Name Heather Golding – Author
Where are you from
I was born in Oxford, England on 6th October 1959. I emigrated to Australia with my parents and twin brother on 24th March 1968, at the age of 8, on which coincidentally was my current husband’s 9th birthday, who was also born the same year as myself. But whom I did not meet and marry until some 45 years later, following two previous and disastrous marriages and relationships.
I have always considered myself as an average student with average grades, but one particular subject always stood out as my very best: English comprehension, essays. However, my love of writing was never fully recognised by my English subject teachers, so there was never any indication that I could probably take up writing as a possible career.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Since finally completing the writing of my first book “Autism on the Frontline” I am in the gradual process of eventually writing my second book, which I hope to also follow-up with a third book in a series of memoirs covering certain time frames i.e. The Early Years, The Teenage Years and eventually, The Young Adult Years.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
About 25 years ago in 1991 when I was in my early thirties, I sought a change in direction from my secretarial work. In an effort to develop my writing skills, I became involved with a Writer’s Group and attended several workshops.
Gradually my writing took on the form of helping others to compose business letters and newsletters for various organizations during my many years as a secretary and office assistant.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
About 25 years ago in 1991 when I noticed that my writing began to overlap my secretarial work. I decided to use my newfound skills to write my own family and friends newsletters. Inevitably this eventually followed with writing many topical letters to newspapers and articles for magazines. However, my biggest triumph would have to be in the writing of my first book; about my son’s autism and how with my love of writing, has enabled me to approach such a personally affected subject, by documenting all of my experiences in a memoir.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
When a life-changing experience occurred, some years later, following the birth of my second child and his eventual diagnosis of autism at the age of nearly five, I began to write about the topic of autism, as a form of therapy. It was later suggested by friends that I expand on an article I had written and seriously consider writing a book about it. “Yeah right,” was my initial response! Me? Write a book?
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes, as a memoir writer, I write in the narrative view of ‘first person’, while I ‘tell’ as well as ‘show’ the reader my story – through my eyes.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I felt that the title: “Autism on the Frontline” gave an overall description, which spanned across the first eight years of my son’s life, rather than simply focus on just one individual event or incident.
It was also around the time when the television news would regularly describe much of the conflict in many of the war-torn countries overseas. I would hear the word ‘frontline’ being said often about where the soldiers were fighting a sometimes unknown or unexplained war on the battlefields.
Other words which were said, were ‘uncertainty’ and ‘exhaustion’ and so on, which struck a personal chord with me – deeply enough – that I felt this closely described some of my own and often unknown battles on the frontline of life while coping with my son’s autism. And from that – a book title was born.
Fiona: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, I want readers to know that they are not alone in their own personal struggles, while trying to cope with caring for their child, no matter what their disability. My book will, in effect, echo many parents’ thoughts and experiences. In fact, my book was written for parents, by a parent.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
All of it – 100% – which includes all the good and the bad; the happy and the sad…
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes, it is about my personal experiences of raising my autistic son from his birth, and which covers the first 8 years of his early life from 1999 – 2007.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
While I have no specific mentor, I am heavily influenced by other authors, either known or unknown, who have written about their own extraordinary life experiences.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes, another local author, Livia York who has written about her experience with domestic violence.
Fiona: who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
While I have no particular favorite author, I do like a good author who has a good story and can tell it extremely well.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Not one, but several good friends who stood by me and supported me during my dark days. They have been named and acknowledged throughout my book.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes! Writing is my escape! Writing helps to save my sanity! I come alive when I write!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No! Because you cannot change history!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes, it was something that just happened. One day I was writing newsletters to family & friends and the next – a letter to the editor, which was then followed with writing articles for magazines and then eventually writing my first book.
