that way, that maybe there was something in this story about young women, looking to people for inspiration, but being flawed people embracing that. And for people to look at the choices, the decisions that we make, when we're young, and how even one decision can change the trajectory of our lives.”


The elders and aunties and mosaic of people she met through her becoming informed her story, and the wisdom, pain, humor, and growth she witnessed over a lifetime was woven into every word.

If you're feeling stuck, or like it's too late, or you are too old, or are anyway wondering "why bother?" this is the conversation for you!

Join me as we discover how Angeline Boulley creates out loud.

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