Sunday, May 2, 2010

Q & A with Shonda Schilling (The Best Kind of Different, 2010)

1. Why did you decide to write this book and how long did it take you to complete?
I wrote a speech last May. Someone sent it to Harper Collins, and they asked me to write a book. Before that I had never dreamed I would write a book. It took me about six weeks to write it. They decided I was to do a crash book, meaning I didn't have a very long window. I signed the contract in the middle of October, and the book was turned in before Christmas

2. As a busy mom of four, what was your writing process and did you have assistance?
I would get them ready for school, drop them off and write until they came home. Then I would take them to all their activities and when they went to bed I would start writing again. I started off dictating to someone but we found it easier for them to tell me what they thought I should write and I would go from there. The editor and this person were the ones who told me what the book needed, such as more of the baseball life, less of this more of that.

3. What is Asperger’s Syndrome and what are some common misconceptions about it?
I think we all know someone who has it. They sometimes don't understand personal space. They talk obsessively about a subject they like and tend to know much more than the average information about one subject. Some can't make eye contact and some are socially awkward. They are often bright and sometimes speak without a filter but it is never done out of meanness. They don't understand you have an opinion and often speak honestly. They don't get social understanding of when it is okay to bend the truth or lie.

4. Who are some famous Americans who have had this disease?
Clay Marzo the professional surfer is one example. You can see a video about him on the following link:

5. How is Grant doing at present and what is your outlook for the future?
Grant doesn't notice that other kids think he is different and that might change. Presently, he is in the fourth grade and adapts well in school. When he gets to middle school that is when I will worry. The social piece will really be escalated and changing multiple classes might be hard for him. For right now, I live in this moment.

6. Why do you feel that this book is important for all parents to read?
I think it is something that everyone should understand. There is no doubt in my mind that each of us knows a person with this syndrome. The message for the book is that you never know what goes on in someone’s family. Maybe if we just think that there are people out there every day dealing with this life, it would make us think before we judge, making this world a much happier place.

7. How has your husband, Curt Schilling, dealt with the diagnosis?
I think it was very hard for him to understand because he was not around it day in and day out. It wasn't until he retired and could see it on a daily basis that he realized that this is a totally different way to look at life.

8. How has your family adapted to life outside major league baseball and will Massachusetts be your home base?
We went right into a typical family life. None of us are looking back or missing it. Baseball was fun but the kids are happy to have two parents, and we do things that typical families do that we never got to do like vacations during spring break and barbecues at people’s houses.

9. As a Unionville, PA native, I am curious about what you enjoyed about living in the area?
Where we live now reminds me so much of there. It has a small town feel. Everyone knows one another, and you really feel like a village is helping to raise your kids.

10. What are some of your favorite books and what are your current projects?
My current projects include coaching softball for my daughter and running these crazy kids all over. I just read The Last Lecture. I love anything that inspires.

11. What reaction have you gotten from the book?
All positive, which is shocking? I think people didn't expect much since baseball wives are stereotyped. But they love the honesty and for parents with kids with autism or any challenges, I think it is nice for us know that we are not alone.