Sometimes you come across someone for whom you have great admiration. In my case it is writer, Julie Day, this week's guest in the spotlight. The reason for my admiration is Julie's fabulous motivation and work ethic. When she's not writing a children's book, she's trying her hand at womag stories or pocket novels. And when she's not doing any of these she's helping other people with their writing or helping them publish their books. She puts me to shame!
This is not all though. Julie is a writer with Asperger Syndrome and I invited her onto my blog to answer some questions about how this has affected her writing career.
First of all, a very big welcome to my blog, Julie. My first question is what made you decide to start writing?
A recurring dream. I had a dream two nights in a row which stuck in my mind. The only way to get it out was to write it down. Once I started writing, the ideas came to me. I've been writing on and off since.
I know you enjoy writing in a variety of genres. Do you have a favourite?
Writing for children. I can have fun, let my imagination go and not be too serious about what I write.
As a writer with Asperger’s, what has been your biggest challenge when writing fiction?
Going to talks and meeting new people. I get anxious when I meet new people and have to introduce myself to a group.
Going to literary events can be quite daunting at the best of times. I met you at the RNA conference in 2015. How did you find the experience?
Interesting, but full-on and tiring. I now find that I can't do weekend conferences where I am going from one talk to another and meeting people. Also, I've never been able to sleep in a strange bed properly, so am tired throughout the whole time.
Can you tell me a little more about the series of books you’re writing?
This series is not just for children with Asperger’s Syndrome, it is also for their friends and family. The series covers friendship, school and the difficulties a child with Asperger’s faces, with a positive approach which helps readers to understand the disorder. It will also cover how going out into the world and facing those challenges affects children with Asperger's.
You are very active on social media. How beneficial has this been to you and your writing?
Very beneficial. I have made connections with other women who have Asperger's, as well as connecting with other indie authors. I have joined author groups on Facebook who have helped me promote my books.
You also help new authors to publish their work as e-books. Can you tell us a little about it?
It started with doing talks at a library about being an indie author. One man joined the attendees and later asked me to help him with his fiction. I found I enjoyed helping him, that when someone else at the library said they wanted help, I said I would. I helped the man publish his first children's book in July. I have also been in contact with a couple of other children's authors, giving my opinion on their book ideas.
What has been your biggest writing achievement?
Publishing my first children's ebook 'The Railway Angel'. The sense of achievement when I managed to do the formatting myself then publish it was great. I enjoyed having control over the whole publishing process that I decided I wanted to stay being an indie author.
How important is it to raise awareness of Asperger’s?
Very important. I know there are lots of other disabilities, but Asperger's is considered a hidden/invisible disability where the person might look normal on the outside but not so inside. So, you might come across a child or adult with Asperger's and not know it. Aspies have lots of challenges with communication, and understanding how they can cope with them will help us not feel so anxious.
Do you have any advice for other writers with Asperger’s?
Blog about Asperger's. Enjoy what you write. Don't be afraid to join groups on-line and off-line. Don't be afraid to meet other writers. Don't be afraid to tell them you have Asperger's. I did, and people were understanding.
Thank you, Julie, and good luck with your writing.
Julie's website: www.julieaday.co.uk
Julie's blog: www.julieaday.blogspot.co.uk
You can find Julie's books on Amazon.