Karen Anderson – Book Journeys Interview Transcript – Jan 7, 2016

Book Journeys Author Interview – Jan. 7, 2016

Dr. Angela Lauria with Karen Anderson, author of The Peaceful Daughter’s Guide to Separating from a Difficult Mother

 

<span style=”font-size: 23px;”>”I’ve created enough space in my life for my creativity to flow.” ~Karen Anderson</span>

 

Angela:

Well, hey everybody. We are back for 2016. Our first show of the year – and it’s gonna be a good one – I am super excited to talk to you guys today and to introduce you to bestselling author, Karen Anderson. She is the author of The Peaceful Daughter’s Guide to Separating from a Difficult Mother. Karen, thank you so much for being with us today.

 

Karen:

Thank you for having me.

 

Angela:

Awesome. So, every week on Book Journeys, we really find out about the process of becoming an author and that emergence from an idea to a finished book. So, let’s start off with a great topic for the new year, The Peaceful Daughter’s Guide. Let’s start off by telling people a little bit about you and your book.

 

Karen:

Well, uhm, as you know, my name is Karen, and I, uhm… I wrote this book, uhm, as a result of having a difficult relationship with my mother and, uhm, I created… The idea for the book actually was born out of a class that I created for a – for my master coach certification program and…

 

Angela:

Hm…

 

Karen:

Yeah, and so I, uhm, and it was funny because I am a writer that’s – I mean I kind of consider myself a writer first, and, uhm, and it was kind of weird because when I created the class, I, uhm – I didn’t initially see it as a book. I mean I… It’s… It didn’t even dawn on me and… and then, I actually… a friend of mine said to me, “Hello, this is kind of, like a… book!” So, uhm… So, yeah… I… I… uh…

 

Angela:

So tell people what’s in it.

 

Karen:

What’s in the book?

 

Angela:

What’s the book about? Yeah, tell people what the book’s about.

 

Karen:

Okay. So, the book is partly my own story – not my whole, full story but, you know, it’s a little bit about, uhm, some of the challenges that I’ve had, uh with my mother, and, uhm, some of the things that I’ve went through as a result of not being able to – the – I should say, some of the problems that I’ve had as a result of being emotionally enmeshed with my mom, and coming to the awareness that that was what the issue was, and then the process that I developed to un-enmesh myself, as it were. Uhm, it started, as I said, part of this Masters – Master Coach Certification Project that I was working on. And when I realized how well it worked for me and how amazing I felt as a result of doing that work myself, I knew I couldn’t keep it to myself. So the book… the book is… story and it’s also partly the concept and the lessons that I learned and, and, and, uh… created for the process and, and, and then also some, uhm, journal prompts and exercises that leaders can use themselves to, uhm, to start the process for… for themselves.

 

Angela:

So who, who is this book for?

 

Karen:

This book is for… an adult woman who has been through therapy who is already aware that there’s an issue there and, and have worked through some of it or all of it, uhm, in therapy and is ready to, uhm, move on – move – you know, move… move into the future. Uhm, I find for… My own experience with the therapy was great in terms of helping me to understand why – what the problem was, and I dug around a lot in my past. But, but it didn’t relly help me move forward. And I – I mean, I don’t wanna say that the therapy was bad because it was wonderful in a lot of respects, but I found that it was like, “Oh, okay. So you’ve had it… You had a difficult mother and that’s it. Like you kind of figured that out but you don’t really understand what… what to do or yourself because – again, my book is about you. It’s not about your mother. It’s about what you – taking responsibility for yourself and the things that are necessary for you to redefine who you are and what you are in life.

 

Angela:

Yeah. Yeah, I mean I remember being in therapy going through a similar issue and just wanting my therapist to tell me what to do, but…

 

Karen:

Right.

 

Angela:

Like mom, you know, called me today and this happened. What do I do? Or like, where do you get that?

 

Karen:

Right, right.

 

Angela:

I think so many people are like, “Okay, I know there is a next step, but what… How do I exactly handle this now I know what the situation is?

