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Book Writing SIG – September 2023

September 13, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

$10.00 – $32.50


Topic: Writing the Book That Demands Your Attention

Moderator: Kim O’Hara, Book Coach

Guest Speaker: Karen Brenner, Author

CCEs: 0.75 Core Competencies, 0.75 Resource Development

Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Time: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM Pacific Time

Location: Virtual meeting via Zoom.us / Your link to join the conference will be sent after you register. Remember to login before registering for the event.




When we launch a book, expectations are pre-set by our peers, family, or potential readers about what our voice says based on how we look and who we are. Characters that may look or sound like us would be the most obvious choice. We have to be strong to forge our own voice in literature, even if the characters we are called to write are not of our same skin color, or economic status, or have yet to follow similar life paths. We are often confused as to why we are called to write a character, but often we have been influenced by our upbringing, where we live, and the interactions we have with others who also don’t look like us.

In the publishing industry, writing in the voice of who you are not in gender identification, sexual preference or race, or about topics that are not obviously your platform, can be construed as appropriation of other people’s cultural struggles. While it is critical to provide a platform and space to marginalized voices, authors also have to be true to what their writing muse calls to create.

Karen Brenner, our guest author this month, was struggling to go forth with her book Trinity Rivers Trilogy when she was in the voice of a young Black woman until she heard an author on Terri Gross (NPR) who was a white male talk about his books he wrote with a young Black teen main character.

Even though Karen grew up in the Jim Crow South, she was afraid people would say she didn’t have the perspective to write her main character Birdsong’s story. As the moderator, and writing a book that centers on buying a home as a single woman in South Los Angeles in a predominately Black and Brown neighborhood, I also experienced feedback from the publishing industry that I didn’t have the right to write about places or characters that were not of my culture or color.

Finding this surprising, I felt the calling to speak more on this topic and open up the conversation about who we are called to write about and why it’s okay if it doesn’t make obvious sense. Some of my favorite fiction books are written about places where the author did not grow up and did not experience the war/conflict/family dynamics, yet they wrote the characters with depth and skill.

We will do break-out rooms to write about a character you don’t think you have permission to develop and offer support and insight to these characters.

Upon conclusion, attendees will:

  • Be okay with writing characters that don’t look or sound like them.
  • Trust the characters that come to them.
  • Stand behind the voice that they want to write.
  • Tap into their own life with fiction.


About Karen Brenner

Karen Brenner writes novels that her grandchildren are not allowed to read! They are the stories of generations of families who’ve struggled with the beauty, the betrayal, the brutality of love. The characters in her books are people you’ll want to cheer for or punch in the face. But you will never, ever forget them. You will find these people in her debut novel, Appaloosa Sky, (published in 2019 when she was 72) and her second book, Trinity Rivers Trilogy (published in February, 2023 when she was 75).

Karen and her husband Tom published the books You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello: The Montessori Method for Positive Dementia Care and The Montessori Method for Connecting to People with Dementia. They have traveled all over the United States speaking on dementia.



About Kim O’Hara

Book Coach to Best Sellers® Kim O’Hara brings her decades-long knowledge of the art of writing books to coaches, leaders and executive clients who, when writing about their journey, illuminated and inspired readers through their narrative. Called a book sherpa, ride and die, BFF, miracle maker, and guardian angel by her clients, Kim provides clarity to hopeful authors about their purpose in writing a book and a foundational structure to execute their vision to a wider audience. Kim’s clients’ books have appeared on the Wall Street Journal Top Ten Business Books and USA Today top one hundred, as well as top non-fiction and business books in Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Her clients’ books have been distributed by top publishers including Penguin Random House.

Her two-decade career in Hollywood as a movie producer and screenwriter adds that special edge of storytelling and crafting a story that entertains as well as evokes emotion. She is a sought speaker at women’s leadership conferences and is a contributing expert for top business publications on book writing. She hosts a successful podcast, You Should Write A Book About That.™

As an Author/Essayist, Kim O’Hara’s most recent piece was published in the LA Times L.A. Affairs: I have a thing for writing tender messages to unavailable men. She was published in 2022 in the prestigious literary journal Umbrella Factory for the piece I Now Know Your Name, a commentary on the 30 year anniversary of the L.A. Riots. She was featured in Rebecca Minkoff’s monthly column You Can’t Make This Shit Up, as well as Best Self Magazine. Her book No Longer Denying Sexual Abuse: Making The Choices That Can Change Your Life was published in February 2023 through BQB/WriteLife. A public and vocal advocate for sexual assault of any kind, she currently hosts a teaching series No Longer Abused to help survivors heal around the world, featuring prominent authors and speakers. Her column – Inner Circle – published three times a week.

You can find Kim at kimohara.com as well as kimoharabooks.com.







September 13, 2023
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
$10.00 – $32.50
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