Category: writing

Resilience – the Gift of Christmas

Resilience – the Gift of Christmas

There is no denying it – 2020 was a year of huge change for many. It was a year that forced us to retreat inward to, quite literally, to stay within the confines of our own homes. For some, the initial measures may have seemed like ‘YAY’ – all the fun and excitement of an extended sleep-over at our friend’s house – or a couple of unexpected days working from home in our PJs. It soon became apparent something much bigger was evolving. 

It’s not helpful to get into politics across the world but I do want to acknowledge the pain and loss, suffered by so many this year. As a Scot living on the East Coast of Australia, I have looked on from afar as my family and friends around the world went into lockdown after lockdown – each one more severe than the last. The toll on mental health, the physical endurance required just to keep going, the strain on relationships, and the inevitable decline in the economy have all been too apparent. 

As writers, it’s our job to document what is happening in our world – from our own viewpoint – with our own voice. In this way, we record our version of history and provide a window for future generations to peer into and, hopefully, learn from. As writers, we can draw on these experiences – yet we also have an opportunity to reframe them in a way that may help build some resilience. It is a tricky balancing act to find the true positives – the unstoried parts of the story – without seeming to diminish or detract from the extent of suffering all around. It requires an understanding of the sensitivities of the human condition. 

Interestingly this is where resilience enters – stage left.

Psychologists define resilience as the process of ‘adapting’ in the face of trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. There are, of course, shades of grey within all of these scenarios. There is a big difference between being short on wages for a few weeks compared to the collapse of the business you had worked the last 10 years to build. Each situation still calls for a degree of adaptability – a certain level of resilience.

We have all had to develop this core strength in 2020 – we have each had to adapt to whichever scenario we have found ourselves in. We can rage against those who seek to keep us locked up or talk about our rights to ‘infect the masses’ being dismantled – or we can decide to reframe the narrative and adapt to the script we’ve been given. One could argue it depends on which character you’re rooting for – you or humanity!

Within those shades of grey, there have been so many ‘extremes’. From the tragedy that continues to unfold in the US or Italy, to simply dealing with empty shelves where Toilet Roll should have been. Sometimes the resilience required is simply to roll our eyes at such a basic level of selfishness on the very outer ripples of that tsunami of trauma.

If you have lost a loved one or lost your income, you may not be in a place to hear this right now, but we are hard-wired as humans to be resilient in the face of such loss.  

That’s not to say there will ever be a silver lining – that would be ridiculous – but there are techniques that can help navigate the range of emotions that come to the surface. In time, journaling or writing about those emotions may also help (I know that sounds so banal right now but I can attest to the power of writing in times of pain). 

Indeed when we explore narrative as a ‘therapy’ we can see at its core the objective is to address the ‘meaning’ we give to our experiences. Narrative therapy helps us build resilience by identifying and enabling an ‘alternative’ story to emerge. That’s not to say a ‘fictional’ story – but a previously ‘unstoried’ part – the part that is hidden behind the emotional experience.

It’s vital to still remember what is good in our world when we are going through grief.

Even for those who have not lost someone in 2020, you may still actually feel a sense of loss and grief or anger. You may feel as though something has been taken from you. Our collective experience as human beings means that even if we did not live the same experience (or suffered the same losses) – we have an experience we can certainly relate to on the same emotional level. So what can you do with that feeling – that experience?

I do believe 2020 really did teach us to go ‘inward’ in terms of discovering who we truly are and what we want our life to look like. For some, it has been a spiritual experience. We have pondered the big questions. Are we happy generally? Do we enjoy sharing the same space with our partners? Do we even like our jobs? Do we want to continue to commute when all this is over? I mean, if your employer gained an extra 2 hours working time from you  – wouldn’t your employer want you to work from home too? Granted that’s not a spiritually-driven transformation but we can’t get too sentimental where productivity is concerned, can we? Or can we? Do we want to do things differently? Will we hug our loved ones a little tighter the next time we are able to see them?

Many have used this time to study online, or adapt their business to the online world – they’ve had to adapt their business to survive – they’ve had to adapt their skillset – to survive. Others have taken up new hobbies – learned to paint or taken writing courses. This all proves how resilient we are if we so choose to focus on a more positive narrative.

In Australia 2019, it felt wrong to celebrate Christmas and New Year because of the catastrophic Bush Fires. The loss of life, the loss of habitat and wildlife was truly devastating and we all felt that collective grief. Yet, the National Parks have filled with green shoots of life again – proving how resilient nature is and how resilient our planet is. It doesn’t take away the pain of what was lost – but it does give some hope that we can learn something (PLEASE GOVERNMENTS ) and move on – progress. Adapt.