 

Karen:

Right, exactly, and… and… I mean, there were times when I felt as if my therapist was actually sort of validating, uhm, me saying stuck. Is that… makes any sense? Like… keeping… It was sort of like, “Okay. Well, yeah, your mom’s mentally ill or your mom’s a narcissist, or your mom’s, you know, whatever. So, you’re pretty much screwed. You know, like… you’re hand’s stuck and that’s – that sucks, you know, and… and… you know… it keeps… I guess it kinda keeps you in that, uhm, victim… stage, you know, the victim mentality… a little bit. At least that’s what it did for me. [laughs]

 

Angela:

Yeah, I can totally see that. So… so you created this, uhm, you created the course and when you… when you wrote your book or when you decided to write your book, did you have a vision for, you know, kind of how you wanted this book to be a part of your business?

 

Karen:

Sort of. Uhm, I had written a book previous to this and had no strategy or anything. It was just, “Oh, I wanna write a book and I’ve been doing a lot of writing and I had, you know, a lot of, I had, you know, plenty of material and I just went and did it on my own, and, uhm, it was great. I mean, it was a great experience. But, uhm, I knew that this book could be much more powerful if – if I did it the right way. [laughs]

 

Angela:

Mmm hmm.

 

Karen:

…the right way or the wrong way, but, you know, that… to… to… to have it be, uhm, a little bit more strategic in terms of not just within the book, but also, you know, having the, uhm, an adjunct to… to the work that I do, with, you know, live with people.

 

Angela:

Yeah. I love that you already had, kind of a program created, uhm, and, uh, you kinda had to have that program created even before you wrote your book I’m guessing that a lot of the same concepts and maybe worksheets, that are in the program are in the book. Is there… Is there a crossover?

 

Karen:

Yes, but what’s fascinating is that… Uhm, when I thought, “Okay, yes. I should turn this into a book,” uhm… what the book ended up being was a lot… much better than it would’ve been if I hadn’t pub… if I hadn’t met you. [laughs]

 

Angela:

Yeah… [laughs] Awesome.

 

Karen:

Yeah, you know. I… I, you know, I’m not saying that to be like, you know, whatever. But, you know… I mean… and it’s funny because I [chuckles], when I first had, you know, had the idea for the book, I’m like, “Oh, yeah. I got this. This is gonna be great.” I have all this stuff and then… you know, when I actually, uhm, sat down to write it, after, you know, I was working with one of your developmental editors, uhm, there was so much more that was able to come into it as a result of that process, that I would’ve never known.

 

Angela:

Wow.

 

Karen:

You know? So, uhm… So, yeah.

 

Angela:

So, are there some things now that if you… ’cause you’d written a book before… kind of, you know, uh, in a different way and, and now you’ve written a book this way, are there some pieces of advice that you might give to other people or things that you would do, if you were writing a third book, that you’ve learned from this process?

 

Karen:

Uhm, there’s nothing like having a third set of eyes, uhm, as you go. Uhm, and… and… you know… My first experience, I did, I did hire an editor, uhm, but, it was sort of like after-the-fact. It wasn’t while I was writing. And, so even though I had some of the material already written for this book, it was sort of like, as I was putting it together and having somebody read… read what I was writing, as I was writing it, and sort of then, it helped, uhm, mold the book as I went. It… Does that make sense? As though, my advice… you know… My advice is… and I don’t know how other editors and publishers work, you know, that is, my experience is only limited to, you know, the two ways that I’ve done it, and, uhm… but, to me, having that objective, uhm, second set of, you know, eyes and coaching, as I went along, and as, you know, the process of understanding who I’m writing for as I’m writing and, uhm, a lot of the pre-… pre-writing work, was uh…

 

Angela:

Yeah… preparing to write.

 

Karen:

Yeah, so… I mean, I admit…

 

Angela:

Did you… Did you prepare in a similar way, for this book that you did, from your first book?

