Interview with K.A. Mann

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa to parents who were not supportive of creative career choices. I suppressed this urge to write for most of my life until my burnout where I simply had no option but to connect with what brought me joy and flow.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing during my recovery from burnout. It started with an activity I read about called expressive writing, where you write for fifteen minutes to work on the intense emotions experienced. I had a lot of strong emotions around why I got sick, why me, and what it did to my life. I then established a blog and I realized that my writing might be of benefit to others. This is how Avoiding Burnout started.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I experienced a dramatic burnout which resulted in an autoimmune disease I will have for life. In trying to understand how it happened and to fix my life and prevent more illness, I examined various areas of my life. In doing so, I came to understand what needed to change and I developed the seven principles of self-preservation I write about in my book, Avoiding Burnout.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I did a writing course while writing my book and it was made clear that traditional publishers would not accept a non-fiction book from an unknown author like myself. Just to cover all the bases, I submitted my first manuscript and was largely ignored and rejected by them. I then published independently feeling that I had done all I could do.
Describe your desk
I established my sanctuary, slightly removed from the house during my recovery from burnout. I bought my desk at the time of furnishing my sanctuary. It is white, long and narrow. It has two small drawers on each side, containing writing notes, creative tidbits I'm working on and stationery.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The ability to distribute my ebook to multiple stores and channels in so many different countries is something that I wouldn't be able to do on my own.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I find flow in writing. For so many years I did work that didn't bring me joy and finally I can experience a life where I actually love what I do. Being able to do that everyday is a dream come true.
What do your fans mean to you?
I cannot express the joy I experience when someone says they found my book an inspiration and that it helped them in some way. It is the reason I write and without fans, my writing has very little meaning.
What are you working on next?
I am working on a deck of cards, based on the seven principles in my book. They will be a companion product. I am also working on my next book, Healing Burnout, to dig deeper into the journey of recovery.
Who are your favorite authors?
I think Elizabeth Gilbert has been a great inspiration for me. I have watched her TED talk on creativity many times. Susan Cain's book, Quiet, was an incredible book. I have read many of Brene Brown's books and absolutely love her honesty. Paulo Coelho also inspired me to write my book, after reading The Pilgrimage and The Alchemist.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My new life is a wonder to me still. I used to hate my work and struggle through the day, even before I suffered from the chronic fatigue as a result of my burnout. Now, I get to do work that I love, I reach people with my writing and I can define my own path. That freedom is something so valuable to me.
Published 2018-01-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Mastering Stress
Pre-release—available May 22, 2019. Price: $9.99 USD. Language: English. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Stress Management, Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / General
Mastering Stress is a book about stress management, in a format where we can learn from each other, everyday people. Kathy conducted research with hundreds of people to understand where stress comes from in their lives and how people handle it. This book contains a plethora of ideas around how to manage stress as well as explanations as to why various strategies work from positive psychology.
Avoiding Burnout: The Seven Principles of Self-Preservation
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 70,020. Language: English. Published: August 3, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Creativity
K.A. Mann had it all. She was a mother and wife, an ultra- marathon runner and a business owner. But the stress of doing the wrong work in an unpleasant environment landed her with a lifelong autoimmune illness. Without work and income, she took stock of how it happened and how she could have prevented her burnout. Kathy developed the seven principles of self-preservation, transforming her life.