My wish for everyone this Christmas and throughout 2021 is the gift of resilience. It can’t change what has happened this year, but we can journey inward and reflect and adapt. As a writer, I hope  2021 will be the year you write that story – or reframe the narrative with a new point of view. Either way, in amongst the debris, I hope you discover the subtle gifts of 2020. Try to find the one good thing you learned – or the difference you made to someone else.  What did you have to overcome in 2020? If you can find one good thing – focus on that – because focussing on the good when everything else is upside down – that’s what builds true resilience.

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Which structure?

Which structure?

Every one of us has a story to tell and every one of those stories is unique. Even if the ‘experiences’ appear similar, the author’s voice, their point of view and the themes they identify in the telling of their story, guarantees that uniqueness. Another differentiator in the writing of our story – specifically Memoir – is the narrative structure used. 

Narrative structure is an aspect of the writing process that must be considered from the very beginning. So how do you work out which structure is best for your Memoir? The answer is – it depends on the story you wish to tell.

If your story is mainly in chronological order – starting at point A, passing through point B before arriving at point C, then chances are ‘Linear’ is the structure for you.

However, if you have a story within a story, you may prefer a Framed structure. If you wish to intertwine two characters or two viewpoints then you may be looking at a Braided structure.

This post isn’t intended to drill down deeply on the matter – simply to raise your awareness that this is something you need to consider before you get started.

Think about the story you wish to tell. Do you know where you wish to begin? Do you know where your story ends? Do you use flashbacks or memories? 

The one piece of advice I would give you is if this is your first book, keep it simple. Linear is often the easiest and most effective because you are taking the reader on that journey – in a straight line. That said, if you are confident and willing to work at it, you can dramatically change the story you are telling, simply by changing the structure.

One Story is not the whole story

One Story is not the whole story

If you have ever taken part in a workshop or perhaps even training at work you will be familiar with ice breaker sessions where you have to stand up and introduce yourself to the rest of the participants.

Love it or loathe it, I use this idea as an exercise to kick things off in my writing workshops. I introduce myself first and I generally use that time to outline some of my writing.  I then invite everyone to write down what they want to say about themselves giving them 100 words to play with. We then go around the room and generally find out why people have chosen to attend a Memoir Writing workshop – and the reasons vary enormously. Sounds straightforward enough I hear you say.

After people have shared their introduction – we then come back to my earlier – resume-style introduction – and I then explain why I introduced myself in such a sterile manner. I want to reassure the audience they are in safe hands, I’m qualified in what I do, I have the necessary experience and I can help them write their story too.

But do they really know me? Do they know my story (or stories)? They know about the one and only story I have presented to them – and at that early stage in our workshop that seems to suffice.

I then go on to share around 4 or 5 more ‘introductions’ that I could have presented, each more emotive, personal and layered than the last. It’s in the sharing of these alternative ‘stories’ that we as a group ‘connect’ – because these are the ‘real’ stories that are often buried or ignored in the quest to present a more ‘together’ and polished version of ourselves.

It’s a very simple exercise demonstrating the framing of a narrative. There is also another lesson here – about being brave and raw when writing Memoir – because these are our human experiences that connect us all.

If you have suffered trauma or injustice in your life, it can feel like you ARE that story – you ARE that ‘abused partner’. You ARE that ‘beaten child’ or you ARE that ‘rape victim’ or you are that nurse that couldn’t heal the person you desperately wanted to heal most.

Sometimes, without even realising it, we absorb the energy of that trauma, and we become that story. If we are abused we become the shame and the unworthiness. If we are a mother or nurse or doctor, then we should be able to heal. If we don’t – then we can absorb and become ‘failure’.

One of the first steps to healing – and rewriting your story – is to realise you are not the sum total of that one story. You are more than one story. You are not the problem. The emotion attached to that external problem that happened outside of you is the problem.

Do you have a story you keep repeating to yourself about yourself? What story do you tell others about yourself? Does that story differ when it comes to relating to friends or strangers? 

We all have more than one story. Sometimes we get caught up in ‘our old story’ to the point we forget or just don’t see our other magnificent and triumphant stories.

Perhaps if your mother was absent emotionally you could change your story from one of abandonment and rejection – to one of ‘resilience’ and ‘compassion’ – the tools you learned as a result of that thing that happened outside of yourself (that thing that isn’t you the human being).

