Feathers from the Fire


It started with smoke.

It only took a moment for the Driscoll family’s quiet life to catch fire. Disappearances into churches, murmurs of mental illness, and secrets long buried threaten to destroy their once-happy home.

Feathers from the Fire is the soul-stirring tale of one family’s daring attempt to transcend the trappings of fear, stigma, and generational pain by following the signs, leaning on allies, digging for the truth, and holding onto the hope that there is more than meets the eye.

Dr. Karlyn Pleasants has alchemized the wisdom of her twenty- five years of developing therapeutic community programs for individuals with complex mental illnesses and her love of legend and synchronicity into an unforgettable journey that demonstrates the power of curiosity, truth-telling, and love.

What is possible when we look for the stories behind the story?

Download an excerpt.


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What Readers Are Saying

What Readers Are Saying


"Feathers From the Fire by Karlyn Pleasants is visionary but, truly, the novel is firmly a work of literary fiction. This is a character-driven book with the Driscolls thoroughly fleshed out to a degree where Pleasants has breathed life into them. The scenery is often visually beautiful, as seen in ways like the portrayal of Gothic architecture, stained-glass windows, and the shimmering aura within the church. I loved the speculative elements that Pleasants weaves in; mysterious visions, a recondite girl, and the threads of historical events in Geel. For me personally, the standout that makes Pleasants' work extraordinary is her deep use of symbolism. Klare's encounter with the statue of St. Dymphna and a connection to her past, and the weight of family secrets was an absolute scene-stealing moment. The measured hand of a skilled author is what forges a reader's empathy for the characters' experiences, something that Pleasants successfully achieves in this thoughtful novel. Very highly recommended."

~ Asher Syed
Voted A Readers' Favorite


“Dr. Karlyn Pleasants has continuously dedicated herself in the research, education, treatment, and now storytelling of those individuals impacted by severe mental illness. Her heart and unwavering commitment to helping other heals is evident in all that she does. I know this book will inspire and bring healing and validation for so many people. A MUST read!”

~ Megan Harrison, LMFT
Anew Treatment Center


"Feathers from the Fire by Karlyn Pleasants sounds like an incredibly well-crafted and poignant story that delves into family dynamics, trauma healing, and mental health. The author's writing style, with intros at the beginning of chapters and italicized inner monologues, adds depth and intrigue to the narrative. It's impressive to see how the author's expertise as a clinical psychologist shines through, addressing mental illness and generational trauma with sensitivity and realism. The characters seem to be beautifully portrayed, adding to the overall impact of the story. Your enthusiastic recommendation and perfect rating make it clear that this book is a must-read for those who enjoy family-centered and thought-provoking stories. I'm definitely intrigued and looking forward to reading Feathers from the Fire!"

~ Issam Grini
Online Book Club


“This deeply moving work is a must read for anyone interested in the intersection between mental health and spirituality. I loved that the author boldly addresses generational trauma and its damaging effects on families who continue the cycle of repression and secrecy. Through her compassionate style, the author offers hope to her characters and to her readers who may be struggling with healing trauma in their own lives. This book inspired me to work through my own difficult familial relationships and rediscover what is possible when we offer radical acceptance, love and forgiveness. This is a truly unique work in a sea of ordinary. I know I will revisit Feathers from the Fire over the years as a call to action in my own life.”

~ Thomasina Goltzer, M.A.Ed.
Mother, Educator

"Whew! Reading Feathers from the Fire allowed me to release the breath I didn’t even know I’d been holding regarding my own son, my original misunderstandings about his “gifts,” the desire to hide and protect, and all the pat answers and excuses I perpetually had ready for those with questioning looks.

Karlyn’s knowledge, experience, and captivating storytelling ability enabled me to stay engaged and take the incredible journey with the mother in the story. By the end, I was totally intrigued with the historical foundation used for this beautiful work of fiction (causing me to do a little research on my own) and filled with tears of gratitude for the awareness and understanding this book will bring to the world."

~ Theddee Rheyshelle
Grateful Mother, Author, and Storyteller

"What an amazing read! I didn't want to put this book down! The way the author wove history and generational trauma into the Driscoll family's storyline gave me a new awareness of how the past can hold answers to today's family crisis and a better future if we are willing to take a chance and look."

~ Lori Giesey
Author of A Moment In Time and
Collaborator of
You Can’t Make This St*ry Up 

"Feathers from the Fire by Karlyn Pleasants is a medley of family drama and trauma healing with a mystic thread. The story revolves around family and its intricacies. But most of all, it is chock full of life lessons and showcases the value of support and love when dealing with difficult situations.

The author's beautiful writing style is entrancing. Karlyn put a lot of thought into the structure and details in the book. There are profound intros that herald every other chapter and give the reader a clue of what to expect. Also, she italicized the characters' inner monologues, making the story easier to comprehend. In addition, she detailed the inspiration behind the story's themes and elements at the end of the story, which increased my appreciation for the book's premise and depth.