 

Karen:

No. No, this book was… this book was very different. Uhm, the first book, as I said, I kinda just… like, “Oh, I’d written all these things. Let’s put them together and make a book,” ha, you know? Uhm, and it’s not a bad book, but it’s… and then, you know, it’s very, very different. This book, as I said earlier, it’s, uhm… it’s much more strategic. It feels, uhm, more complete… it’s more helpful, you know. So…

 

Angela:

Yeah. Okay. So, let’s talk about the actual writing process itelf. For you, where there times when you faced writer’s block and if so, what did you do about it?

 

Karen:

Uhm, yes, I guess. Uhm… I… uh, let’s see… I don’t know if I’d experienced writer’s block in a way that most people think of it… but… [chuckles] I guess… I guess… the, uh… having the schedule and also knowing that – that I have the opportunity to connect with the developmental editor, when I, you know, needed it, was helpful because sometimes, all you need is somebody… It’s not like she – she did anything, you know, uh, out of the ordinary. It was just… usually, you know, “You can do this!” and… and…

 

Angela:

Right.

 

Karen:

So it’s just like… I mean I’ve learned enough about myself over the years to know that when I’m feeling blocked, it’s temporary, and it’s just like, you know, it’ll pass. Uh, even though it feels very uncomfortable in the moment, it’s like, “Well, you know, okay… uncomfortable, but this will pass,” and, you know, you’ve shown yourself many, many times before that you will write again. [chuckles] So, you know… that’s… that’s how I… that’s how I do it. [chuckles]

 

Angela:

What was your… what was your writing schedule like? Did you write, sort of, at random times or did you have the same time of day that you wrote everyday? How did you go through that writing process?

 

Karen:

I’m random. [laughs] I’m… it’s funny… I’m lucky in that I have a lot of free time and I used to actu- Let’s put… It’s funny because it kinda… it actually kinda connects in… with my message, overall. But, uhm, I used to be guilty bec- I have a lot of free time, and what I realized, actually fairly recently, is that, it’s not like I’m sitting here doing nothing, uhm, when it looks like I’m just sitting here doing nothing. I’ve created enough space in my life for my creativity to flow, and so…

 

Angela:

Ah, I love that!

 

Karen:

Yeah and… and yeah! And it’s, it’s, uh, it wasn’t… it wasn’t a conscious thing that ha-… you know, that I said, “Okay, I’m going to create this space so that I have creativity for…” you know, for my creativity to flow. I didn’t… It just happened this way… over years. And, uhm… So… So now… But now… But now the good… the good part is that I don’t feel guilty about it anymore, like, “Oh, it’s… have my nose to the grindstone and look like I’m working, you know. Uhm, but I, you know, In… In a way it is a luxury that I have this – that I have it this way, right now, and, uhm, it gives me the space to – to do my work!

 

Angela:

Mmm. And so what are some of the things, for you, that, uhm, that, uh, I will call them “the benefit of being an author.” Why was it worth it, to you, to write these books and to call yourself an author?

 

Karen:

It’s funny, I had wanted to be a writer since I was a little child. Uhm, and it, you know, I had a seventh grade teacher who told me that I had talent as a writer, and I went to college and imagined myself becoming a foreign correspondent, and that didn’t happen.

 

Angela:

Mmm.

 

Karen:

That didn’t happen and I… I ended up, and it’s funny because I ended up writing, as a profession, for many years, but… but what was fascinating is that I didn’t write for myself and I never believed that I actually had anything to say. And – and uhm, you know, through the course of my life, uh, you know, there were personal things going on and… and… you know, tough – tough things that were happening emotionally for me, and I started blogging in 2009 and that’s when I realized, you know, that I had been sort of punishing myself by not allowing myself to have the voice that I… knew that I… you know, I knew that I had something to say, but I didn’t really… I didn’t trust myself, I didn’t have the confidence, uhm, and it was blogging that sort of broke that open for me. And with that – what’s also kind of fascinating is that, as a child, I also had another fantasy, which was me standing on a stage wearing a fabulous dress and singing a song that made everyone just go, “Ooh!” with inspiration. It’s funny because, what I realized is that – I don’t wanna sing and singing is not my thing, but that – the fantasy itself is still the same, which is, using my actual voice to inspire, and so – you asked about the book, right?

