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Autism, A Different Kind of Normal

Posted by on February 19, 2016

Happy Friday fellow adventurers!

Today, I’m joining Heather L. L. FitzGerald in celebrating the release of The Tethered World along with Mountain Brook Ink Authors Kimberly Rose Johnson and Angela Ruth Strong hosted by Books & Beverages Blog Tour. And there is a giveaway! A chance to win a Kindle Fire and some Starbucks Gift Cards. Whoohoo! Who doesn’t need more coffee???

Books & Beverages 2016 (1)The Tethered World is a story of a family who is connected to a world beneath ours known as the Tethered World. It is a world filled with creatures that sometimes sneak to the surface. We know some of them as bigfoot, leprechauns, and gnomes. It is a fun read for middle grade to young adult readers, and those of us who are young at heart. Ha! It feels a bit like Donita K. Paul’s DragonKeeper Chronicles meets Artemis Fowl meets Narnia. You can find my full review here.

Like most adventuring novels, there is a cast of characters, but there is one character that drew my attention. Brock. An eleven year old boy who has Autism. See. My son was diagnosed with high-functioning Autism when he was in preschool. It is still fresh for us, still processing, and all, so I’ve not really said much outside of our friends and family.

Not many stories feature a character who has Autism, much less make that character the future king. So I invited Heather to share a bit more about Brock.

Please welcome Heather L. L. FitzGerald!

Hi Heather! Can you tell us about Brock?tethered world

Brock is a twin to Brady, although Brady is not autistic (which means he looks out for Brock and understands him better than anyone). Brock is contemplative, and observant, and a bit OCD. Okay, quite a bit! He loves the number 17 and collects things in that amount. His side of the room is neat and orderly which makes Brady look like a slacker if he doesnt keep things fairly decent on his half of the room.

Brock doesnt tolerate being touched very well, though hes made progress through the years and will put up with a quick show of affection. Emphasis on quick. Hes good at karate (its definitely helped with his sensory issues) and has a photographic memory.

Brock is definitely the strong, silent type!


What inspired you to make him the next future king of Tethered World?

As a mother of an autistic young man, I know that there is a dying, of sorts, of the ideas you held about the future when your child was born. Ive woven much of my life, my views, my ideas, and even my friendships, into this story. I wanted life with an autistic child to be shown as normalbecause for so many of us, that is our normal!

But I also wanted it to be specialI think in some ways we all long to understand why, although we eventually learn to accept the circumstances God has entrusted to us. It just made sense that the unique things about Brock were there to equip him for being the future king of a rather unique realm. I mean, why not a king? 🙂


What would you like readers to walk away with after reading Tethered World?

I suppose what it says on the back cover is a good summation. Normal means different things to different people. I wanted to write about a slice of life that IS normal to vast numbers of peopleminus any agenda. Im not trying to prove anything about autism, or homeschooling, or Bigfoot, for that matter. But I felt it would be compelling to treat those differences in the main characters life the same way an author uses other norms like a single parent home or going to school in a rough neighborhood.

Those things are part of what informs the main characters outlook on life. Thats what I wanted to do with these elements in the story. My hope is that those who walk in similar shoes will enjoy a character they can identify with, while feeling like they can share the story with those who do NOT walk in these shoeswithout having it come off as preachy or, like I said, as if theres an agenda or some subtle message being conveyed.

The unusual slant is but a background to the greater adventure. One I hope families will enjoy getting caught up intogetherby reading it aloud.

Thank you so much Heather!

And here is the giveaway! And don’t forget to visit the other bloggers on the tour stop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2/15 – Brent King
2/15 – Annie Douglass Lima
2/16 – Beckah
2/17 – Ginger Solomon
2/18 – Sandra Robbins
2/19 – Jennette Mbewe
2/20 – Erika Keswick
2/21 – Marisa Deshaies
2/22 – Autumn Macarthur
2/23 – Crystal Scott
2/24 – Stephanie Florentino
2/25 – Diana Montgomery
2/26 – Liz Tolsma
2/27 – Sarah Ruut
2/28 – Ashley Taylor
2/29 – Kat Vinson
3/1 – Anna Weaver Hurrts

33 Responses to Autism, A Different Kind of Normal

  1. Kathy (@57koala)

    Sounds like a good book to read and venture into his world, Thank you for sharing and letting me know about the author and the book.

  2. thegatheringfire

    Brock is one of my favorites! He’s such an interesting and compelling character, and I loved witnessing his own personal journey in the Tethered World. Heather’s heart for families and individuals living with Autism really shines through in her story. Like she said, for them that is normal! Thanks for sharing this unique look at a fantastic story! 🙂

  3. Sarah

    Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the review 🙂

  4. Carrie

    I have been enjoying each of these blog posts and each new look into the authors’ backstories. Thanks for another chance to win.

  5. Mary Drain

    So like a very good book will get it and reading it thank for a change to win

  6. Mimi B

    Enjoyed the insight to the twins. I’m sure it’s a challenge having two babies at once, and then having one who has autism would add another element! I love that Heather took her experience as a mom to an autistic child, and weaving that into the story!

    • J.L. Mbewe

      I agree, she did a great job portraying life for Brock and his family. Thanks for stopping by!

    • WriteFitz

      Thanks for stopping by, Mimi! (And for your patience as we worked out the kinks from the start!). Thankfully I do not personally have twins that are autistic. Just one son. I do know someone with two autistic sons, but they are not twins. It’s been a difficult parenting journey for them for certain.

  7. Debora Wilder

    I loved reading your reasons for making an autistic boy one of the main characters. I look forward to reading his story.

  8. Becky Lewis

    Wow!As a paraprofessional in a special ed classroom, I love to read about kids with autism and how those around are dealing with that person(hopefully, sensitively, and with love).

    • J.L. Mbewe

      Hi Becky! Thank you for stopping by!

    • WriteFitz

      Becky, thank YOU for having a heart to work with disabled (or uniquely abled!) kids. As a parent, I’ve been in awe of the wonderful professionals that have dedicated their lives to helping better the lives of others!

  9. Georgina

    I was already interested in this book, and now I definitely want to get my hands on a copy! Thanks for sharing with us. 🙂

  10. Raechel

    This was SUCH a great interview! Really love it. Maybe I ought to try karate – I’ve had “sensory issues” since I was about 4 or 5. 🙂 I love when things like that and autism and other such things are made known and treated as ‘normal’. A different kind of normal. 🙂

  11. jhardt1

    This sounds like an amazing book! I would love to read it.

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J.L Mbewe - Author