Featured Authors Talk About It
Karen Putz is a mom, writer, speaker, Passion Mentor and barefoot water skier. She specializes in helping others unwrap their passions–after all, there’s no sense in playing life too small. Karen is a former columnist for the Chicago Tribune TribLocal and is a blogger at Growing Bolder and Ricky Martin’s Piccolo Universe.
ATAI: How long have you been writing?
Karen Putz: I wrote my first story on a typewriter when I was nine. I wrote poetry in high school and always dreamed of writing books like Danielle Steel or Erma Bombeck. My writing career actually started in the early days of the internet when I wrote paid reviews and blog posts.
I finally sat down to write my first book in 2010. It took me two and half years to finish that first book.
ATAI: What was your most recent release?
Karen Putz: My most recent release is Unwrapping Your Passion, Creating the Life You Truly Want. The idea for this was conceived several years ago, but I wasn’t in a position to write it—I had to LIVE it first. I interviewed over 200 people and put everything I learned about passion into this book.
ATAI: What do you love most about writing?
Karen Putz: I love the ability to create something that will help someone else or entertain them. I love the million and one ways you can craft a sentence or story.
ATAI: What do you find most challenging?
Karen Putz: The most challenging thing is to write when you don’t feel like writing or when your brain is simply overloaded and can’t produce anything worth reading.
ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?
Karen Putz: Everywhere! My ideas usually pop up when I’m driving, meditating, taking a bath, or walking the dog. My phone is my best friend. Siri and I are likethis. She faithfully records everything in the Notes section of my phone. I’ve written entire chapters on my phone.
ATAI: What is your writing process?
Karen Putz: All of my writing processes start out in a spiral notebook. One of those cheap ones you get for twenty-five cents at the start of the fall school year. I have a pile of them in my room. I take one with me whenever I travel. There’s something very therapeutic and cathartic about writing out your thoughts. There’s a different energy that flows when you slow things down and do what I call a “Brain Dump.” You may find the title appearing, or a chapter, or an entire book idea from this process.
Depending on the book I’m writing, I’ll use Google Docs, Word, Pressbooks, or Scrivener for the actual writing.
ATAI: Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?
Karen Putz: The novel I’m currently working on definitely has characters that have a life of their own—sometimes I’m totally surprised at what comes up when I’m deep into writing fiction. When I read it later, I’m scratching my head wondering how in the world that unfolded. I think it happens easily when you’re deep into the craft. That “in the zone” feeling.
ATAI: What’s your favorite part of your book (or one of your books)?
Karen Putz: My favorite part of Unwrapping Your Passion is actually the scene where I described facing my fears by sitting on an alligator. That was the scariest, most nerve-wracking moment in my life but it filled me with a sense of awe afterwards. There’s something life-changing about facing fear and getting to the other side of it.
ATAI: What are you working on next?
Karen Putz: I just completed a book about Banana George, a colorful entrepreneur who grew younger as he became older—he went surfing, skydiving, bull-riding, snowboarding, barefoot water skiing—all in his 80’s. I’m also working on my first novel.
ATAI: Where can people find you online?
Karen Putz: It’s pretty easy to find a Putz on the internet—there’s not too many of us out there.
And for a daily dose of passion: Instagram.com/thepassionacademy
ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.
Karen Putz: My pleasure!
*NOTE: ATAI does not edit the responses of the authors.
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