Author Interview: Karen C.L. Anderson

Author Interview: Karen C.L. Anderson

Author Interview: Karen C.L. Anderson

I interview wellness authors to find out what makes them tick and why they write the books they do. This author interview features coach and author Karen C.L. Anderson. I met Karen on Mango Publishing‘s Heart Wisdom panel. As happens with many Mango authors, I quickly felt I’d found a colleague and friend. Karen focuses on healing mother-daughter relationships and creative anxiety.

Nita Sweeney (NS): Tell us about your writing.

Karen C.L. Anderson (KCLA): The book I am currently writing, is about…shame. It doesn’t have a title yet, but I’ve been playing around with titles like “How I Made Shame My Bitch” (it’s definitely not going to be that ha ha ha) and “Unshame Yourself: Healing The Most Toxic Relationship Of All.”

NS: What made you want to write this book?

KCLA: Shame has been a lifelong companion. I started to recognize the impact it was having on me about 20 ago and I’ve been learning how to change my relationship to it ever since. Unless there is “repair” (to use clinical language), shame can become toxic. And there’s a very fine line between what is considered healthy shame and toxic shame.

NS: What message do you hope readers take away?

KCLA: I want readers to take away that shame is a normal human emotion that few of us seem to have a healthy relationship with; that we can develop a healthier relationship to it; and that doing so will allow us to be more intentionally authentic and vulnerable in our work and life.

Given that shame is a normal human emotion that we will continue to experience, and that humans have an innate need and desire for growth and self-expression, I want to give readers tools to manage shame. Put another way? I want to give readers the ability to love themselves because of whatever it is they thing makes them a bad person, not “in spite of” or “even though” or “no matter what.”

NS: Writing (and life) can be stressful. How do you take care of yourself?

As best I can, I love myself unconditionally and hold myself in high regard. Also? Hydrate. Nourish. Sleep. Rest. Play. Connect. Boundaries.

NS: Do you have a writing tip for the writers out there?

KCLA: When writing doesn’t feel good (and I count on it not feeling good at least 25% of the time) don’t make it mean that you shouldn’t be writing, or that your writing is bad, or that something has gone wrong. It’s just a sensation in your body.

NS: What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

KCLA: It’s not so much “advice” as it is my perception of what good writing is, what it looks like to be a writer, etc. Basically, all the “shoulds” I have, like “good writing should be literary,” “good writers are disciplined and write every day for several hours at a time,” and stuff like that.

NS: And the best?

KCLA: Anything you write counts as writing. I think, actually, that I gave myself that advice and I now give it as advice to others.

NS: Tell us about your work.

Author Karen C.L. Anderson

KCLA: In my Mother Lode 1:1 coaching program, I work with women who have/had difficult relationships with their mothers and who want to use that relationship as a catalyst for growth, wisdom, and creativity. We work on healthy boundaries, overcoming the fears associated with “putting yourself out there” (because for many women, their Inner Critic’s voice is their mother’s voice), confidence, and people-pleasing, and more.

NS: What led you to this path?

KCLA: I have a mother 🙂 Seriously though, the older I got the more obvious it became that there was a lot to unwind in regards to our relationship. For most of my life and well into adulthood, I was boundary-less when it comes to my mother. I had no idea where she ended and I began. We were emotionally enmeshed. I felt chronically angry, sad, and fearful of her. And yes, therapists suggested that she may have narcissistic tendencies and maybe even borderline personality disorder. So my path has been two-fold: #1 to figure out who I am separate from her and #2 to repair the complex emotional traumas that came from growing up with her.

NS: Do you have a motto or slogan you find helpful? If so, how did you arrive at that?

KCLA: How we heal individually is how we heal collectively. To be honest, I am not sure if I heard this from someone else, but as I continue to do my own work, I see the “micro” (one woman healing her relationship with her mother) and “macro” (women healing from the relationship of white supremacy, internalized misogyny, and patriarchy). And so as we do our own individual healing, we become examples of what’s possible, and we do less harm to future generations.

NS: What’s the worst wellness (mental health, self-care) advice you’ve ever heard?

“Just think positive” and “raise your vibration.” I get it…the Law of Attraction is a thing, but it doesn’t seem to take into account what it means to be a human being with the full range of human emotions, not to mention that most humans are living with unacknowledged, unresolved trauma. In fact, it’s the disconnection from our bodies and our full range of emotions (which reside in our bodies) that is the essence of trauma.

NS: What is one thing about coping you wish you’d learned earlier?

KCLA: That coping isn’t the goal…I used to think it was all about figuring out ways to cope. To figure out and fix dysfunctional dynamics and patterns. Then I learned that all I really need is more self-knowledge so I could trust and respect myself, so I could step out of and free myself from conditioned, dysfunctional, co-dependent patterns and not just find better ways to operate within them.

NS: Has your life turned out differently than you expected? If so, how?

KCLA: It has turned out differently, although I am not sure what I expected way back when. As I said, I was so disconnected from myself that I had no internal rudder, if that makes sense. I certainly didn’t think I’d be a published author several times over (although from childhood I wanted to be a writer) and I didn’t think I’d have my own business.

NS: Is there anything you would change about your journey?

KCLA: Not really, although there’s a part of me that wonders what more I would have accomplished if I had started earlier. I recognize that I might not have been able to handle the success I enjoy now when I was younger.

