Today we sit down with Australian author, Karen Lang. She tells us about her inspiration, her work and a bit about herself. Please enjoy this installment of 20 Questions.
Q1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I always loved English and writing at school , but it wasn’t until Nathan our son died, that I wanted to start exploring this area and expressing myself.
Q2) How long does it typically take you to write a book?
Courage was my first book and I was a complete novice! I took about three years to write it but it really was over several years that I was downloading my story in many ways.
Q3) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I write every chance I get. I work for myself as a Counselor so I can schedule in my writing time in between clients and family commitments. Morning is the best for me.
Q4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Whenever I had writer’s block, I would go for a walk and sit in nature. It always cleared my mind and gave me space to understand how I could express an emotion or receive insight into the next chapter.
Q5) How was your book published?
I decided to go with Assisted Publishing for this book. The team were great and supported and guided me through every step. I loved the fact that I had complete control over my book and was very happy with the process.
Q6) Where did you get your ideas for your book?
Courage is a memoir, but my life experiences and being around inspiring people gave me great insights and ideas for my book.
Q7) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I teach meditation classes and practice Yoga. I love reading and connecting with inspiring people. I love travelling, dinner parties and being with friends and family.
Q8) What are your favorite books?
The Alchemist, To Kill A Mockingbird and Little Women
Q9) What do your family and friends think of your writing?
They are my biggest fans. Nathan’s story touched many lives after he died and so this book is very important to them. They love they way I have expressed his story.
Q10) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
That I could write a book! At first it felt daunting and overwhelming but as I worked on it each day, learning along the way, I realized I was capable of much more than I thought.
Q11) What do you hate most about the writing process?
All the decisions I had to make about the book when clearly I had no idea! It was also difficult and the end of my book to finally let go and allow my story to be seen by everyone. I never felt it was good enough, but I had to learn that it was and that I had done my best.
Q12) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers? If so, what are they?
Do courses and take classes in writing and publishing. I took creative writing classes and always came away with new knowledge and inspiration. I also had an amazing Editor who taught me so much about writing and publishing, it really made a difference.
Q13) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?
I have been overwhelmed with positive feedback, through emails, texts and phone calls. People stop me in shopping centres and tell me how my story has helped them or a family member through their grief and pain. They say “It is written beautifully and honestly and touched my heart.” What has surprised me the most, is how many people are passing my book onto friends and family. Everyone is grieving in some way and I suppose if you have a book that can guide you through a very difficult time in your life, then it’s a book you want to read.
Q14) What is your preferred reading audience?
My book seems to cover a wide audience. From parents who have lost a child, to Medical staff or family and friends who are by their side, or for someone who wants to know how to move through life or who is struggling to cope with loss of any kind. It is a story for everyone who is affected by death and grief.
Q15) What do you think makes a good story?
A story that is written honestly and from the heart. One that I can connect with. My favorite stories are about characters that I feel I know or could become.
Q16) As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a nurse which I was! I guess Counseling is another type of nursing. I love caring for and helping people and that continues in my writing as well.
Q17) Where can we find your books?
My website has all the details about where you can buy my book Courage.
Q18) Will you give us an excerpt from your book?
Here is an excerpt from my book, Courage.
The ICU became our home for the next few days. We roamed in shock, crying and comforting one another. Talking quietly with my Dad on the first night, we tried to make sense of everything. But after awhile, we both realized there were no words or explanations. Feeling his compassion and love in the silence, was all I needed.
The next day, having survived on only a few minutes of sleep, I felt overwhelmed and anxious. A neurologist came in to test Nathan’s brainwaves and breathing. In that particular test, they turned off his ventilator and waited for him to breathe on his own. The doctor said that if he failed to do this, he would be declared brain dead.
It took a few moments. It was agonizing to watch.
I held my breath; too scared to let go. I was willing Nathan to fight harder and urging him to gasp for a breath. The silence was deafening, and, in the end, I could not look. The doctor reattached his ventilator. I felt numb, knowing what this meant.
Q19) Can you tell us about yourself
Karen Lang is the author of Courage. Embracing core values of understanding and empathy, Karen’s passion as a Counselor lies in what she sees as ‘the story behind the story’ she strives to unfold each one of her clients’ stories and help them discover their true purpose and potential. She writes a blog, Healing your Grief, which addresses an array of wellbeing topics including grief and forgiveness. Her book has been in the top 10 in bookstores since it was released in March 2016.
Q20) How can we connect with you?
You can follow Karen’s blog here: https://shamanismandhealing.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/our-strength-within/
You can buy Karen’s book Courage here: http://www.karenlangauthor.com/