Interview with Karen Van Cleve

Published 2017-08-15.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I was at a marketing seminar several years ago. The speaker asked who in the audience has been overwhelmed, and the entire room of 800 people raised their hands. It wasn't a surprise to me at the time, because I had been overwhelmed earlier in my life, and I worked with clients who were overwhelmed all the time. That triggered the recognition that I had a unique perspective and capability to help people break their cycle of overwhelm. From that point on I started testing a specific strategy for getting people out of overwhelm in a coaching session. My study of neuroscience and other coaching techniques enabled me to combine science and coaching techniques together for the benefit of my readers.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love to read anything that challenges my mind or teaches me something. When I became a coach, I was a voracious reader of anything self-help, psychology, or inspirational. As I worked with people to create change, I began reading more about the new field of neuroscience and high performance. That field has really exploded as research shows us more and more about our infinite capacity to learn and grow.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are my inspiration! My sole purpose in writing the book was to benefit the reader because so many people are overwhelmed. I also want to listen to my fans to learn what else they want and need that I can provide.
What are you working on next?
End Overwhelm Now: Book 2. The first book was focused on how to end overwhelm in the moment. Book 2 will focus on how to end Overwhelm forever (or a least most of the time!).
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Even after almost 16 years in the profession, I love to coach. I also love to hike in the Colorado Rockies, and to travel to new locations with natural beauty. My husband and I also foster springer spaniel dogs who are in transit to their new, wonderful home.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My dad was a test engineer in the space program, so we moved around to the contractor who had the work. I lived in California, Florida (where I saw some live launches), Houston, TX area (where I went to school with some of the astronaut's children), St. Louis, MO, and finally Boulder, CO. Although I was very shy as a child, moving forced me to learn to make friends, to acclimate to a new environment quickly, and to rely on myself when needed. I believe it takes courage to write and share your work, and I believe my childhood helped with that.
Describe your desk
I would describe my desk as organized clutter. There's a reason for everything on the desk, and I know where everything is, but it's not perfectly managed or arranged. That parallels with how I keep myself out of overwhelm: I have the resources I need, and I focus on what's most important to keep me moving the direction I want to go. I admire my friends who have neat desks, and have never been able to sustain that for myself.
When did you first start writing?
My first "book" was about sea creatures in about the 4th grade. I did my own illustrations, too, but it became clear that words were the better choice for me! Professionally, I wrote a small book in 2006 entitled "66 Simple Secrets to Save Your Sanity." I had no idea it would be a precursor to my first "real" book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to have control over my content and my message, and I wanted to release my book as quickly as I could to benefit people.
What is your writing process?
I don't consider myself a natural writer, so I've tried a number of ways to write. What works best for me is to have a 2 hour block to write. I have to write badly for about 20 - 30 minutes until my brain warms up, then I can write pretty well for about an hour, and then I can squeeze out another 30 minutes of random thoughts before my brain melts down. I found it helps to finish each writing session with "hooks:" ideas and phrases for where I'll pick up next time.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story, but the one that had the most lasting impression was "To Kill a Mockingbird." I wanted to be understanding and accepting of people, rather than judging them. I also loved reading John Steinbeck because his detailed descriptions made me feel like I was IN the story.
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Books by This Author

End Overwhelm Now: A Proven Process for Regaining Control of Your Life
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 40,800. Language: English. Published: August 10, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Organizational behavior
"End Overwhelm Now" is the book for you if you, or someone you know, experiences feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelm is epidemic across most of the modern world. Our nervous systems aren't designed to keep up with the rate and scope of change. We can't slow down the outside world; all we can do is manage our inside worlds - the space between our ears.