This is the beauty of combining healing with writing – you can literally and figuratively rewrite your story – and it’s not necessarily a work of Fiction – the story is there – you just need to know where to look -or to have someone on your team skilled enough to help you identify it.

If you are interested in taking part in my upcoming ‘What’s your Story?’ Workshops which include Magical Memoir Writing and ‘Giving Trauma A Voice Through Writing’ do drop me a line so I can ensure you notified as soon as dates/venues are available.

evie@lightmygaia.com

Afraid someone might steal your story idea?

Afraid someone might steal your story idea?

Can I be blunt here? Just to save a lot of time? No-one is going to steal your story idea. Generally speaking, people who think others are going to steal their idea, well they tend to be early-days, novice writers (if you catch my drift).

Writers fear many things of course … but they
are normally things like running out of coffee, 
endless rejection, fear of being misunderstood, fear that the changes
you spent all day doing were suddenly lost in a freak technical glitch – or
running out of coffee – and so on.

As a fellow writer myself, I know your idea
will be very important to you. Something you have nurtured, nourished,
protected with lioness-like claws and teeth – it’s your baby after all – but in
its present form your idea is not that important to anyone else. Your idea is
(a) just an idea – a thought in your head and (b) it’s yours … your voice, your
thread, your concepts, your characters, your ‘treatment’, your point of view
that bring that idea to life.

Even if someone was ‘inspired’ by
your idea – they would mould the story in a very different fashion to you.

You can’t copyright an idea – copyright
only covers ‘original works of authorship’. However, if you are worried by such
things, once you have committed your idea to paper, then you have the beginnings
of a paper trail.

Many newbie writers are scared to hand over
their draft manuscript to others who have the expertise to provide advice and turn
those draft notes into a great story with arcs and hooks and a profound take-away
message. My advice to you, if you are one of these writers – let it go … let it
go.

Rest assured if you hand your work over to
a professional writer, ghostwriter, editor, proof reader, designer, publishing
agent or anyone else in the whole world of publishing and word-related activities
– they have their own file of their own ideas. They will have a bottom drawer
full of their own languishing manuscripts, their own desires, their own belief
that their manuscript is the next big thing. They certainly do not have the
desire or the inclination to steal your ideas.

What they do have is a wealth of industry
experience. Writing is not called a ‘craft’ for nothing. Writers are constantly
learning, researching, studying, working endlessly to improve and convey and
communicate their innermost thoughts and feelings. They have a wealth of
knowledge about narrative arcs, plot arcs, rules of genre, rules that can be
broken, industry requirements, marketing, tone of voice, points of view,
character traits, orphans, widows and other such technicalities. And these
people are WILLING to share what they have learned over the years – just to see
another writer become an author – just to see a fellow human being achieve
their writing ambitions.

So, if you are one of those writers scared
someone will pinch your idea, don’t hold yourself back because of ‘fear’. Fear
stifles creativity, it stifles action. Getting the right people involved in
your idea and subsequent manuscript will elevate your story – perhaps beyond
your immediate abilities, and certainly beyond your wildest dreams.

Save your fears and energies for something else – as a writer, you won’t have your troubles to seek … lol. Sorry if that was tough love – but I promise it did come from a place of love.

Celebrating the ‘we’ in reaching a Memoir Milestone

Celebrating the ‘we’ in reaching a Memoir Milestone

Today we have reached a very exciting milestone. It was exactly a year ago to the day I met my then ‘potential client’ to discuss his book. He wanted to publish a memoir about ‘how he became a psychic/spirit medium’ so we discussed the possibility of me being his ‘ghostwriter’. (I’ve already made all the jokes possible about a medium having a ghostwriter …lol)

I say ‘we‘ because as you will discover reading through this blog – writing a book takes so much more than just one person to make a project like this happen. In fact, right from the very beginning, it was a mutual friend and former President of Gold Coast Writer’s Association Angelika Heurich who put us in touch. Thank you for that kind recommendation, Angelika. This was the first step in helping ‘client A’ towards his publishing aspirations.

So there we were – a year ago today – we met at the beautiful Bamboo Buddha to discuss what he had by way of notes and how far we needed to go to bring that project to a submission-ready manuscript – so it seems timely indeed that we should be hitting the ‘send’ button today.