NS: What are you currently reading for inspiration?

KCLA: I am generally always reading both a fiction book and a nonfiction book. The most inspirational nonfiction book I read in the past year is My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem. Right now I am reading Patriarchy Stress Disorder by Valerie Rein.

NS: Is there a wellness or inspirational book you couldn’t finish? Why?

KCLA: There are many wellness/inspirational books I haven’t finished and the reason is usually one of two things: #1 I got what I needed in the part that I read or #2 I got distracted (I suspect I am on the ADHD spectrum).

Author Karen C.L. Anderson

NS: What wellness book could you not put down?

KCLA: So many. Glennon Doyle’s Untamed comes to mind. I will read anything Brené Brown writes. Same for Elizabeth Gilbert. Other favorite authors include Wally Lamb and John Irving. Wally and John are novelists, but I consider reading for pleasure to be “wellness.”

NS: What’s next for you writing wise? (or otherwise – doesn’t have to be writing)

KCLA: In addition to the book on shame, I am working on a memoir, A Letter To The Daughter I Chose Not To Have, in which I examine my relationship to motherhood through a series of interconnected essays. I very consciously chose not to have children (I never had the desire), although I am a stepmother and it’s been a complex journey.


NS: Mermaids or Goddesses? (Superheroes or Gods?)

KCLA: Goddesses

NS: Toast or bagels?

KCLA: if I weren’t sensitive to gluten it would be sourdough toast with butter, although many years ago I was smitten with bagels and cream cheese.

NS: Ocean, mountains, or forest?

KCLA: An ocean next to mountains with forests nearby.

NS: Have it all!! What about leggings or jeans? (Jeans or slacks or sweatpants?)

KCLA: Depends.

NS: Dogs, cats, fish, guinea pigs, or horses?

KCLA: For the first time in my adult life I have a dog, but I’ve had cats every single day of my 58 years.

About Karen C.L. Anderson:

Karen C.L. Anderson is a writer, author, and master-certified life coach who helps women use the troubled relationships they have with their mothers and/or daughters as a catalyst for growth, empowerment, wisdom, and creativity.

Difficult Mothers, Adult DaughtersShe is the author of:

  • After (The Before & After) (2011)
  • The Peaceful Daughter’s Guide To Separating From A Difficult Mother (2015…no longer available)
  • Difficult Mothers, Adult Daughters, A Guide For Separation, Liberation & Inspiration (March 2018)
  • The Difficult Mother-Daughter Relationship Journal: A Guide For Revealing and Healing Toxic Generational Patterns (January, 2020)
  • Overcoming Creative Anxiety: Journal Prompts & Practices for Disarming Your Inner Critic & Allowing Creativity To Flow (June 2020)
  • Dear Adult Daughter, With the Emphasis On Adult (July 2020)

Karen’s next book, tentatively entitled Unshame Yourself: Healing The Most Toxic Relationship Of All, is scheduled to be published in 2022.

She is also at work on a memoir, A Letter To The Daughter I Chose Not To Have.

Prior to all of this? Karen spent seven years as a freelance writer and before that, 17 years trying to fit her right-brained self into a left-brained career as a trade magazine journalist in the field of plastics (and if she had a dime for every time someone mentioned that line from The Graduate…).

Karen and her husband Tim Anderson (a left-brained engineer) live on the Southeastern Connecticut shoreline.  

Overcoming Creative Anxiety

Certifications & Education:

  • Certified Dare To Lead Trained Professional
  • Master Certified Coach, Life Coach School
  • Healthy Boundaries for Kind People coach and facilitator
  • Emotional Freedom Techniques practitioner (EFT Training For Trauma, Levels I + II)
  • Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Marist College

The Difficult Mother-Daughter Relationship Journal









If you purchase something through the affiliate links on this page, Write Now Columbus, a collection of resources for central Ohio writers and readers, will receive a small percentage of the sale.

Thank You for Your Patience – Write Now Columbus – September 2019

Thank You for Your Patience – Write Now Columbus – September 2019


Thank You for Your Patience – Write Now Columbus – September 2019

A friend recently posted an Ashley Stahl meme with alternatives to “I’m Sorry.”

“I’m sorry I’m late” became “Thank you for waiting for me.”

“I’m sorry I’m so needy” turned into “Thank you for being there for me.”

As someone whose brain transforms the mere hint of another person’s displeasure into the worst failure of my life, I found these subtle changes empowering.

Then I took it a step further and created a single one that fits most situations.

“Thank you for your patience.”

Especially during this dream-come-true publishing adventure, I’m learning, growing, and pushing my edges all while trying to relax into a “new normal.” Every great adventure comes with challenges, right? Challenges keep life interesting.

“Thank you for your patience as I figure out, all at the same time, how to do a bunch of things I have never done before.”

“Thank you for your patience when anxiety flips me into default habits and I overthink and over-analyze.”

“Thank you for your patience while I disappear for whole days in order to do the work before me.”

“Thank you for your patience when I reemerge with a new attitude, ready to face the next task.”

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Is it wrong to say “I’m sorry?” Of course not. A heart-felt apology always has its place. “Thank you for your patience” won’t mask bad behavior.

But if I’ve picked up the emotional baseball bat, intent on beating myself over the head with shame, I’ll set it back down, look around, and see if it’s there’s another way.

Verified by MonsterInsights