Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Please welcome our second amazing author, the fantastic KAREN TYRRELL.  Karen is another victim of bullying - but with a difference.  She is also a lady who is going places.  There is a lot more to Karen than initially meets the eye.  But let's let her tell us all about it.  

Over to you, Karen.

1                   Please tell us a little about your background.

A:  I came from poor family in Sydney. My parents had very little education. From the age of eight I dreamt of being a school teacher.

2            You are an author as well as a ‘few’ other things.   Please tell us about that.

A:   In a previous life I was a primary school teacher for over twenty years.

Writing and speaking about mental health for kids and grown-ups is now my driving force. I’ve published three books - 'Me & Her: a Memoir of Madness', 'Me and Him: A Guide to Recovery' and children‘s book 'Bailey Beats the Blah'. ABC Radio and Today Tonight TV show interviewed me on 'Violence in Schools'. I write articles for South City Bulletin and Healthline USA magazines.  I present talks to libraries, schools and to festivals.  I especially love presenting creative writing workshops and resilience training to the corporate world.  Since 'Bailey Beats the Blah' was released I now present storytelling sessions and pantomimes to children.  In 2010-12 I was the co-ordinator of Logan Writers collective.

3           You have been bullied – with your book ‘Me & Her: a Memoir of Madness’ telling all about it.  Your experience comes from a parent-teacher angle.  Please tell us about that.

A:  Parents of my students harassed me on a daily basis lashing out constant psychological, verbal and written abuse. They taunted me from outside my classroom, yelling out.  One time they stalked me at the local supermarket, following me up and down the aisles, later standing right next to me at the deli counter.

4            In most bullying cases, victims are encouraged to report their experience to staff or parents or even a friend.  What did you do?  Did you tell anyone and what happened?

A:   I told the staff at my school and they kept an eye on me. They encouraged me to ring a counsellor. But I refused, thinking I was OK. But I wasn’t.

When it became a legal case I was told not to talk about it anymore.

5             Do you feel schools and the government are doing enough to combat this ongoing problem?

A:  Bullying is a HUGE problem in our schools and in the workplace, escalating at an alarming rate.  Kids and teachers need to be taught anti-bullying strategies to protect themselves and each other. 

6            What else do you feel could and should be done?

         A:  An anti-bullying specialist needs to be enlisted at every school,          to offer counselling, training, support and advice.

7            You have released several other books.  These are all children’s books?  Please tell us about them.

         A:   The sequel, 'Me and Him:  A Guide to Recovery' is two books          in one.  A mental health self-help manual sharing wellness                        strategies.  PLUS a memoir from the carer's perspective.

8           You have even toured with and for them.  How do you enjoy that and the reaction of your audiences?

A:   I've toured on a local level only.  I'm blessed to have supporters who come along to hear me speak at events about mental health recovery and my bullying experiences.

My tour to the USA was a photo tour with snaps taken of me holding 'Bailey Beats the Blah' at different locations.

9           Have you always wanted to write?  Or, as a child and teen, was there something else you wanted to do?
         A:    Writing is my very recent occupation.  When I was a child and teenager, my only focus was to be the best school teacher I could be.

In 2006 after I was released from a psychiatric hospital I joined a local writer's group and I signed up to long term writing courses.  Learning everything about the craft of writing.

10          What do you do in your ‘spare’ time?

 A:  I spend my days writing,spreading the news about recovery and empowerment.  First thing in the morning, I take a brisk walk and meditate.  On Sundays I head for the rainforest.  I tramp beneath the lush ferns and palms, breathing in the oxygenated air.

11        You have been interviewed considerably through the media.  Please tell us about that.

         A:  In 2012 ABC radio interviewed me on the launch of 'Me and Her:  A Memoir of Madness'.  In 2013 Today Tonight interviewed me on Violence in Schools.  Several magazines and newspapers have interviewed me, even Alwatan newspaper from the Middle East.

12         You are married.  Your partner has been a great support and help?

         A:  Steve supported me throughout my illness and my recovery.  I would not have recovered from parent-teacher bullying, PTSD and bipolar disorder without his love and guidance.

13       Who and/or what inspires you?

         A:  I’m drawn to inspiring people who speak out on social issues.              People who lead others despite the opposition they face.
              I’m inspired by the resilience of the human spirit.
              We can turn our lives around and start anew.

14        What are your aspirations for the future?

A:  To keep writing thought provoking books for kids and grown-ups.  The universe will let me know which direction I am to follow next.

15        What DID your husband, Steve, finally divulge to you?

A:  At the psychiatrist’s office, my husband Steve finally divulged secrets he’d kept from me for six years.  The whole story is revealed in 'Me & Him: A Guide to Recovery'.

16         what is in the pipeline for Karen Tyrrell?

A:  I’m working on several sequels to 'Bailey Beats the BLAH'.
Plus a chapter book with a strong anti-bullying message.

17         Do you have a message you would like to share with the world?

                  A:  You can recover from bullying and empower yourself to                   live the happiest, most fulfilling life again!

Links:    Website


  1. Thanks Lannah for interviewing me on how I turned my Bullying experiences around. Thanks for your in-depth questions. Hope readers out there can be encouraged to empower themselves ... Karen :)

  2. Great interview! Looking forward to reading more about Bailey.

    1. Thanks Melissa, for dropping by to check out the interview.
      Look forward to reading your interview too.
      Us anti-bullying campaigners are gaining strength!!!