I started out writing for fun, or catharsis. I don’t profess to have good grammar or be a great writer, but I love to write. It takes me on interesting journeys. When my body won’t allow me out to play, I take to the written word. I began writing for cathartic reasons, as a means to adapt to the new life I found myself in after becoming paralysed. My first book, ‘If You Fall’, began in this way. In fact, I found my early cathartic words being unexpectedly translated into Japanese, and so my first book was actually published in Japan; so I thought I’d better try and write an English version! ‘If You Fall’ sparked a passion in me for writing , and I was fortunate enough to gain a place on the prestigous Mountain Writing Programme at the Banff Literary Arts Centre in Canada. I am forever grateful for a month of writing to the inspirational backdrop of the Rockies, with two incredible and very experienced tutors and a group of talented aspiring writers. The result was book number two, ‘Boundless’.
I think we all have a book in us, and I hope sharing some of my stories is useful or interesting to those of you who choose to read them.
If You Fall
I always thought I’d rather be dead than paralysed. One slip, one moment, and everything changes. My first book is about recovering from the rock-climbing accident that paralysed me. It may start out a little harrowing, but it is really about embracing change and returning to adventures. As the book cover describes…
‘Karen’s adventure story takes you from the brink of death to handcycling the heights of the Himalayas…to the rusty knife of a Brazilian spirit surgeon. It is a story not just of climbing and courage, but one of inner journeying and spirituality. Out of Karen’s wound comes a strength to embrace the challenge and transform it into an opportunity to learn and grow.’
“Karen’s captivating story shine a bright light on the meaning of challenge, and on the limitless capabilities of the human sprit.”
Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
“Modest and thoughtful, Karen is a highly sought after and successful speaker, whose stories inspire all those who take time to reflect on what it took to achieve them.”
Joe Simpson, climber and author (Touching the Void).
Other articles I have written and had published can be found here.
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A very different book, Boundless is about facing challenges and fear, both in the wilderness and at home. It begins with the story of my biggest physical challenge, a month long journey sit-skiing 600km across the wilderness of the Greenland icecap, with my arms as the engine. This was a journey that led to my biggest mental challenge, to return to rock-climbing and a week-long climb suspended on the kilometre-high overhanging face of El Captian in Yosemite National Park, California.
I hope that Boundless isn’t a book about expedition heroics, but one which offers a view of life’s challenges and the profound effects of wilderness. The adventures I write about have shown me just what is possible when we set our heart and mind to something and have the support of good friends and a team. That’s what really enables us to go beyond our previous horizons.