Notice for Review Requests

I receive review requests weekly. However, my personal schedule is hectic and I no longer review actively. (I also manage another blog called The Toronto Cafe and Food Blog). I do read every request sent but I apologize in advance that I do not reply to them all.

If I do take on a request, I will forewarn that it may take some time before I can review it. I am now looking to review adult fiction and self-help books instead of young adult fiction because I have grown out of it. If you are to request a review for either adult fiction or self-help, I will more likely to give it a shot.

In the meantime, Stop, Drop, and Read! serves as an archive book review blog. When I have the time, I may post a review. Thank you for understanding.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Author Interview: Gayle Nobel

Do you know what autism is? Yes? No? Either way, I have a little something different for you at Stop, Drop, and Read! Gayle Nobel is a co-author with Kathy Almeida of the non-fiction book, It's All About Attitude, for families that have to deal with autism through love ones. Today she shares with us some of her experiences of the disorder and what it was like writing the book. If you would like to know more about the authors or the book, please visit:

For those who do not know what autism is, can you please explain the condition?

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. It is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectruum disorders. (ASD) Children on the autism spectrum do not fully develop pathways in the brain between the prefrontal cortex (the brain's "executive") and the limbic system (the emotional center). Therefore, autism impairs a person's ability to relate to others. It can be, but is not always, accompanied by co-occurring conditions in other areas such as speech, motor skills, cognitive deficits, sensory disorders, seizures, allergies, and digestion. There are a wide range of functioning levels associated with autism.

What was the process like to cope with the fact that your child had autism?

At first, I felt devastated, sad and scared. The only experience I had was with my autistic brother who spent most of his life in an institution. The road to acceptance was long and challenging for me. In the beginning, I was grieving the loss of my dreams and of the child I didn't get. However, I had to get on with the business of living and helping my son be the best he could be. There were not as many options when he was small over 20 years ago. Fortunately, I ran into a philosophy that helped me form a vision of where I wanted to be emotionally. I learned the more I could accept, the happier I would be in my life. It didn't mean giving up, but it meant finding peace in the midst of what felt like adversity. I learned that by changing some of my beliefs, I could actually change my attitude and feel better. This was and is an ongoing process that really helped me cope and learn to love and live well with autism. It also helped me be a better and happier mom for my other 2 children who came along later on.

What made you finally sit down and write It’s All About Attitude with Kathy Almeida?

I was at a crossroads. After homeschooling my son for 11 years, I had just put him in school and needed something new in my life. There were so many lessons I had learned in taking care of him and living with autism, that I decided I really wanted to share them with others, particularly parents. Kathy (my coauthor) and I had been close phone pals for a very long time and combined, we had accumulated a lot of wisdom. The actual writing of the book was decided at the spur of the moment and after sharing a few initial essays with parents, we knew we were on the right track. It was definitely a very personal, joint labor of love.

What was the most difficult part for you while writing the book?

Carving out the time to write was a big challenge since Kathy and I both have sons with autism who live at home. Our sons can be a bit "high maintenance" in terms of time, energy, demand, and needs. So there was always a tremendous balancing act going on. Also, there was the challenge of writing with another person. We sometimes saw things differently in what we wanted for the book. Wanting to keep our close friendship in tact, we did a lot of compromising. I think we both grew a lot in the process of writing the book.

What have you learned while writing the book and after its completion?

In writing "It's All About Attitude", I relearned all the lessons I was sharing with my readers. Because the road to acceptance and peace is a journey, writing each story inspired me to live my own message on an even deeper level. I needed it as much as my readers did. I also learned how much goes into the writing of a book from start to finish and what's it's like to work closely with an editor. These were all new experiences for me. After its completion, I realized the journey was really just now beginning. The writing was actually the easy part. The marketing is the biggest challenge. I was also very well rewarded with feedback from my readers and became aware that this was just another way my son with autism, through the lessons he has taught me and then through my writing, has impacted the world in a big way. That awareness gives me goose bumps and is one of the things that keeps me going during some of the really challenging days with him.

Do you plan on maybe writing a fictional story based on autism and the challenges it imposes?

I hadn't really thought about fiction, though I wouldn't rule it out. Currently, I am finishing up a second inspirational book with a different, very hands-on, twist.. I very much want to be there to support parents, caregivers and on a larger scale, anyone who has any type of challenge in their life. That pretty much includes all of us!

What is the take home message for the readers?

It's All About Attitude. Our attitude determines our experience. We may not have control of a situation (ie : having a child with autism and all that it involves), but our attitude is something we do have a choice about. We hope to inspire parents to take some of the fight and struggle out of their lives and see their child in a different way. Creating a shift in attitude is all about changing perspective and even the tiny shifts can have a big impact on our quality of life and that of our family. It's a very powerful stance to take toward life.

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The Book Resort said...

Thanks, Diana. Thank you, Gayle.

Diana Dang said...

You're welcome =)