Karlyn's experience as a clinical psychologist comes to the fore in the narration. She did an excellent job portraying the stigma, shame, secrecy, and discrimination associated with mental illness. Her expertise shines through in the way the Driscoll family healing journey was depicted. Before reading the book, I had no idea generational trauma could be passed from one generation to the next in perpetuity if nothing is done to break the circle.

From Karlyn's evocative writing style to the book's profound themes, the story has many endearing qualities. However, the characters are the book's mainstay. Every personality played a vital role in the story. Although Klare's mother wasn't actively present, her presence was felt, and it takes a talented author to accomplish that.

Readers who enjoy family-centered books with depth will treasure the story. It will also be a good choice for anyone interested in stories about mental health with elements of mysticism. For the value I derived from it, I rate Feathers from the Fire 5 out of 5 stars. The story is profound; the editing is pristine, and the narration is smooth and enlightening. I have absolutely no qualms about the book."

~ Ngozi Onyibor
Online Book Club

“Karlyn Pleasants is rewriting the rules of our cultural perception of mental health in this spiritually-dynamic, mystery-driven saga; and the new rules of curiosity, compassion, and leaning in are just what our society needs.

This is an undeniable necessity for those whose being has been stirred from within and by the world beyond and for those who have always known and still have yet to understand that there might be another story behind the story.”

~ Alyssa Noelle Coelho
Bestselling Author of CHOSEN
Co-founder, Saved By Story Publishing

"Feathers from the Fire left me feeling hopeful for those hurting or experiencing the world in a way that deviates from what others consider the norm. The reminder that children inherit the weight of generations and unconditionally love adults anyway brought forth hopeful tears. There's a beauty about it that left me wanting even more of the story behind the story."

~ Sandy Ingle, PsyD
Retired School Counselor

"There's a lot going on in this book that clearly will spare us some knowledge about family, mental illness stigma, generation trauma, and the importance of breaking the cycle. Give it a try if you are interested in such a topic.Very good and detailed review."

~ Rica Concepcion
Online Book Club


Karlyn Pleasants

Karlyn Big

I’m a clinical psychologist, international speaker and trainer, and leading clinical advisor with a whole-hearted commitment to shifting paradigms and rewriting cultural narratives about mental health, healing, and the infinite possibilities available when we believe there is always more to the story.

When I was fresh out of graduate school and as green as they come, I stumbled into exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for and needed—a job in a small therapeutic community working with individuals diagnosed with multiple psychiatric disorders. Its unique philosophy of care was inspired by Native American principles of kinship, shared responsibility, and giving back. Witnessing the healing and restoration that unfolded inside this community of hope, in which each member was considered an integral part of the greater system, was nothing short of miraculous for a group otherwise deemed “chronic” and unlikely to change.

Karlyn Big

This remarkable, eye- and heart-opening experience upended everything I thought I knew about mental health and began shaping my professional career and personal life-path around a desire to create spaces for every human to have this opportunity. For twenty-five years, I’ve helped create thriving therapeutic environments that have supported thousands of individuals and their families successfully build a life of self-management, health, and independence beyond the bounds of psychiatric diagnoses.

Today, I serve as the Chief Clinical Advisor at the Anew Treatment Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. I aim to carry on the fidelity of this deeply transformative model of individual and systemic change that promotes personal agency and interpersonal healing through belonging to a community that believes in individuals’ ability to thrive and live a purposeful life.

In my private outpatient practice, much of my clinical lens is grounded in attachment theory and I prefer to walk in the world of intergenerational transmission of stories—the tales, experiences, beliefs, and traditions passed along through systems. Leaning on narrative techniques to help others put voice to that which needs to be spoken and heard, I support the revising of family roles and personal scripts to create a new life-storyline. I hold certifications in clinical trauma treatment as well as in Jungian psychotherapy, where active imagination, individuation, and harmonious integration reign supreme.

In 2021, I had the honor of writing the foreword for the collaborative project You Can’t Make This St*ry Up, centered on the power of synchronicity and healing through story. In 2022, I joined forces with fellow storytellers, messengers, and guides to launch Saved By Story, a one-of-a-kind publishing house that compassionately supports individual and collective healing through stories of transformation and hope. In March 2023, my debut novel, Feathers from the Fire, will arrive earthside.

My life’s journey also includes spending time in the comforting clime of San Diego with Kerry, my ever-entrepreneurial husband, and Katie, my Marvel Multiverse, crystal-cleansing, meal-making partner in crime. You might also find me seeking out the nearest source of live music, waxing philosophical with the dogs, trying to teach my koi fish the value of sharing, and reminding my glowering turtle that his fake scowl isn’t fooling anyone.


Are we the right fit for your story
and journey to saving the world with it?

Are we the right fit
for your story and
journey to impacting
the world with it?

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