questions

How long did it take you to write Heart of Miracles?

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About 6 years, on and off. Ironically, I kept on making it shorter.

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What are some of your favorite books, and who are some of your favorite writers?

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The two best books that I read this year have been Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. and The Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela.

Generally, I was really influenced by stuff I read in college and in my 20s. I was a government major, and I had some great tutors that introduced me to great stuff, great non-fiction writers like Ian Buruma, Pico Iyer and Gore Vidal. I also like: Paulo Coehlo, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Elif Batuman, Dan Brown and David Sedaris.

One of my favorite books ever is Mating by Norman Rush. Other unforgettable books are Breath Eyes Memory by Edwidge Danticat and Tree of Smoke by Dennis Johnston. These books will touch you in places where you didn’t even know you had a heart.

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How have your experiences changed your life?

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I’m more interested in matters of the heart – compassion and healing. I believe in the healing miracle of Jesus Christ, and that there is a “listening God.” I believe in God’s love and protection, and that it’s amplified if we ask to receive it.

I would also like to see medical philosophy progress. Patients need to be treated more holistically. We should be looking more toward energy work, mental work, lifestyle examination and plant-based medicine for solutions. We need to understand our own bodies and be checking in with ourselves so that we can balance before a condition manifests.

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Do you believe in reincarnation?

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I think it’s a highly probable explanation for what’s going on here. I’ll go as far to say I do, yes. I often feel instant connection with people, and I feel that “soul recognition” could be the best explanation for that. We’ll never really know until we cycle out of here, and there’s beauty in that mystery. Is a movie ever fun if you know the ending?

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What are some of the biggest lessons that you learned?

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Patience. Appreciate the kind people the cross your path. Use your life and energy – thoughts, words, and actions – wisely.

“Slow and steady wins the race,” is something I kept hearing in my mind for a long time. I hope it will inspire other people to be patient and keep putting one step forward.

Love yourself to the core.

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Advice for writers?

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Write without judging yourself. Discipline yourself.

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Seekers?

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Ask your questions and wait for the response, because there will always be one.

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Any advice for someone who wants to travel but feels they don’t have the money?

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Ask, pray, visualize, expect, prepare.

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Fantasy cast for the movie of Heart of Miracles?

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Paul Giamatti as my dad.

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Favorite place in the world?

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The Philippines.

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Favorite place in the book?

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O Jerusalem!

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Where to next?

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Galapagos Islands.

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Message for humanity?

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Feed the hungry souls. Start with the children.

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Ultimate dinner guest?

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Jon Stewart.

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Motto?

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Appreciate the blessing.

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What are you doing now?

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I took a year to continue my studies. Right now I am working on a book that for both children and adults (kind of like Harry Potter) with a main character that is a dreamy little girl.

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Albums and books would you take with you to a deserted island?

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Albums:
The Essential Leonard CohenAnointed by Way of Light Voices, Sao Vicente by Cesaria Evora, The Beatles’ White Album.

Can I bring a manual on how to build a raft?

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In Heart of Miracles, Karen searches out the wisdom and lives the wisdom to put her mind, body, and spirit back together. She is a new, powerful voice for a community of change in the areas of health care, well-being, and spirituality.
- Donna Karan, Designer and Founder of the Urban Zen Foundation