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This guest Q&A is with Carrie Cariello,  the author of What Color Is Monday, How Autism Changed One Family for the Better, and Someone I’m With Has Autism. She lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband, Joe, and their five children. Her son Jack is on the autism spectrum. She is a regular contributor to Autism Spectrum News and has been featured on NBC Nightly News, WordPress, the Huffington Post, and Parents.com

She speaks regularly about autism, marriage, and motherhood, and writes a weekly blog at www.carriecariello.com.

Hey Carrie! What was your inspiration behind getting involved in our disability community?

My second son, Jack, has autism, and once he was diagnosed I was inspired to share our own story, partly to help him become more understood in the world around us, partly because I was scared and lonely, and partly because he’s a funny little guy.

How is Jack and your family doing today?

We had a rough school year but we are enjoying the first few weeks of summer in New Hampshire.

Your writing has made an impact on so many people. What would you say is one of your favorite pieces you’ve written?

I have one piece, called “I Know What Causes Autism,” that resonated with many and still continues to be one of my most popular essays.

My favorite, however, is a post I wrote from the perspective of our puppy, Wolfie, called “A View From the Floor.” I love the way it describes each person in our family from his point of view, and the way autism impacts all of us.

Plus, he’s the best dog in the world even though he’s been barking at a squirrel for the past ten minutes and I can barely concentrate.

What would be some advice you’d give to writers out there currently looking to publish based on your experiences writing “What Color is Monday: How Autism Changed One Family for the Better” and “Someone I’m With Has Autism?”

There are a lot of great people who give better advice than I could about publishing experiences. They will tell you important things like never take no for an answer and always use bright white paper for your cover letter.

The best advice I can give is if you want to be published, you have to write every day.

My work has evolved and changed in the four years I’ve been writing regularly—my voice is stronger, my narratives are more organized, and I think my essays are more succinct. It took a lot of practice.

And by practice, I mean jotting down notes at the side of the soccer field, keeping a pen and pad next to my bed, and trying to make sure I sit at my computer for a few minutes every day.

What are some of your hopes for Jack in the future?

Oh, I would need to write another book to adequately explain everything I hope for Jack. For now, I will tell you this.

I hope the Redbox in our local grocery store is fixed soon so he can stop asking me about it.

I hope seventh grade is better than sixth grade.

I hope he always knows how much he is loved.

What’s next for you? Anything fun coming up?

I have some speaking engagements in the next few months, and I will return to my alma mater to keynote a workshop in the fall.

I signed up to run a half-marathon in October, which I regret almost every single day because it may very well be the end of me.

And as for the rest of the summer, I plan to sit in our porch swing as much as possible and read.

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