Author Interview Series-Bruce Olav Solheim

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Bruce Olav Solheim was born in Seattle, Washington, to Norwegian immigrant parents. Bruce was the first person in his family to go to college. He served for six years in the US Army as a jail guard and later as a warrant officer helicopter pilot, and is a disabled veteran. Bruce earned his Ph.D. in history from Bowling Green State University in 1993. Bruce is a distinguished professor of history at Citrus College in Glendora, California. He was a Fulbright Professor in 2003 at the University of Tromsø in northern Norway. Bruce has published eight books and has written ten plays, two of which have been produced. He is married to Ginger and has four children and a grandson. Bruce has just published his second paranormal book, Timeless Deja Vu: A Paranormal Personal History. Bruce’s mother was psychic and introduced him to the magical realm. His first paranormal experience took place in northern Norway in 1962 when he was four years old. Bruce took a parapsychology class while he was stationed in West Germany in 1979 and has wanted to write about his experiences ever since. He has continued to have paranormal experiences throughout his life and has developed advanced mediumship capabilities. It was only three years ago that Bruce had a spiritual awakening after a vision and communication with his departed close friend Gene that Bruce decided to publish his paranormal stories and overcome his fear of being rejected and ridiculed by his peers and the college administration. Bruce studies quantum theory and has developed a model that may help explain our quantum reality, ghosts, reincarnation, alien contact, and more. He is interested in all esoterica and oddities. Bruce teaches a Paranormal Personal History course at Citrus College and has his own radio program. He is also an associate member of the Parapsychological Association.

Marina Raydun: Your bibliography (and biography!) is most impressive. And you teach a course called Paranormal Personal History. Talk to us a little bit about writing about paranormal activity?

Bruce Olav Solheim: I always feel compelled to write something. This drive is usually based on some issue or problem in the world. I think that we are all paranormal beings. The paranormal is actually normal and the supernatural is actually natural. I want to help people realize their own power and not fear death. Fearing death causes us not to truly live. I have been fascinated by the paranormal since age four which was when I had my first experience.

MR: Are teaching and writing related for you? Does one inspire the other?

BOS: Yes. They are both forums for learning. Teachers learn as much as students. As artist Paul Klee once said, it is the teacher that should pay the tuition not the student. I love teaching and I love writing. I share my writing with my students and welcome their feedback.

MR: You also write plays. What compels you to write in this medium?

BOS: My first play was called the Bronze Star. It was based on a true story of my friend Carl who committed suicide in 2002. Every day, 22 American veterans commit suicide. That was the problem that need to be addressed and I did so through my friend Carl’s story. There was no other way to tell his story. I had a vision one day of Carl in Vietnam and that ended up being the opening of the play.

MR: Is there one topic you would never write about as an author?

BOS: I would never say never because you never know.

MR: How did growing up in an immigrant household affect your writing and your work ethic?

BOS: It is who I am. I am of divided heart. I love Norway and I love the United States. I appreciate the struggles that immigrants face because I know what my parents faced. They were hard workers. They came to America from Norway after WWII where they lived under Nazi occupation. They inspire and motivate me everyday even though they have both passed on from this world.

MR: You are a veteran and do a lot for fellow veterans. In fact, you co-founded Boots to Books program at Citrus College in California—a program for recently returned veterans. How central is writing and reading to this program?

BOS: Every day we should get up and do something to help alleviate suffering in the world. Veterans are suffering. Helping them transition was the right thing to do. I got veterans to be involved with my plays and they helped the other actors understand the issues of war and peace and what that really means. I encourage veterans to express themselves in any way that they can: writing, art, spoken word, community service. We all need a mission, and veterans especially so.

MR: What’s the best and worst book review you’ve ever received?

BOS: I have been lucky, no bad reviews. I have had people tell me that they can’t read my paranormal books because they are too scary. Some nice reviews have encouraged me to keep sharing my personal stories because they can relate to the issues that I have faced. To know that I have helped in some small way is a tremendous reward.

MR: If you could have drinks with any person, living or dead, who would it be?

BOS: Although I don’t drink, Mark Twain. He is fascinating to me.

MR: What do you think about when you’re alone driving in your car?

BOS: Everything, that is why I must be careful. I often miss my exit on the freeway or drive

somewhere by autopilot. My mind is rarely quiet or without imagery.

MR: What are you currently reading?

BOS: I usually read five or six books at a time:

Chosen by Yvonne Smith, The PK Man by Jeffrey Mishlove, Identified Flying

Objects by Michael Masters, The Will of a Wildflower by Pegi Robinson, Short

Stories by Red Elk.