I’m thrilled to have a guest post from Jo Worgan today in celebration of her recent publication with Urbane; Picking Up The Pieces. Jo has been such a support to Linda’s Book Bag, always selflessly sharing posts for other authors and I’m delighted to be able to return the favour today, especially as Jo has written a wonderful guest post for us all to enjoy.
Picking Up The Pieces was published by Urbane on 8th November 2018 and is available for purchase here.
Picking Up The Pieces
A compelling and emotive fiction debut about a mother’s unbreakable love for her autistic son.
Kate has a six-year-old autistic son, Sam. She has started a new life to escape her controlling and abusive boyfriend Jake. She believes that the past is behind her and that she and Sam are safe. But after spotting Jake through a misted-up cafe window, Kate knows that Jake has found her.
Kate confides in her neighbour Matt, a man running from his own past. He seems to offer a genuine chance at happiness for her and son Sam, but Jake is determined to get them back at all costs….
Picking Up The Pieces is an original, moving and gripping page-turner about a woman’s search for happiness as she fights to protect her autistic son’s future.
Why I chose autism as a central theme
Picking Up The Pieces
A Guest Post by Jo Worgan
I think most writers tend to write from their own experiences, those things that have happened in our life, places that mean something to us or the people who have helped to shape us. Inspiration is all around us, from the people we meet, to the books that we read and what has happened in our past.
Picking Up The Pieces started with the idea of writing about a young boy with autism. My youngest son was diagnosed with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) at the age of three. From this tiny nugget the story grew to that of a single mum who was running from her past. I wanted to explore the bond between mother and son. To explore how the maternal relationship differed with an autistic child.
Sam is very much inspired by my youngest son. I wanted to write about a little boy who was so much more than autism. I wanted to raise the issues of autism awareness and acceptance in my novel, while dispelling some of the many myths that surround it. For example, many still believe that autistic individuals have no sense of empathy and this upsets me. I know that my little boy feels deeply, in fact I sometimes think that he feels more than other ‘neurotypical’ people. He is deeply caring, an example of which was when a classmate was upset, he was missing his mum and started to cry. My son went and fetched some tissues and sat next to him. This was when he was nine years of age.
I wanted to explore on paper the many challenges that families face on a day to day basis, in getting the right education, help and support for their child. That there are still people out there who believe that autism does not exist, that it is simply an excuse for naughty children. A stranger told me this one day while my son was having an autistic meltdown. Hard to believe, but sadly true.
So, autism is very close to my heart and I wanted to feature a child on the spectrum to dispel some of these myths and to just show that these children are bright, funny and are just so much more than autism.
I was also inspired to write this story from having read countless online accounts, newspaper articles and books about the realities of parenting a child on the spectrum. I wanted to provide a snapshot into one family’s life. To give the reader a small slice of what life can be like.
Ultimately though, I wanted Sam to shine for who he was, for the reader to see so much more than the autism. I hope I have succeeded.
(I’m sure you have Jo. What a wonderful inspiration for Picking Up The Pieces. You must both be so proud of one another.)
About Jo Worgan
Jo Worgan is a freelance copywriter, columnist and book blogger. She has published 4 non-fiction works aimed at parenting children on the Autistic spectrum, based upon her experiences as a mother of an autistic son.
Jo has always had a passion for reading, writing and all things books. She began writing short stories in her spare time while studying at University, gaining a BA(Hons) English Literature and Drama with Theatre Studies. Her writing was put on hold while she studied to become a nurse, eventually working as a senior renal nurse, first in Liverpool, then in the rural idyll of the Dorset countryside.
The birth of her first child followed very closely by a move to North Lancashire that allowed Jo to start thinking about writing once more, and the birth of her second child, diagnosed with autism at the age of 3, inspired her to write fully once more. The result was a book aimed towards helping parents of newly diagnosed children on the autism spectrum, Life on the Spectrum, the Preschool Years, Getting the Help and Support You Need. Jo continued to write and a further 3 books were self-published, all about autism. With this new-found thirst for writing, Jo wanted to start writing fiction again, as this is what she truly loves. She also finds it cheaper than therapy. Today Jo lives in Lancashire with her husband of 19 years and their two young sons. When she is not busy writing, she likes to take her boys to the local museums, cafes, cinema, the Lake District and lots of playgrounds. She also drinks a lot of coffee.