Kerry Docherty joins Zibby to talk about her new picture book Somewhere, Right Now, which was inspired by the range of emotions we all felt during the Covid lockdown. The two discuss Kerry’s background in mindfulness and how she wove her teachings into the book, as well as why she decided to shift from her own small business to help her family start Faherty Brand which is one of Zibby’s favorite brands. Kerry also shares the significance of her role as Chief Impact Officer at the company and the major changes happening in her life. Shop the store here!


Zibby Owens: Welcome, Kerry. Thank you so much for coming on “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books.”

Kerry Docherty: So happy to be here.

Zibby: This is so fun for me. We did the launch event for Princess Charming together, along with some other fabulous women children’s book authors, which of course, is only one little aspect of all of us, and particularly all of you. I was able to talk to you about your book then. Now I’m excited to dive in even more to the book and your life and everything exciting.

Kerry: All the things. All the things all at once.

Zibby: Of course, the best part — maybe not the best part, but a great part is that we have the same publisher, Flamingo Books, and the same editor, Margaret Anastas, so I feel like we are book siblings in a way, which means we’re family. There you go.

Kerry: Mutual friends from the Sanders .

Zibby: Yes, of course. That too. I could’ve led with that. Let’s talk about your book to start. Tell listeners about your book, how it became a book, what the main messages are. Which kids should definitely read this book?

Kerry: As my four-year-old says, Rigs, he said, “This book is about feelings,” which pretty much sums it up. I wrote the book during COVID when we were stuck inside and dealing with a lot of stresses. During the day, each of us was having difficult feelings. The book is really about a family, a son, a daughter, and parents, who, throughout the day, either are frustrated, angry, sad, or exhausted. In it, the family members acknowledge that in each other and then also remind each other that somewhere right now something beautiful is still happening. That’s the title of my book, Somewhere, Right Now.

Zibby: I think I have had all four of those emotions even this morning before nine o’clock.

Kerry: For me, it was really important to have a kids’ book where the parents had feelings. The dad is sad. The mom’s exhausted. I think it’s important for our children to know that their parents are also human and also go through everything, and this idea of normalizing how we feel. I even have noticed it with my kids. I have a six-year-old and a four-year-old, a lot of temper tantrums, going through all the things. When I’m like, “You know what? I too get frustrated at that,” I see something shift in them. Oh, wow, these feelings don’t just belong to me. This is a part of being human. That’s really something that I wanted to convey. My background had been in mindfulness, and so I read a lot of kids’ books about mindfulness. This was just my lens and my offering in the world of parenting and visualizations and acknowledgment of feelings.

Zibby: Thank you for helping out the rest of us with this and giving a tool to put in our toolbox when our resources, emotionally, are completely diminished. I feel like this book really, really comes in handy and is so helpful for everyone. Wait, go back to your career in mindfulness because that’s so cool to even have as a career. Go back to growing up. Give us your backstory, where you grew up and what you wanted to be when you grew up and how you ended up in this field.

Kerry: I grew up in Buffalo, New York. My mom was a yoga teacher really before yoga was so mainstream. She would always make us listen to chanting on our way to school and always had a gratitude journal, all the things. At a young age, I was embedded in some of these resources that I didn’t know were mindfulness at the time, but they were. Then went to college, played a sport. I felt very competitive all the time. That type A part of me was always on high alert.

Zibby: Wait, what sport? Slow down.

Kerry: Lacrosse. Then I went to law school. I think it was in law school when I realized, wow, I stress a lot. I went to Pepperdine Law School, but UCLA has an institute on mindfulness called the Mindful Awareness Research Center. I started training there just on my own accord. I had been working with human rights and social justice. Having that mindfulness tool just for myself felt really grounding. Then after law school, I was clerking for a judge. My judge said to me one day, “Would you ever do mindfulness with some of these defendants? We have a bunch of young defendants who are charged with drug crimes. It might be helpful for them.” I started doing mindfulness with some of the defendants. Then my judge said, “My daughter actually has performance anxiety. She’s studying for the SATs. Would you do mindfulness with her?” I said, “Sure.” Then there was an opportunity to teach mindfulness for continuing legal education for lawyers. By the time I ended my clerkship, I had this full-fledged mindfulness business, which I called The Mindful Mentors. This was in 2010. I did that for two years and really thought that would be my trajectory. Then as you know, my husband and brother-in-law, their dream was to start a clothing company, Faherty Brand. The month they started, they just looked at me and they said, “We need help.” That really shifted my career in mindfulness to retail. Now we have a clothing company, but I still incorporate mindfulness.

