Q-and-A with Local Author and Podcaster Kate Hanley

Hanley has turned her most recent book, How to Be a Better Person, into a podcast.

Photo via Kate Hanley.

Kate Hanley, a freelance writer, personal development coach and yoga teacher, has been covering mindfulness and wellness since 2003. She has written her own books including Stress Less, A Year of Daily Calm and The Anywhere and Anytime Chill Guide, and has turned How to Be a Better Person – her most recent book –  into a daily podcast.


What made you want to How to Be a Better Person?

How to Be a Better Person is my fifth book. I was inspired to write it because in December of 2016, a Marist University poll found that, for the first time ever, ‘be a better person’ was the most popular New Year’s Resolution. This was right after the presidential election, when our country felt so divided. I wanted to help make that impulse a reality and I was lucky enough to have worked with a great editor on my previous book, Stress Less. She and I had a conversation about it and boom… I started writing.


How long did it take you to write the book and what was the process behind that?

I wrote the book in record time – about four months from start to finish – we hustled because we wanted it to come out for the next New Year’s resolution seasons. Because it has 401 distinct ideas in it, it took me about as long to come up with all the ideas as it did to write about them. I wrote in the backs of Ubers, on airplanes and on the couch at the East Side Arts Center where my kids were taking art classes.  The number 401, which is a subtle shout-out to Rhode Island, is a really big number. After about seventy-five I was tired; I still had 326 to go.


Why did you decide to turn your book into a podcast? What does it cover?

I wanted to turn the book into a podcast because podcasts are really taking off right now and so many people are listening to them. Plus, I wanted to reach a new audience. I also wanted to provide a different kind of podcast. Mine comes out five times a week and most episodes are about five minutes long. Five minutes makes it doable, and I thought it was beneficial for my primary audience, which is women in their thirties through fifties who are in the throes of family life while also working full-tilt and probably volunteering in some capacity, too. We all need a pep talk from time to time. I wanted to be that voice for this audience who is doing so much. The podcast has a different theme each day like mindset on Mondays, work and productivity on Tuesdays, wellness on Wednesdays, relationships on Thursdays and finances and fun on Fridays. Once a month, I also do a deeper dive into a particular theme. For the month of February, it is Be a Better Partner Week and it begins on  February 10.


What do you hope to achieve from How to Be a Better Person

Every day we’re faced with multiple situations where we can decide to do the right thing or to succumb to our baser instincts. I hope the book will help people choose the option that helps them be better. I also hope that readers will learn that being a better person doesn’t mean being perfect and that there are so very many ways to be better. There is always more growth available to us, and that is a beautiful thing.


How does this topic relate to overall health?

I cover tips and strategies related to health every Wednesday on the podcast and there is a whole section of tips devoted to health in the book. It’s hard to be a better person if you’re feeling run down and stressed. By taking better care of yourself, it helps you be more of a force for good at work, within your family and in your community. Also, many choices that create better health for you like eating more organic fruits and vegetables, for example, also creates better health for the world around you. There really is no separation between our inner and outer ecosystems.


Where can the book be purchased and what is the name of the podcast?

How to Be a Better Person the book is available at online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, although any local bookstore can order it. It’s also available through the Providence Community Library system. The podcast is called How to Be a Better Person with Kate Hanley, and it’s available on iTunes, Apple podcast, Spotify, Google Play and wherever else you might listen to podcasts. You can also listen to it directly from my website.


For more information or to listen to the podcast, visit beabetterpersonpodcast.com.