Since that sunny day, it has taken hours of phone interviews to scratch below the surface of more than a decade of life, to find the emotion of the little moments. It’s taken a few more hours to transcribe those hours of interviews to pick through and find the diamonds in the dig. Structures, outlines, arcs, timelines, scene constructs, memoir mapping, themes, messages, quotes, research … and that was all before the drafting began.

Then there was the writing itself. As most writers know, this is the easy part. Slowly but surely we turned his head full of notes and a few thousand words into a 60,000-page body of work.

I do a lot of editing for clients, however, I knew I was just too close to edit this manuscript. So I wanted to personally thank Marian Gobraiel at wordsbymariangobraiel for stepping in to the breach with her professional editing services. It’s great to find an editor who really gets to grips with the brief very quickly – just makes life so much easier. Thank you Marian!

My ‘client A’ (as he will be called until after publication) also worked with a great design team taking care of photography and post-processing. Doing your own photography is a great way to keep control of your brand, look and feel especially in the early days when you are building your author platform.

The marketing has already begun. Yup I said that bad word. For those of you not familiar with my Blog – ‘You want me to what my book?”, check it out. It’s often a nasty shock for writers to realise they have to market their book too – luckily the Butterfly Bureau at McRae Comms can help you with that. It’s their thing.

We all have a book inside of us – but getting it out, onto paper and then out into the world is as much about perseverance and ‘process’ as it is about creativity. It is also about having a great team of professionals and supporters and family around you, willing you on to cross the finish line. For my part, there is something very satisfying about helping people become writers, and writers become authors. I truly love what I do.

Today all of that is done. We are now ready for submission! Yay for ‘client A’!

The difference between Autobiography, Biography and Memoir

The difference between Autobiography, Biography and Memoir

If you are new to writing you may not have given too much thought to Genre at the start of your project. We’ve all been there. That great idea you have to get down on paper before you forget – or worse still – someone else pips you to the post.

Spending a few moments considering genre at the beginning will help in more ways than you can imagine, but none more so than when it comes to pitching your book idea.

I am often asked about the differences between memoir, autobiography and biography – the nuances in the modern age are often lost – particularly when you have the likes of Amazon lumping things in together … sigh.

An Autobiography is a self-written account of your own life. You write it – you tell the ‘whole’ story. I like to think of it as a ‘personal history’.

Autobiographies are generally chronological and require knowledge of lots of dates and facts from beginning to end. Out of all these facts a ‘theme’ may emerge and that is generally the more interesting stuff for the reader.  Many autobiographies are actually written by ghost-writers who are skilled in bringing the story out of content that may otherwise read with all the creativity of a police statement.

A biography is all of the above – written by someone else. An authorised biography is written with the permission, co-operation and sometimes participation of the subject.

A Memoir is about your truth and generally covers a much shorter period of time – say 10-15 years. A memoir is very much about starting in one place (whether it’s a point of view or something more literal) and ending up in another. So Memoir shows ‘change’ or ‘evolution’ or ‘transformation’. The structure of a memoir can vary depending on the story you wish to tell. If you want to tell a chronological story from point A to point B you will most likely use a Linear structure, however you may want to keep coming back to a pivotal scene or part in your story, in which case you would use a Circular style. The thing I love about memoir though is the takeaway message. The end of a memoir should leave the reader feeling they need to take action, or change their mind on something as a result of what they have read. As a writer that is the fun, creative part of the project in my opinion. As with autobiographies many ghost-writers make their living in this genre.

Feminist – Word of the Year

Feminist – Word of the Year

If you thought you’d heard the last of Feminism in the 60s then have I got news for you. Merriam-Webster’s Words of the Year place the F word right on top of their top 10. Hmm … wonder if Feminism has soared as a result of that repugnant President who loves to grab em all by the pussy – you know what I’m talking about.

According to Merriam Webster, the word topped the searches in their online dictionary which means there has been a spike of interest in the word or the movement. The searches for the word correlate to various news reports and events.

Today’s definitions of feminism read: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”

Memorable words

Memorable words

eviemcraeI can’t think of many greater gifts than to teach and encourage your child to use a dictionary from a young age.

If I asked how to spell something my mother would always say, ‘Look it up’. I used to say how can I look it up if I don’t know how to spell it? After she’d given me a clip round the ear for my cheek, I’d dig out the dictionary. As I searched for the elusive word I’d find many more and so my vocabulary grew significantly.  Being a little smart ass I would try and find convoluted words and learn them so I could use them in a sentence. I always hoped to get one over on my mother so I could turn around to her and say ‘Look it up’. Alas, it never happened.