Zibby: It’s not just a clothing company. It’s one of my most favorite brands ever. She just slid that in really casually.,, go check it out.

Kerry: Our number-one ambassador. I love it.

Zibby: I probably am. I’m probably keeping your business afloat during the toughest times. It’s so great. I love the clothes. They’re so comfortable. I just finished packing for the weekend. I was like, oh, I love this shirt. I love these pants.

Kerry: It’s high quality. It’s comfort. We’re at a place — I know you feel like this too with your business and all your different passions. We’re no longer compartmentalized. How we show up is how we show up. Whether it’s in our writing or whether it’s in the businesses we’re running or whether it’s with our team, all of us are, especially after the pandemic, we’re all just in it at all times. For me, it’s like, how am I showing up as a leader? How are we incorporating mindfulness into retail and clothing and making smart decisions? Whether I’m writing a book or sitting in a Zoom meeting about marketing, I think it’s bringing our full selves to all of these decisions.

Zibby: A hundred percent. It’s so important. I feel like it really comes through no matter what the product is. You can tell.

Kerry: Intention, yeah, for sure. I love to hear that. We are obsessed about the details and what we put out into the world.

Zibby: You are chief sustainability officer? No, I did it wrong.

Kerry: Chief impact.

Zibby: Chief impact officer, talk about that.

Kerry: Making sure our sustainability efforts are where we want them to be, a lot of it comes down to supply chain, packaging, all that non-sexy stuff, but that’s super important. Then around our culture, what’s it like to come to work at Faherty every day? Our community events, we have an event series called Sun Sessions, which is around good people spreading good vibes. We do a lot of stuff with musicians, different workshops. We’ve had retreats in the past. I do have my background in law, so I still do that a little bit. Although, I’m really ready to retire from the law. Those are all the things I have my hands in. It’s our name on the brand, so I think it’s so important for us that we — I never legally changed my name, but it’s so important for us. It’s a direct reflection of who are, the things that we put out into the world.

Zibby: That’s so funny. There’s so many people who didn’t legally change their name but go by their husband’s name. Have you found that? I feel like more and more people are just like, oh, yeah, I didn’t change my name. They don’t make it very easy. I did change my name both times, probably because I really couldn’t wait to get rid of my original last name. I was like, I keep trading up here in my last names. They definitely don’t make it easy. Maybe this is a new long-term trend. I don’t know. I relate to having your name on the brand as I’m trying to start this publishing company, Zibby Books. I’m like, oh, my gosh, if people don’t like the book, are they not going to like me?

Kerry: I know. I know.

Zibby: I’m so worried. Maybe I should’ve named it something else. Too late, I guess. Is it too late? Maybe I could still change it.

Kerry: I think it’s great. I think it helps people trust brands and trust companies when someone is the face of it. It’s also more pressure, but I do think that human element is so important. So many people adore and love you already and trust your voice and trust the people you’re interviewing in the podcast and the work that you’re putting out. I think it only adds value.

Zibby: I hope so. I love our books. Everything has to be so — there’s so many elements. This is a lot more challenging than I thought. Anyway, go back to, then you were going through this experience, but why write a book? Had you always wanted to write a children’s book? Have you written other stuff? Have you written curriculums for mindfulness?

