Interview with Melinda Sharma

What's the story behind your latest book?
My first love was the study of the immune system. It was my passion in life, and everything was built around an exciting career in research. When my son was diagnosed with autism, everything changed. I shifted gears and poured all of my efforts into helping him reach his maximum potential. But, the curiosity of a scientist could never be taken from me! The more I listened to my parental instincts, the more I saw that my son suffered from symptoms of an immune system that could not function properly. In fact, he was physically ill with a number of hidden infections. I have been working with families as a compassionate compass, combining my love of the immune system and children with autism to help parents understand that there is hope. A subset of children diagnosed with autism suffer from physical illness, and impaired immune systems. Since there are so many more families who need help than I can consult with on a daily basis, this new book is an effort to get crucial information to parents who will take action to help their kids.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I've always enjoyed writing. As a scientist, it was a means of sharing my discoveries with the world. I also enjoy teaching, so writing is my means of breaking difficult concepts into easily understood words. Just because a subject is scientific doesn't mean it should be written in a dull, uninspiring fashion. I am always deeply moved when I write something about autism that touches a parent, who says, "that was exactly what I needed today." My writing has changed to fulfill an even greater purpose, to give hope to parents that their children have no limits.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love interacting with parents. It inspires me and keeps me going every day! Social media has changed everything. I felt so alone when my child was diagnosed with autism in 2001, so I am very deliberate in interacting with my followers every day to let them know that I care, and that they are not alone! If I can touch one person's life each day, my mission has been accomplished.
What are you working on next?
I have several projects in the works! A very fun book is on the way with co-author, Marcia Hinds, and it will be a printed book. Some additional projects include an e-book on PANDAS/PANS immunology, as well as a book on walking by faith through autism.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I am a total morning person! I jump out of bed before sunrise each day to interact with my followers on Facebook, have my tea, and get ready to greet my children. They are amazing, and are my reasons for being excited every day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
If I am not consulting with families, I am with my children. One of our favorite activities is to go to a local ranch and interact with the horses. I believe strongly in home education and spend much of my time investing in my kids' futures.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes! My first story was called "The Hen That Lived in a House" and I submitted it for publication in second grade! It was rejected. But, fortunately, I have been very successful in publishing my research in prominent immunology journals!
What is your writing process?
I just start. It flows from my fingertips. I am not one who makes an outline or structures anything. Often, the words are there when I open my eyes in the morning, so my most productive writing time is early in the day.
How do you approach cover design?
I always have ideas, but use a professional to execute them.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a very small town in western NY, southwest of Buffalo. In fifth grade, I received an award in a local Shakespeare writing contest. The early recognition of my writing propelled me to refine my skills, and it just became something I enjoyed immensely. I am always happy to review manuscripts, scientific or otherwise, and have done that for other authors who write inspirational books about autism recovery.
If you could change something about the world, what would you change?
I would want people to be happy. Happiness doesn't depend on circumstances. It depends on your attitude, in spite of circumstances. That is probably the number one lesson that having a child with autism has taught me. It's not about what happens, it's about your response to it. Children with autism deeply feel the energy and emotions of those around them, and my child just wanted me to be happy. When my attitude changed, he began to flourish. That was the beginning of our miracle. In order for my child to change, I had to change first.
Published 2016-03-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Parent's Guide to Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANDAS/PANS)
Pre-release—available October 10, 2018. Price: $9.99 USD. Language: English. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / immune system, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / immune system
Children have a mild illness and seemingly overnight, develop symptoms of OCD, possibly with separation anxiety, tics, rage, daytime hallucinations or night terrors, bedwetting, and may be completely debilitated or unable to function. What appears to be a behavioral or psychiatric issue may be "infectious behavior", caused by an immune response gone wrong after common childhood infection.
A Parent's Guide to the Common Immune System Issues in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 18,680. Language: English. Published: April 12, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / immune system, Nonfiction » Parenting » Psychiatric disorders
As the incidence of autism soars, it is evident that a subset of children with autistic behaviors are suffering from treatable, physical illness. Up to 20% of children are recovering and experts cannot explain why. The immune system's health or state of dysfunction deeply impacts neurologic function. This book guides parents to be conversant about infections & immunity with healthcare providers.