I write because I have a strong need to make art. I’ve always felt it. My first career was as a professional ballet dancer. Later I took up photography, printmaking, and painting. I began writing after my son was born. When you have a kid and a full-time job you don’t have long stretches of free time. Writing was something I could do whenever I had a few minutes free. I wrote a lot of my first book on my phone.
My family is full of neurodiverse people, including me. I started getting interested in books with neurodiversity representation a few years ago. I read some great books by amazing authors but I still felt like there was room for another perspective, particularly in young adult fiction. I work at a school with students up through 8th grade so YA literature holds a particular interest for me.
I was inspired to write The Place Inside the Storm after reading several blog posts on an amazing site called Disability in KidLit (http://disabilityinkidlit.com). Unfortunately, the site seems to be gathering dust now but there are some excellent posts by Elizabeth Bartmess, Corinne Duyvis, and Bogi Takács about autistic representation in literature and how to do it right. After reading their advice I decided to accept the challenge and see if I could write a book that gets it right. I really wanted to write a book that my son could read when he gets older. I want him to see himself in it, see me in it, and feel empowered to live his life in whatever way seems right to him. I don’t want him to be pressured into conforming. I want him to feel comfortable with who he is.
I hope the book will be meaningful for autistic kids and adults. I also hope neurotypical people will read it and that it will help them gain a better, more nuanced understanding of autism. I would love it if this book was added to middle and high school library collections. In the end, though, I’m just glad it’s out there. Even if just one person reads it and finds a character who represents neurodiversity authentically and powerfully, I’ll be happy.
About the Author
I am a writer and educational technology professional. I grew up in Seattle but have been slowly migrating southward with stops in Portland, Eugene, San Francisco, and now Los Angeles where I live with my family. My first book Old Gold Mountain was released in March of 2018. My second novel The Place Inside the Storm will be out in April 2019.
Till next time,
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