I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Jennifer Laurens after reading her book, Heavenly. Please watch for my review to this book very soon (Most likely before Friday). Thank you Jennifer for taking the time to let me get into your head.
Readers – if you have any questions for Jennifer, please let me know and I will see if I can get you answers. Without further delay –
What inspired you to write this book?
A couple of things: First, my family struggles to live with a child with autism are a daily challenge we still live with, but also one that has taught us so much and unified us in ways I thought might be of help to others. Also, I hoped, in a small way to educate people about what living with autism is like. Lastly, I wanted to put something on the market that offered light and hope in a world where so much entertainment revolves around vampires and dark creatures that don’t really have a redeeming value.
I learned that you have a daughter with Autism, what assumptions do you think people make about Autism? What would you tell people about Autism to help them understand?
People are afraid of people with autism because of the unpredictable nature of it in each person. Anytime someone isn’t conforming in a social setting, people notice. I hope folks won’t stare, that they’ll be more tolerant and even reach out to parents and caregivers of children with autism.
How much of your personal experiences make it into Heavenly?
Um, ALL. Literally every thing that happened to the family has happened to us. Including the partying teenage daughter and drug addicted son.
If you could describe Heavenly in just one sentence – What would it be?
Uplifting literature with a redeeming message.
If people want to learn more about Autism and how they can help, what would you tell them?
Read: Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin – a fascinating story inside the head of a person who grew up with autism. Also: a person IS NOT autistic. It’s not WHO they are. A person HAS autism. They are still an individual with their own likes and dislikes, personality, interests, etc. I never refer ( except on the book back, in the blurb – and that was for space – to someone as autistic.
What about this book was the hardest to write?
Luke, because my son was deep in the middle of his using at the time I was writing.
What books have influenced your life the most?
Scripture. Some fiction: Endless Love is beautifully written.
Who has encouraged you the most in your career?
My two daughters hands down. They always believed I could do whatever I chose to do.
What are you currently working on?
A book I wrote years ago that I’m re-writing for the YA market.
What have you learned the most from having an Autistic child?
You mean a child with autism??? lol. Well, that’s another fifty blog posts. Seriously, you can’t nutshell the layers and layers of learning here. It’s been one of God’s great gifts to us: patience, compassion, real, unconditional love, service the list is endless.
Is there anything you would like to tell our readers?
I write to lift the heavy hearted, to open eyes and to make you smile. And sometimes cry. Thank you for reading my work. I give away copies of Heavenly on Facebook to all my friends for their birthday. Join me there if you’re on FB.
Where can people find out more about your books?
I’m on Facebook all day while I’m writing, and I have a website: www.jenniferlaurens.com, and www.heavenlythebook.com
Please offer that any blogger who wants to host a party, chat, interview can read Heavenly for free!
Now a couple of fun questions –
Night owl or early bird?
What is your favorite snack?
What do you need to write (music, food, ect)?
A tall glass of Vernors Ginger Ale atm
What book is currently on your nightstand?
My NOOK has: Endless Love by Scott Spencer and Honest Illusions by Nora Robers – my two fav books.
What would be your dream vacation?
Going on a cruise around the world with 2-3 days per port.
If you could have any wish come true, what would it be?
In-store distribution for my books, so more readers could have access to them.
Thank you, Jennifer for taking the time to answer my questions. I can’t wait to read more of your books as this one touched me very deeply. I could not put the book down.