 

Angela:

Mmm hmmm.

 

Karen:

So, writing the book was partly something that I wanted to do… I guess to prove to myself that I could do it, and… and also realizing that I have a very powerful message and… and so I, you know, I’d been able to hone and, uhm, cultivate my writing voice – I love my writing voice… and… having written the book, especially this book, uhm, has shown me that both of my little fantasies are able to come true using my writing voice and also using my – my actual voice… and it’s actually something that I’m…

 

Angela:

Mmm, and I’m wondering, with this second book, was there anything about – writing a book about your relationship with your mother, in that process, that helped that voice to come out even more, or less, like… Are these things related?

 

Karen:

So… no totally connected and what’s fascinating is that, uhm, I… I used to, like, you know, when I started blogging, I used to say, “Oh, yeah. I put myself out there. I’m not afraid, you know. I… I’m, you know… I’m not afraid to write about anything, and what’s kind of fascinating is that my mother – my relationship with my mother – became much more strained after I started blogging, and I wasn’t blogging about her, I was blogging about me, and she didn’t like it at all, and so… and, and when my first book came out, that was when it really fell apart. And so… what, you know… I mean, coming to this point where I’ve written this book, what I realized is that I had an unconscious belief, uhm, that if I move forward, would this – if I speak… if I use my voice – my writing voice or my actual voice, to speak the truth and to say – tell my story, my mother will destroy me… and… I mean… that’s… that’s something that, I realized, after this book came out, I realized that that fear, that belief was in there, after this book came out. But, uhm, and so…

 

Angela:

So how did you answer that? How do you respond to that fear?

 

Karen:

Here’s what… uh, here’s the fun part and as somebody who, you know, understands the power of thought-work and emotion-work, you’ll… I think you’ll appreciate this one. I… I don’t… I don’t… have… I haven’t just… like I haven’t… I don’t resist that thought. I haven’t tried to change that thought. I have… I have… I have now… just twisted it slightly to, uhm… my mother… I wanna use my voice, I wanna be successful, I want to tell my stories using my writing voice, using my actual voice, and my mother may, may destroy me and that’s okay. Like, “You know what? It’s like…” you know, “the fear is no longer there.” But… ’cause… I did. I walked around, for… put – my whole life – 53 years of it, uhm, and I don’t think this fear will ever go away, but, you know… fearing my mom.

 

Angela:

Yeah.

 

Karen:

And it’s okay.

 

Angela:

I mean, I’d heard people talk about that when their parents aren’t even alive anymore.

 

Karen:

Yeah… and so, uh… It was like… I nev-… I always thought, oh, well I have to. I can’t think… Well, I didn’t even realize I was actually thinking that. I mean, I knew there was fear, uhm, but what’s really fascinating is that embracing the fear and… and… being okay with the fact my mother may try to destroy me, has actually increased the amount of love that I feel for my mother.

 

Angela:

Why do you think that is? That’s fascinating.

 

Karen:

I know, and it’s, uhm… It’s because I… I guess I recognized that it’s maybe because the fear is mirrored, you know, sort of understanding that she probably has as much fear, you know, as I do or as anybody does, and, uhm, and rather than live in this sort of like, resistance place, just letting it in… and, and… It’s just like I’ve had so much compassion for myself now and so it’s like I can’t help but have it for her.

 

Angela:

Mmm.

 

Karen:

You know? I’d like… we’re just all a bunch of… people, right? And, uhm… you know? And we all, you know, it’s gonna be forever. I mean, you don’t hear them go away…

 

Angela:

Right.

 

Karen:

…and that’s it’s okay.