All joking aside when a child is learning it’s important to create a sense of fun, joy and achievement. There’s something about being independent and finding the answer for yourself. I find if you have to go and look something up, it sticks in your brain longer. You’ve put some effort in so you’re not going to forget so readily. I realise I’m probably quite old fashioned in that regard – largely due to the emotional /memory linked with my mother, books and reading in general. I wonder if children today will have such fond memories of ‘Google’.

You want me to what my book? Market it? But I’m a writer…Help!

You want me to what my book? Market it? But I’m a writer…Help!

So your book is finally being published and you’re beside yourself with excitement. You’ve done it! You’ve achieved that lifelong dream! But guess what? That’s not the end of the hard work. Well – not unless you have secured a major publishing deal with one of the BIG FOUR.

Now you actually have to promote your book. I know it seems cruel to have to get your hands dirty in the murky world of marketing, but if you want anyone to read the fruits of your labour you’re going to have to spread the word.

Most people won’t have the budget necessary to engage a marketing or branding guru, so I’ll give you a few titbits of free advice about effective marketing tactics that may just help you boost your audience and help you create a buzz around your book.

FREE stuff you can do

My first piece of advice is what I tell all my clients, regardless of their product, business or service. If you don’t exist online – you don’t exist.

We live in a world where Google has become the background security check. If someone hears the name of a person, or a book or a company, generally the first thing they do is Google it to find out any available information. If they don’t find what they are looking for, they won’t search any further. You’ve already put your first barrier up to a possible sale and potential loyal customer.

Nowadays a simple WordPress site can provide an extremely professional shop front for your business. WordPress is a free and open-source blogging tool and a content management system (CMS) and for the most part, it’s excellent.  As far as I’m concerned this is a must-have nowadays. When building an audience, your readers will want to know about you and the books you write and the website or WordPress platform is the ideal place for them to go. If you are not technically minded a WordPress site can seem rather daunting, but there are many simple themes and a plethora of teenagers out there only too willing to show off their skills. I won’t scare anyone by delving too deeply into this at the moment, but suffice to say I will cover this in greater detail in a subsequent post.

Social Media

As well as a website or WordPress platform you will need to ensure you are active on social media. Again, I only mention this because it’s FREE. My good friend and new author confessed she was a complete technophobe but she managed to navigate her way through the minor challenges and she was up and running with Twitter and Facebook in a matter of hours.  In the space of 24 hours, she had over 100 Likes. Who knows where she’ll be in a few weeks when her book is out.

Brilliant. She exists as an author online now. But there’s more I can sneakily share with you – little learnings from the world of global product launching and brand building. If you are merrily posting on Facebook or Twitter, take a few moments to think about the quality of your posts. In the case of a book launch, it’s great to have little teasers from your book to give a flavour of what’s in store – but not too much. Apart from keeping some of your powder dry (and there may be some restrictions from your publisher), you have to remember how people read online. People scan, generally in an F shape and only small amounts. Indeed when I began to work more online on websites and social media I had to reverse all I had been taught about writing ‘the message’.

In addition to monitoring the length of post, I would advise using Facebook and Twitter or whatever social interaction you use, to create what is affectionally known as, the  ‘Call to Action’. The Call to Action is very important in terms of selling or creating awareness. Think about what it is you actually want your reader to do? Just nod and move on? At that point, you may have lost them. Perhaps you want them to buy your book? If this is the case, then add a link making it easy for the reader to find and buy your book. Normally a link to Amazon on your page will suffice. A good rule is to think about removing all possible barriers between you and the sale of your book. The more steps someone has to go to reach it, the more likely you are to lose them.

Depending on the genre of your book it may be useful to have a presence on Pinterest. Think about where your intended audience ‘meet’ online and go and pitch your stall there. For example, a community like Goodreads is a great place to get your book reviewed and exposed to potentially thousands of people. Be sure to research your target audience and then research where they discuss books such as yours.

Press Kits

I’ll write more about Press Kits in a later post but generally speaking here’s what you need to know. Press Kits are invaluable when your contacting people in the media for publicity or for sending out information in a hurry.  Your press kit may be requested by retailers, book bloggers, event planners, editors or anyone else who may be interested in you or your book. Include information as follows:

Author Bio and Contact Information

You should already have an author bio to hand. If not, start working on it now – published or not. You’ll need it for your blog or website, for guest posts or stories submitted to magazines. Your author bio should be about 200 words, and it should have things that make you sound interesting and professional. You should include your name, your place of birth or where you currently live, what you do (or used to do) for a living, what you’ve written, perhaps your education (if it’s relevant), quirky hobbies, or interesting travel experiences. Basically, anything that will make you stand out. If you’ve written non-fiction, include something about what gives you the knowledge/credibility or experience to write the book.

