My life was mainly about just merely surviving each day to get to the next, pretty much without purpose or direction. I get out of bed each day now, fully inspired by the joy of my children, to put forth the best effort to make life as happy as I can for my kids, provide them with the best childhood I can, and use every minute to build a solid foundation for their future.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I home-school my two children, we go on quite a few field trips, I love to paint, film my kids for a true-life tv show for The Autism Channel, act as my son's agent by trying to get my son as many interviews as I can, I also manage getting his children's books to as many kids in children's homes and hospitals as I can, and I color. Yep, I am helping my son turn his books into cartoons for The Autism Channel, so I have to marker over his crayon to make his drawings pop for the books and for tv. I also write the scripts from his book for the cartoons, so even in my breaks from writing, I am still writing. If I ever manage to clear a whole day, I prefer to spend it with my kids at the beach, or camping.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first thing I ever wrote was a poem. I loved to write poetry as a child and through my teen years. One of my poems was published in the year book, but it was my least favorite poem. This bothered me, so I started writing songs. I sold a song to a local metal band when I was a teen so I thought that was pretty cool at the time. I sometimes wish I would have stayed with that line of writing, but I didn't. I went back to poetry, then took to writing articles and ghost writing for pro fighters online. One day I decided to take a poem about my brutal childhood and elaborate on it into a whole book. That's my first and only book.
What is your writing process?
My book started as a poem. It's about my brutal life, so there were a lot of tears, even a period of acute alcoholism. Half way through the book I noticed I was doing more crying and drinking than writing, because the content was just too painful to relate. I took a break. The break turned into a year. I started to feel like a failure because I hadn't finished, so one day I got my laptop out and just got it all out of my mind and into print as fast as I could. I have no plans to write another book, but I am writing a screen play, so my process now is to go until I hit my first "um". If my brain has to pause to say, "um", I take that as a sign to walk away and let my brain run through some thoughts fully before I go back to typing it up.
Do you ever have great ideas, and then forget some or most of it? Or do you always have a memo book or something handy to capture thoughts?
I forget what I am doing while I am doing it, so when writing I leave a notebook and a pen laying out in the kitchen, and one in the other end of the house on the bookshelf. Now, no matter which end of the house I am in, or what I am doing, I can jot down notes. I've even been known to take a notebook and pen to write notes while I am in the tub. I find the best ideas come at the most inconvenient time so I try to be as prepared as I can be.
What is the one thing you want everyone to take away from reading your book?
First of all my story should help other people heal, who have been through similar events. Sharing my story gives a voice to those who can not or just have not shared their story. If they come away with anything, I would hope it would be solace in the knowledge that they are not alone. I would also like people to get the notion to simply be nicer to each other. A lot of the people who have been ugly, mean, or rude to me in my life, probably would not have been if they had known that I was already being destroyed at home. I want my book to comfort the soul of my fellow survivors, give hope to current victims, and touch the heart of those who maybe aren't as kind as they could be.
Do you find it easier for you to raise a child with Asperger’s syndrome knowing what it's like? Or harder because you have Asperger’s syndrome yourself and still face personal challenges?
Both actually. I find it easier to understand how he feels, or would feel about something. I feel a deeper level of compassion for him because I know how he feels. At the same time, it's difficult for me to do certain things I need to do on his behalf. I often seek out guidance from a friend who is a parent and neurotypical. I have two wonderful best friends, one is not a parent and has Asperger's, my other best friend is a parent and is neurotypical. I find this to be the perfectly balanced support system.
What do you read for pleasure?
Nope. I hate to read, but I love to write. I always wonder if there are other people who love to write but hate to read, or if it's a trait of Asperger's or from having poor vision or what. I just know I feel weird telling people I love to write but hate to read. They tend to look at me funny.
How would you respond to an offer from someone to erase one of the bad events that you have experienced in your life, as if it had never happened?
My wonderful kids have asked me that question, many different ways, many times. My answer is the same every time. To change one event, even one moment, would change who I am, which could change the blessings I have in my life now, and I couldn't risk that.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Actually, because I refuse to conform to traditional writing, I have been denied marketing afforded other artists who also offer their book for free. My book was written to have a certain type of effect on the reader. To this end, there are no paragraphs, no punctuation, and I refuse to change this format to conform to pre-set algorithms just to get some free exposure. My book is out there, it reaches the people who read it so deeply that they tell their friends to read it. My book will make it's way around the globe all by itself without me pushing it through.
Where do the proceeds of your book go?
What Didn't Kill Me is free on e-book, but I am currently looking for specific charities to work with as far as the print version is concerned. I'm willing to give 90% of the proceeds of my print book sales to any charity dealing with child abuse, autism, PTSD, or animal rescue.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.
"How can you have a bright, happy future with one foot stuck in the mire of such a dark, unhappy past? You find any way to over-come, reconcile, forgive, let go of the pain, and help others do the same.