Kerry: I wrote curriculums for mindfulness. I’ve always been an avid writer, a journaler. I wrote my own obituary when I was eight years old. I’m a Gemini, so there’s a part of me that’s optimistic and compassionate and mindful. Then deep down, I’m a sick fuck and horror stories and ghost stories and all that kind of stuff. I had met our mutual publisher and editor, Margaret, when I had a mindfulness blog. She said, “You know, I think you have a kids’ book in you.” I said, “I think I do too.” That was 2011. Ten years had passed. Then during COVID, I wrote an Instagram post on Faherty Brand. It was a picture of a whale swimming with her calf through the sea. I said, “I know things are hard right now, but somewhere right now, this is happening.” Margaret called me and said, “That’s the name of the book. I know the illustrator. You have six weeks to write it.” I was like, “Okay.” Then I wrote a draft. She was like, “This is not what I want. Start over. You have five weeks to write it.” It felt like this book was both twelve years in the making and also fell onto my lap at the same time.

Zibby: Margaret is the fairy grandmother sprinkling the children’s book dust around the world.

Kerry: She really is.

Zibby: Everybody gets a book. You write a book. You write a book. It’s amazing.

Kerry: I know we’ve talked about this a little bit. I’m a part of Brooklyn Writers Collective, which is an amazing writing group based in Brooklyn. Although, it’s now via Zoom for anyone who wants to join. I do feel like I have an adult book in me. I don’t know if that’s a collection of essays or if it’s poetry or if it’s a memoir. I don’t even know if it’s ever going to be something I’d put into the world, but it is something on the side that I find joy in writing. Who knows? It could be two years from now or fifteen.

Zibby: That’s really exciting, though.

Kerry: I feel like without a deadline, you can just keep writing away.

Zibby: Would you like me to give you a deadline?

Kerry: You’re like, four months.

Zibby: How does January 1st sound?

Kerry: I guess I just don’t know what it is yet. When you were writing Bookends — I know you’ve written a couple different iterations. How do you know what you’re writing? It became clear it was a memoir?

Zibby: That’s a good question. Bookends came out of this memoir I wrote called 40-Love about falling in love again at forty, but that was only part of it. Then it also came out of a memoir I wrote called Off Balance, which was about a different part of my life from — we had talked about Stacey earlier — when she had passed away on 9/11 and all of that. Then of course, there was my whole life in between. I was trying to make sense of it. I had two discarded memoirs. Then I was like, there has to be a better framework. I tried to sell it on proposal. Then that didn’t work a couple times because, you’re right, I didn’t know how exactly to do it. I knew the story, but the story felt so big at times until I figured out this way of introducing books. For whatever reason, that made it all click for me of how I would do it as a theme. The first drafts, everything I did, I had to write four times. The first is just like, I think I want to do this. Well, okay, now that I did that, I can see that, really, the book should look like this. I’m going to try that and then do it again. Then you’re like, oh, now that I have that one, it would actually be really great if it was like this. Maybe now it should be a novel, or whatever. I think the first draft you just have to get out, but what do I know?

Kerry: How’d you structure it? Is it chronological? Is it thematic?

Zibby: Bookends is chronological. It’s structured around the books I read at the time. Each chapter has different books that I read while I was doing it. There’s a book list at the end. I did it in sections actually just by years, like 1976 to 1982 or something like that. Then I realized at the end that there were the exact number of sections as there were letters in Bookends, so each section starts with one of those letters.

Kerry: I love that.

Zibby: Then each chapter title is the title of a book that I was reading in the chapter.

Kerry: So smart.

Zibby: Who knows? The first thing is just getting the story out. What is it that’s so compelling, and why? For me, I’m like, I have to tell this story. It was so crazy to me, what happened with Stacey and everything. I have to let other people know. I want her memory to live on. There are all these reasons why you feel like the stories you want have to get out. I feel like, start with those. What do you have to get out? What do you feel like, if this were cut out of the book, it’s not even worth doing the book? Then just start with that section.

Kerry: Then it’s telling the truth the entire time.

Zibby: Well, yeah.

Kerry: Sometimes telling the truth affects other people in our families, in our lives. I think for me, that’s what I’m balancing. The best part of stories are those when we’re in our rawest, truthful form. Also, we are a character in our own book. Are we a trusted narrative? We’re sharing what happened, but other people might think differently about what we’re sharing. It’s all the things I think about when I’m writing. For now, I’m just like, be honest and write.