I later learned that my beloved Grandma (now deceased) used to write ‘letters-to-the-editor’ in her younger years. My beloved Aunt used to be an editor, while my beloved Uncle used to write books on Medieval English. Both have since recently passed away…
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am currently writing my follow-up memoir, as well as writing more articles and blogs, particularly about autism or self-publishing, while also still caring, full-time for, and raising my young adult son who has autism.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes! Trying to find the right words to use, especially when writing about a particularly difficult or challenging subject.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, only because my life as a writer is restricted by my primary role as a full time Carer for my son. Therefore, I currently promote my book locally, interstate and overseas, both personally and through my website, author page and other social media sites with some great results.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I chose and designed the cover layout, while InHouse Publishing, who also printed and published my book, helped to create the awesome book cover.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Trying to find the time to actually write it. This is even written about in my book.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes, I learned how to write about a difficult subject, and how to write about it in an easy to read format. I also learned that I was much stronger and more resilient than I’d originally been led to believe by others.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
Sally Field, perhaps? Or someone similar. But she would have to be a strong-willed actress who could convincingly portray the part of a bewildered mother raising her young autistic son, against all the odds that were thrown at her!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes. Your book is your ‘baby’ – don’t expect others to help to ‘raise’ it for you. Also, you must be diligent, not only with your writing, but if you want to avoid any unnecessary typo errors appearing in the finished product, then you must check thoroughly for any editing, spelling, grammar and overall layout of your story. Only YOU know your story.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Since writing my book, I have become more aware of other parents and carers who are in the same or similar situation as I was – vulnerable and lonely, particularly during the early years of raising a child with autism.
I hope that my book will be of some comfort to them, especially knowing that they are not alone in an otherwise uncertain and foreign world of autism.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“Rise, The Abused Child of the Phoenix” by Livia York
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but I will always remember a very special book that was given to me for Christmas when I was 8 years old, by my beloved Aunt & Uncle – titled “Aesop’s Fables” It became my most treasured childhood book, which I still have in my book collection today.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh at comedy, whether it be films, sitcoms or tasteful jokes. I cry at almost anything, particularly if it touches me personally, such as with the loss of a loved family member or friend. Even sad movies and the recent sad loss of some well-known and much-admired singers and actors.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Yes, I would like to meet up with my beloved Grandma again, so that I could tell her about how far I’ve come with my writing – from dabbling in writing to writing a book! I’m sure this would amaze her, as it has also amazed me.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“She lived it like it was – therefore she told it like it was”
Why? Because I write it like it was!
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Scrapbooking. I have several scrapbooks of all my published works to newspapers and magazines – er, sorry – writing-related. But I also have another scrapbook on the subject of Disability, which earned a ‘Highly Commended’ award in a locally based agricultural & society show in 2009.
I also have a scrapbook of various colorful pictures, in alphabetical order from A-Z, that I made for my son to help him to learn what each different items were, as well as to help him to learn the alphabet. This was also to help encourage him to use his words.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I have always liked family sitcom/drama shows. From as early as the Brady Bunch, Cop Shop & other police drama t.v. shows, to Neighbours, Country Practice, Sons & Daughters and Prisoner, and to the more current t.v. dramas of Home and Away, as well as some that have since sadly left our screens such as Packed to the Rafters, All Saints, A Place to Call Home and Underbelly, on which I have also read some of these books. But I have since happily discovered another new ‘writing-related’ t.v. show called ‘800 Words’ – how very apt!
I pretty much like most Action, Drama, Comedy and Romance films, depending on my mood I’m in at the time, and just as long as it has a good moral to the story. I even like several children’s animated films such as “Toy Story” which my son watches on a regular basis. I also have the complete collection of the “Star Wars” Trilogy, which is my ultimate favorite and which my son also plays the CD game on his PC.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Foods: Anything and everything, except very hot and spicy or just plain tasteless.
Colors: Pink and purple, but lately it has been more like blue and black – and worn as a bold fashion statement, i.e. Black – for bold; Blue – for autism.
Music: Love songs, ballads, soft rock as well as some instrumental, such as Tubular Bells and some movie theme CD’s. Basically, I like any music that I can write to, drive with and that helps to keep me calm…
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
As a young girl, I did once consider the idea of becoming a nurse – but that was until I discovered I couldn’t quite handle the sight of blood! So that ended that possible career idea!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes, my website is www.heathergolding.com
I also have a facebook author page and a twitter and LinkedIn account for my writing.
These links are listed below:
My book is also available through www.inhousebookstore.com.au and is listed under New Release.
Thank you once again for inviting me to participate on your interview website.
Heather Golding – Author