NOTE: I get this question almost every time I'm interviewed and honestly, it's a horrible story. I wasn't the kid who cosplayed Jane Austen and dreamed of being a writer. I wanted to be the first marine biologist to pilot a sub on the water moon Europa. My life went in another direction, which makes this question difficult to answer. So, here it is, the answer that didn't make it to the interviews.
Nothing. I never intended to be a published author. In 2005 I was fresh out of college, struggling with postpartum depression, and trapped in a new home with two small children while my husband was at his new job.
We’d moved to an area with no family or friends. We only had one car so I couldn’t leave the house. And we recently learned our oldest, who was 3, had a severe speech and hearing disorder that was going to require weekly trips to therapists and doctors to correct.
I turned down a job offer because I couldn’t sync my daughter’s needs with a 9-5 work schedule, and I felt horribly lost. My entire life I’d measured myself based on grades and the approbations of others, but I had nothing. There was no measure for what I was doing. No way to know from day to day whether or not I was doing anything worthwhile.
Writing was measureable. The children went to bed at 7, and my husband usually didn’t get off work until 10, so I devoted those three hours each night to writing one page of a book. It kept me sane. On the worst days it kept me from falling to pieces under the stress of depression and dealing with the demands of a special needs child who was still not diagnosed.
Now, we have a diagnosis, we have four children, my husband has a better job that allows him to be home at better hours. And writing is still my escape. It’s where I go to relax and keep myself grounded. On the bad days I tell myself it could always be worse; I could be a character in one of my books.
For those who want to know... Eldest has something called an Audio Processing Disorder or Central Audio Processing Disorder. It's like dyslexia for sounds rather than letters. There is no cure, only work-arounds, and she still goes to speech therapy twice a week.
APD will not limit Eldest's academic potential. She's on the honor roll and headed for college. In every new school she attends I have to sit the teachers down and explain what APD is. If you're a parent with an APD child, feel free to email me. I'll let you know what worked for us. :)