 

Angela:

So, what… What do you think is the best thing that’s come out of having your own book? Is it that kind of personal journey that you went on or there’s some external thing, uhm, that you would say are your favorite things that came out of the book?

 

Karen:

Uhm, I think the thing… My favorite thing, is, is like… It’s two things, and they’re equally, uhm, you know, number one on the list, [laughs] and it’s… One of them is the internal, uhm, thing that’s happened – the peace that I feel. I mean, and again – The Peaceful Daughter’s Guide – peace is, uhm, is where it’s at and I kind of like to say, you know, is it’s creating world peace, one daughter at a time, because if you feel it… feel it in your… inside, then, you know, it exudes out and even if it’s just one other person, uhm, you know, your job is done, from, you know, creating world peace. But… But… So then, you know, along with that internal is the external of the – of knowing that I’ve given that gift to others.

 

Angela:

Mmm.

 

Karen:

You know, uhm, I get…

 

Angela:

And how do you know that? Have you gotten any emails? Wha- What… How have people told you your book has helped them?

 

Karen:

Uhm, I – yeah. I get lots and lots of emails. Uhm, I get… I mean… people have signed up, you know, to be on my mailing list. Uhm, I’ve gotten lots of people signed up to, you know, chat with me about it. Uhm, and everytime I mention the book to somebody, I… I… One of my goals this year is to be out and about and uti- and using my actual voice and talking to people rather than hiding behind my computer. Uhm, the look on their face when I tell them the title is like, “Oh, thank God!”

 

Angela:

Right.

 

Karen:

You know?

 

Angela:

Yeah. Yeah.

 

Karen:

So…

 

Angela:

So, what is the… What’s the advice that you would give to someone who want to write a book and they haven’t been able to finish it? You’ve done – you’ve done two of these now, so, you obviously know how to complete the project. So, a lot of people have this on their to-do list for years or even decades. What would you tell them?

 

Karen:

I, you know, I’d ask, “Why aren’t you doing it?” You know, I mean, really get real with yourself. Why aren’t you finishing? And ask yourself that question and answer it. And then, you know, if you… If, if… you know, maybe you really don’t want to, and if that’s the case, fine, then don’t. But, if you really, really do, then, uh, you know, get out there, find someone like Angela. Find, you know, anybody. Just do it. Uhm… But, yeah…

 

Angela:

Mmm… Now, I think that’s so… I think that’s so powerful. To just say it like, “It may be the reason why you’re talking about it and not doing it is that you don’t really want to do it.” And that’s fine, too.

 

Karen:

Right!

 

Angela:

Right. There’s no… There’s no law that says if you don;t write a book, like, you fail life. It’s perfectly fine.

 

Karen:

Right!

 

Angela:

But I think that desire and pushing back – from that desire or pushing against that is even harder than to say, “Oh, I’m not gonna do it.”

 

Karen:

Yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, if we can tire ourselves up with undecided things, so just decide. You know? And… and then, you know, just ask yourself the question and make sure you like your answer.

 

Angela:

Ha hmmm. I love that! Ask yourself the question and make sure you like the answer. Well, Karen C.L. Anderson. She is the author of The Peaceful Daughter’s Guide to Separating from a Difficult Mother. You can find that on Amazon and you can learn more about Karen at K-C-L Anderson (with an O-N) dot com (kclanderson.com). Uh, check out Karen’s site and her book, especially if you have had a challenging relationship with your mother. Uhm, and Karen, I just wanna thank you again for being our guest today.

 

Karen:

Thank you Angela!

 

Angela:

Well, you guys. This has been another episode of Book Journeys. I am very excited that in just a little less than two weeks, my next book, The Incubated Author, is coming out. If you would like a free, early copy of that, you can email [email protected] Just put “booklaunchteam” in the subject line and we will get you a copy of that. I’m very excited to talk to you guys about that book, uhm, which is about starting a movement with your message. So, we will be back next week at Book Journeys, changing the world one book at a time.

 

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