Today's author spotlight is Tara McCarton, who has written a heartwarming book about kindness and inclusion, inspired by her daughter's Christmas wish that one day, her sister would be able to speak to her.
Where did you grow up?
Did you read a lot as a child?
I did, and even today, once I get into a book, I could stay up all night reading it.
What were some of your favorite authors and books?
When I was younger, I loved all the Nancy Drew mystery books and now my favorite author is Nelson DeMille, and Plum Island is my favorite book.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I was good in math, so I went into finance, but everyone always told me I should write a book. Sometimes things in your life take you down a different path and you do what you were meant to do and find a different passion.
Tell us about some of the jobs you’ve had before you became a writer.
I was a lifeguard in high school and college then went into finance and worked at some of the biggest investment banks in the world. I also became an ongoing service coordinator for the Early Intervention program here in NY.
How did you get started writing?
I was inspired by my 3-year-old’s Christmas wish for her nonverbal sister to talk. I thought it was the sweetest wish and inspired me to write a book about having a disability but from a child's point of view in a lighthearted way.
Why do you write books?
I want to inspire children to be kind and include others that may be different than they are, and to know you can do anything you put your mind to, just like the illustrator of my book, who has autism.
What do you like best about writing?
Sending a positive message into the world and seeing the reactions of the kids when they read my book. It sparks a conversation that they may not have started before.
What do you find the most challenging about writing?
Finding the time to organize all my ideas in my head and getting them out on paper.
What makes a good story?
A good story is something that inspires you and teaches a message.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration for this book is from my daughters. Having a daughter with special needs teaches you to slow down and appreciate all the little things around you. When I watch my daughters interact, and seeing how typical kids act around Audrey inspired me to teach the world about finding the “ability” in disability.
Tell us about your latest book.
My book, The Wish, is a sweet story about two fairies—one who speaks and one who doesn't. The younger fairy's wish is for her friend to talk. It teaches love and kindness and to slow down and appreciate the differences in all of us.
What’s next for you?
I hope to write a second book. I already have some suggestions from my nephews and classes I have spoken to. I would love for this book to be in schools around the world and read to children at night.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about you and your books?
Yes, my illustrator has Autism. She is from the church we go to and when I attended her birthday party, I saw pictures of fairies on her wall. I asked her if she drew them and she did. I thought they reflected the ideas in my head perfectly of what the fairies would look like in my book. I wanted to give her a chance, too and show that even if you have a disability, you can do anything you set your mind to. When I read in schools, the children are fascinated that the pictures look like they are drawn with markers and they said they knew they could make a book, too! It is so great to see these kids drawing pictures and making books in the classroom. That is what inspires me as well!
For more information on Tara McCarton and her book, visit www.audreymccarton.com.