Don’t forget to include your contact information, and your agent or other representatives if necessary.

A photograph

But not a cropped grainy shot with you in the background at your granny’s 80th birthday party. You should have hi-res (300 dpi) and lo-res (72 dpi) versions, 600 pixels wide at a minimum. Make sure that you provide horizontal options and vertical options since different magazines and media have different layout preferences. Again, I won’t scare anyone by getting too technical here, but a well-lit digital photograph will do the job.

Press Release

A press release should focus on the unveiling of your new work. It should be brief and succinct; one page should do. Include information that is newsworthy about your book or about you as an author. If you have upcoming events, it might be a good idea to omit them from your press kit press release to keep the article timely a month or two down the road. There are a few tricks to writing a newsworthy press release over and above the release of your baby into the world. Drop me a line and I’ll share a few secrets.

Sample Author Q&A

Make a list of interview questions (and responses) about you and your book. This can include questions about your background, your inspiration for writing this book, your own favourite writers, future projects, etc. This section is particularly helpful for the interviewer and bloggers who want to help you promote your work, as it’s useful and ready content for them.

Specific Information on Your Book

So many books are published every week, every month, every year so you need to talk about what makes yours different. You can describe your book in terms of its unique features. Yes, it’s special to you, but what makes it the ‘must-read’ book for everyone else? Why did you write this book? Did you feel there was a gap in the market for this type of story? Does the book shed new light on a common issue? Is it a topic that a lot of people can easily relate to? As the author, do you have a unique background different from most other authors? You need to convince the person reading your press kit that your story is interesting enough for their audience.

  • Tip: Sometimes, when requesting your press kit, you may be asked to send in excerpts of your book as well. Ideally, a few quotes or perhaps a sample chapter will do the trick. But remember, as I said before, to keep some of your powder dry.
  • You may also include things like: editorial reviews, testimonials, links to relevant media content like audio and video, any awards you’ve won, etc.

Remember, a press kit doesn’t have to be fancy

The people who are requesting it just want information that will help them. Keep it simple. If you’re putting one together for the first time, I’m sure you already have some of the materials needed. Start with the items you already have and then work on adding the others as you go along. You don’t want to create a press kit at the last minute because once something exists beyond your control it has a habit of popping up everywhere.

the above points are just a taste of what can be done to help promote your book. If you would like help in marketing your book, or would just like some further information, feel free to email me at info@mcraecomms.com or visit my other website mcraecomms.com

A Parent’s Guide to Coping with Autism

A Parent’s Guide to Coping with Autism

I’m working with an author who has written a practical guide for parents coping with a life-changing diagnosis of Autism. She is, in my humble opinion, an absolute Super Mum and an incredible role model. Being in the unique position of having all 4 boys diagnosed with Classic Autism (so not just somewhere on the Spectrum) she has refused to simply sit at home and ‘accept’ the status quo. She has spent years of her life tirelessly researching, studying and fighting for a quality of life for her beautiful boys and her family. A quality of life which was previously dismissed by the doctors. She has taken all those learning and turned them into a well-crafted book. I want to say she’s Autism’s answer to Erin Brockovich but she would probably either cringe or laugh and shake her head. Her pragmatism and her compassion shine through and I find myself drawn into her world. One of the things I particularly enjoy is the fact she isn’t all ‘Pollyanna’ about it all. She keeps it real which makes her instantly relatable.

As a writer myself, I am overjoyed to see her sheer bloody hard work come to fruition. She has put so much of herself into this project – and all for the greater good. Which is why clients like her are an absolute dream to work with. When a client is passionate about their project, it’s impossible not get swept up in it. But it’s more than that. Those of you familiar with my writing will know I’m all about the woman that saves herself – and I’m all about Transformation. When the odds are stacked against her, it’s resilience and strength of spirit that gets Sarah through. This lady has not only saved herself, but she’s taken her whole family with her and transformed all their lives for the better.

If you or someone you know has been touched by Autism, this is your essential guide. Believe me this book will become your bible and your best friend.

A Parent’s Guide to Coping with Autism by Sarah Ziegel