Rhiannon Elton talks to award-winning children’s author Karen Tyrrell. Rhiannon, herself an author of fantasy detective novels and series, The Wolflock Cases, says this: “Reading Karen’s memoirs brought me to tears several times. I felt like I cried with her and for her. Seeing her grow through her work as she recovered (from mental illness), and then seeing her pantomimes for school kids bring a bright light to your heart. She is truly a woman living her truth and loving her life. Like her beautiful, clever Songbird, Karen knows what is right in her heart and you and your children can rally with her as you turn each page. Our Logan schools are a brighter, kinder place because of her.”
Who are you? What gets you up in the morning?
Karen Tyrrell: I’m an award-winning child empowerment author, storyteller, performer, video book reviewer and writing workshop presenter. I write empowering books to help kids live strong, stop the bully, and care for the environment. Each day, I’m thrilled to work on creating books, school talks, and video book reviews on YouTube.
What inspired you to become an author?
When I was a school teacher, parents at my school bullied and harassed me to the breaking point and beyond. I recovered in a mental health facility, writing Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness sharing my journey from madness to recovery. The next year, I wrote Me and Him: A Guide to Recovery with my hubby, Steve Tyrrell, sharing how to stress less, sleep better and stay well. I won several mental health achievement awards.
What books have you written so far and what do you love about writing them?
My acclaimed books include: Song Bird series: Song Bird Superhero, The Battle of Bug World, Rainforest Rescue, Great Barrier Reef Rescue, and Super Space Kids series share messages of bully prevention, resilience and caring for the environment: bees, trees and seas.
STOP the Bully, Bailey Beats the Blah, Harry Helps Grandpa Remember and Ready Set Discover Logan won grants and support.
I love writing books that make a difference in children’s lives.
Do your characters have real life inspiration? What resonates with you most about your favourite characters?
My real-life experiences inspired every character and every book. My book characters face challenges with a sense of humour and fervent determination to never, ever give up.
Step-by-step, they resolve their problems and become stronger, wiser and more resilient.
Where do you draw your inspiration for your books from?
From my own personal experiences and inspiring people like Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg. Thanks to Cr Miriam Stemp and Ali Strachan for encouraging Logan writers.
Who’s your audience and what’s your favourite way of connecting with them?
School children are my beloved audience. I love visiting schools with hubby Steve to present storytelling and reader’s theatre with costumes, props, humour and interaction. I love answering children’s questions and inspiring them to read and write stories.
What’s coming up next for you?
In August, Steve and I won an Arts Queensland grant to tour Winton and Longreach, researching and writing Song Bird Drought Rescue. It focusses on saving Aunt Matty’s sheep station from the drought while solving the mysteries surrounding Destructo, the environmental villain, and the dinosaurs. I’m working on several books to empower children.