Zibby: Yes. I put in the beginning of Bookends, I was like, “If you were involved in any of these scenes and you remember it totally different, you’re probably right. This is just how I remember it. This is my best guess at it. Sorry. I’m sure you’re right.” You can always take stuff out. You can go in and do a surgical extraction of any character you want, but not until you write them. That’s so fun you’re doing that. That’s great. Amazing. What else do you have on your slate aside from basically running a business and writing a memoir and managing two kids?

Kerry: We’re about to move. We’re leaving Brooklyn. I have been in Brooklyn for fifteen years. We’re moving out of Brooklyn to the Jersey Shore July 1st. I’m gearing up for that big move.

Zibby: You’re going to live permanently on the Jersey Shore?

Kerry: Yes. We’re moving in with my mother-in-law at our family house that we go to every weekend. It’s the town where my husband grew up, Spring Lake. It feels big. It really feels like I’m closing a chapter of my New York City life. During the pandemic, our kids — we just need them to run. We need a backyard. It’s a lot of pressure, I feel like, to raise a kid in the city. I get home from six thirty, and I’m exhausted. They’re like, “Can we go to the park?” I’m like, “I can’t take you to the park right now.” If I had a backyard, I can open up, and you could run out. It’ll be a big shift, but I think we’re ready for it.

Zibby: Basically, this is all what we will do to not have to go to the park at six thirty at night.

Kerry: Oh, my god, if I have to go to this “blank” park again. One of the things I’m also writing a lot about is just parenting. I am obsessed with my children, but mothering, for me, is really hard. I find it so boring. It’s so boring. I don’t love things that have needs. My kids always have needs. They’re like, “Mom, we’re hungry.” I’m like, “I fed you four hours ago.” They’re like, “I know, but kids eat three meals a day.” I’m like, “What a good point. Here we go.” I think being in a smaller town where there’s just more kids around and they have more autonomy to be out and about will be better for everyone.

Zibby: I love that. That’s really funny. I have high hopes for the memoir if you continue to write like that. Talking about, parenting is boring, that could be a whole chapter. So funny.

Kerry: I kind of want to write a book called The Lazy Wife and talk about being both a lazy wife and lazy mom and explore all of those things . We’ll see. Maybe I’ll start with an article first.

Zibby: Don’t do lazy because there is a woman, Kendra Adachi, and she is The Lazy Genius. Now she has The Lazy Genius Kitchen. She’s a best-selling author. I would pick a different word.

Kerry: Noted. Okay, good.

Zibby: She’s claimed lazy, even though, of course, she’s super productive.

Kerry: Love it. I have to read that.

Zibby: It’s good. She has a podcast, too, on the same network as mine, on Acast. You’re welcome, Kendra, for the shout-out. You can listen to me on her podcast. You can listen to her on my podcast. Do you have any advice for aspiring children’s book authors?

Kerry: Oh, man. There’s the act of writing because it brings you joy and you have a story to tell, and I think that’s the most important part. It’s sharing with the people you love. Yes, maybe you get published. Maybe you don’t. I think so many people, when it comes to writing, it’s about getting the book out in the world. There’s also ways to get the book out in the world without having a formal editor or formal illustrator. Actually, one of my kid’s favorite book is — Laura Sanders’ husband did a children’s book and published it on Amazon. I just think writing is such a beautiful gift. Storytelling is such a beautiful gift. We don’t have to pin the success of what we’re writing on just getting it published. I think a lot of people have kids’ books in them. It’s also really hard to get published. Then once you’re published, then you have to sell the book. People are always like, are you writing another kids’ book? I’m like, I guess it depends how many books I sell. Write because you love to write. Share it with friends. Go to FedEx and print it. Put a cover on it. Spread the gift that way. If you do get lucky to have an agent or a publisher, that’s amazing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the story you’re telling isn’t worthwhile if that doesn’t happen.

Zibby: Great advice. Very good. Kerry, thank you. Thanks for coming on “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books.”

Kerry: I love that Princess Charming and Somewhere, Right Now are living in the world together.

Zibby: I know. It’s so cute. I love it. Amazing. Thank you. Have a great day. Good luck with your move.

Kerry: Thanks. I’ll see you soon. Bye.

Zibby: Bye.

SOMEWHERE, RIGHT NOW by Kerry Docherty

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