With the arrival of August, we bring you Inkitt’s newly signed author, Dr. Sharon A. Mitchell – author of Autism Goes to School and the School Daze series. To quote one of her many(!) five star Amazon reviews, as it encompasses her writing perfectly: Sharon’s work “entertains, entrances and educates”. An exceptionally powerful and enriching combination, which is why we are thrilled to welcome her to the Inkitt family!
Dr. Mitchell has worked as a teacher, counselor, psychologist and consultant for several decades. Her Master’s and PhD. degrees focused on autism spectrum disorders and helping kids reach as high a level of independence as possible.
If you’d like to find out how an originally urban city girl ended up developing a passion for farming, the inspiration behind her insightful and endearing fiction series and why reaching higher heights is not just written in the stars for Sharon, she’s licensed to do so, then keep on reading.
Inkitt: Will you tell us a little bit about your background and upbringing?
Sharon: I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. I moved to western Canada and have lived on a farm in Saskatchewan since the early 80s. I’m married and have two grown sons.
Inkitt: What inspired you to write Autism Goes to School?
Sharon: In the 80s I freelanced for magazines, then switched to more academic writing when I returned to school. While working as a school district consultant, I was away at a conference. Some high school teachers wanted to try NaNoWriMo with their students, and since these young folks were putting themselves out there, I had no choice but to try as well.
In my consulting and public speaking, I often heard from parents and teachers that they were hanging on by their nails. (At times, children with autism can be challenging, hard on themselves as well as those around them). These teachers and parents said they didn’t have time to wade through heavy textbooks or weed through internet searches. So I thought I would write a novel – one that was a quick, entertaining read, yet would give readers the sense of what it might feel like to be a child with autism. Plus, the book would demonstrate strategies that can help both at home and at school. I was lucky – it actually won awards and has often been on Amazon bestseller lists.
Inkitt: Any fun fact(s) about you, hidden talent or funny pet peeve you’d like to share?
Sharon: I actively work on our grain farm (driving tractor, combine, swather, etc.). I love it, even though I used to be a city girl. I immensely enjoy maintaining our five acre yard and half acre vegetable garden. I have an orchard with apples, cherries, pears, hazelnuts, hawthorns, blueberries, grapes, raspberries! And I have a private pilot license!
Inkitt: First three things that came to your mind after getting the publishing deal from us?
Sharon: I thought, now I can just write without spending time on that pesky marketing business. If all goes well, perhaps I will stop my day job and just write. That I’m looking forward to working with Inkitt’s marketing people! And I thought it’s a bit scary giving up control after self-publishing.
Inkitt: What book(s) are you reading right now?
Sharon: Right now I’m reading J.F. Penn’s book Desecration.
Sharon used her incredible passion for helping children, her grand expertise as a psychologist and her vast amount of knowledge about autism spectrum disorders to write these books and you won’t want to miss out on them.
This series will give you a glimpse into the lives of the families living with autism. With great insight and a heartwarming storyline, it points out how much the world has advanced in acknowledging autism as a worldwide phenomenon and also pinpoints where we have yet to improve.
Head of Publishing