Thursday, July 26, 2012

Author Spotlight: Ethan Rice

Today on the Author Spotlight, it is my pleasure and honor to tell you about Ethan Rice. Ethan is eight years old and he recently published his first book. However, he is not just any author. Ethan is autistic, and wanted to write a story that would help others understand what it means to be autistic.

 I had the pleasure of reading Ethan's book, Ethan's Story: My Life With Autism (illustrated by Crystal Smalls Ord), and I was very impressed. Ethan is truly an amazing boy, sharing with us his daily experiences. I love how Ethan starts out by saying we are all different and then shows us not only things that are daily struggles, but also pointing out the things he excels at, with pride. He also does a wonderful job explaining some of his behaviors that someone with little or no knowledge of autism may not understand.  Ethan truly is one special and talented boy. The colorful illustrations by Crystal Smalls Ord are the perfect addition to the book. I'm so glad I had an opportunity to read and learn about Ethan's Story.

The following questions were answered by Ethan's Mom - thank you for taking the time to give us even more insight into Ethan's Story:

What’s your inspiration? 
My family

Why do you write? 
Currently, to raise awareness of autism and to spread a message of positivity around the subject. Identifying challenges in life allows strategies for success to be put in place. Books, even children's books, on the topic often have a negative vibe to them. We have never had a negative attitude toward autism. I bought a children's book about autism for Ethan to read, and he wouldn't even read it. I finally asked him why he wouldn't - he said that everyone in the book was sad. Wow. I looked at the pictures, and sure enough, almost every page is someone looking devastated. Ethan isn't sad that he has autism, and he doesn't want others to be sad about it, either. 

Would you write more than one series at a time? 
As a mother of 5, I feel this would be totally feasible as my brain is never in one place ever. But then again, being a mother of 5, finding the time to devote to multiple series would be challenging.

What’s your writing process? Write when inspired? Make time? Daily word goal? Etc. 
The writing process for Ethan's book was very straight-forward. He was going to tell his first grade class that he had autism. We were concerned about him getting in front of his class and just "winging it." We didn't want him unintentionally spreading misinformation about the subject. What an amazing opportunity to spread awareness! We wanted it to be his words, his voice. So we sat him down (Ok, he didn't sit. He paced.), and asked him a myriad of questions. We wanted to know what HE thought about having autism. What were the differences that HE noticed. Sure, there were things that we as parents knew, but we wanted to know what Ethan felt about things. I asked questions, and wrote his answers down verbatim. Of course we were able to ask questions that would allow informative answers - but the answers were all Ethan. 

Do you write to music, other noise, or have to have silence? 

Silence? What's that? Oh, the sound that means that something is wrong! There is no silence in our house, ever. There might have been a sound machine going somewhere in our house - we have so many that it sounds like a rainforest at night time. 

Of all your books, which is your favorite?
Currently my favorite is Ethan's Story: My life with autism

Are you a Mac or are you a PC? 
Definitely PC. The last time I used an Apple, I am pretty sure I died of cholera on the Oregon Trail. 

To learn more about Ethan's Story: My Life with Autism:

Author Bio

Ethan Rice is eight years old and lives with his family in Michigan. He is the oldest of five children. He enjoys math and reading, playing basketball and flag football, and being a Cub Scout. When he grows up Ethan wants to be a farmer, and he wants the whole world to know that Jesus loves them. 

Next Week on the Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Kirke

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