Meet Karen Hollett

Karen Hollett, author - Hooray for AidenI was born in 1965 at Joe Batt’s Arm, Fogo Island, Newfoundland. I am the second youngest of a gaggle of kids. My father was a fisherman and jack-of-all-trades. My mother had her hands full raising a very full nest.

School years were quite difficult for me in many respects; due mainly to my stuttering, which began somewhere around age 6. Being a stutterer can be challenging for any child, even under the best of circumstances. But back then, stuttering was less understood, and schools weren’t as equipped to help children who stutter. That’s not to say that I didn’t have some very caring and compassionate teachers, because I did. They helped me cope quite a bit. Mainly though, my most vivid memories of school include lots of teary days caused by teasing and bullying. It was not an overly happy time!

When I graduated from high school in 1984, I couldn’t wait to leave home, and to make a fresh start. I soon landed in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, after brief stops in Ottawa and Calgary. It was in Yellowknife that I met my husband, Jeff. My first and only child, Kennedy (Kenny) was born in 1992. We moved a few times in the mid/late 1990’s, but returned to Yellowknife in 1998, where the three of us live today, along with our dog, Spot.

My current “day job” is with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Population Health Section. Along the way, I’ve had many different jobs – I’ve been a waitress, a daycare worker, a book shop employee, a convenience store clerk, a museum employee, a finance clerk, a department store supervisor and a pizza maker! Incidentally, it was while working as a Little Caesars Pizza store manager, that I achieved my greatest level of fame to date! In those days, I would sometimes wear a full-body “Little Caesar” costume, and deliver pizza to young school children. I was very, very popular – my signature (actually, Little Caesar’s signature) was on the bottom of quite a few paper plates in those days. On one occasion, the paparazzi even showed up – a first grade teacher with a disposable camera!

Career-wise, I’m also quite proud of the 10 years I spent developing and operating a specialty food/gift shop business. My little business received several awards and accolades, and helped me to develop quite a bit of confidence in my abilities. I have to admit that I did let stuttering hold me back somewhat in my early years…..but for some time now, I haven’t let it stand in the way of achieving what I want out of life!

Sometime in early adult-hood, I developed the notion that I’d like to write encouraging, feel-good books for children who stutter……. or really, for children dealing with any type of disability or adversity. I started to mentally draft several story lines, but for years never wrote them down. Life is often quite hectic, and it’s easy to postpone goals and dreams.

Finally, with our son now pretty much self-sufficient, I decided it was time to bring to life some of the stories I’ve been carrying in my head all these years. I started writing my first book, Hooray for Aiden, in 2009, and it was published in April, 2010. Feedback on this book has been quite positive, and has inspired me to write more books for and about children who stutter. I hope to publish my second book in early 2011!

Karen Hollett
May 10, 2010