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Thank you, Sabrina

In this year’s Rita Awards ceremony, the audience watched clips of authors thanking fellow authors who had played an important role in their writing careers.

We’re all in this together.

When RWA called for submissions for this feature, I sent in an entry–to thank Sabrina Jeffries for all she’s meant to me. We were selected to participate, but our clip ended on the proverbial cutting room floor. Since I missed my chance to thank her at the RITAs, I’ll express my gratitude here today.

Sabrina and I write in completely different subgenres, so it might seem like we have little in common. But in our private lives, we share a strong bond. We’re both the mothers of autistic adults. Whenever we talk, the conversation inevitably turns to our kids. How are they doing? How are we managing? Autism is a spectrum of disorders, and parents of autistics have a spectrum of experiences. Yet we can always connect over the joys and challenges of being autism moms.

It’s inevitable that Sabrina and I write neuro-diverse characters into our books. My latest release has an autistic main character–and Natalie’s autism is a key part of the story.  It was Sabrina’s willingness to support me that led to my submission to We’re all in this together. 

Here is my entry to RWA:

I met Sabrina Jeffries through my local RWA chapter. She’s gracious to us all, but her generosity became personal for me last summer.

Sabrina and I were on the same flight to Orlando in July 2017 for RWA Nationals. As we shared a ride to the Dolphin Resort, we become engrossed in a conversation about something we have in common besides writing. We’re both autism moms.

Sabrina Jeffries and Julia Day

Sabrina Jeffries and Julia Day at RWA Conference – Orlando

For the entire drive, we caught up on each other’s children. Sabrina’s son—who is severely autistic—is thriving in his group home. My daughter, who has Asperger’s, was about to move to Connecticut for graduate school.

I mentioned to Sabrina that my next YA book would have a main character with Asperger’s. She offered to help, any way she could. We both laughed about that, since I write sweet YA contemporaries and she writes sexy adult historicals.

A month later, though, I contacted her. Would she read the manuscript and give me a cover quote? Her response was immediate. YES! And not only did she give me a lovely quote, she was willing to promote the book.

After Fade to Us released, there were some who questioned my “credentials” for writing it. I had been reluctant to talk openly about having a child on the autism spectrum, believing it’s my daughter’s story to tell. Sabrina was there for me again with these wise words to consider.

SJ: “Being an autism mom is part of your life, too. Can you feel comfortable sharing that your inspiration came from the experiences of your daughter and family? Can you publicly celebrate the success your daughter has had?

It was the perfect advice. With my daughter’s blessing, I’ve become more open on social media about being an autism mom.

Sabrina didn’t forget her offer to promote. She’s been amazing about getting the word out about the book on twitter, Facebook, and goodreads.

Her actions are exactly what RWA embodies for the community of romance authors. Sabrina has given generously to me through her words, encouragement, and support as I released a story so close to my heart. I can’t thank her enough.

 

Do you have an author who has helped your career? If so, join us in the comments and thank him or her.

Do you have a child or family member with differences? However you manage those struggles, please know that the writing community has your back. We are there for you, so find us in whatever way is comfortable for you! 

 

Julia Day  is an author of young adult fiction, including Fade to Us, a sweet YA contemporary with an autistic main character. She also writes YA magical realism as Elizabeth Langston. (Her book I WISH is free through August 9.)

11 responses to “Thank you, Sabrina”

  1. Wonderful post, Beth. It really is an incredible community. So many writers have inspired and encouraged me and continue to do so. Bravo to you for having the courage to write something so personal and here’s to Ms. Jeffries for supporting and celebrating that!

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    • Julia Day says:

      You’re right. There are so many people to thank. Our writing community is kind. It feels good to take the opportunity to thank each other.

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  2. Heather McCollum says:

    Fabulous post and great reminder that we should always try to support one another.
    Darynda Jones was wonderful and gave me a cover quote for my YA paranormal book.
    Madeline Martin gave me a cover quote for one of my Scottish historicals, and she encouraged me and taught me how to do live stream FB posts. She also encourages us to stay healthy with her reader/writer exercise FB page.

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    • Julia Day says:

      I met someone in our local RWA chapter who had written in a different subgenre. She mentioned that when she moved to romance, she was stunned (in a good way) about how generous romance authors are with the time and information. I’ve never known any other way, so it just seems normal to me.

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    • Because it was wonderful!!! XOX

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  3. What a wonderful post, Beth! I have to give a shout out to the lovely JR Ward, who not only gave me an incredible cover quote for my debut, but promoted me as well, just like Sabrina, whom I adore, did for you.

    Isn’t it wonderful when big name authors support us? That’s what I love about this genre. There are so many authors willing to encourage and support their fellow writers. It’s such a wonderful group.

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  4. This is a lovely post, Beth. From the very beginning, I was astonished and grateful at how generous fellow authors are. There are so many people to thank, but I’d like to give a special shout-out to Julianne MacLean. Such a smart and kind-hearted lady.

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    • Elizabeth Langston says:

      So many people could be thanked, but it’s nice to get an opportunity to give a special word of gratitude.

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  5. Kate Parker says:

    Lovely post, Beth. And yes, romance writers are very supportive, even of mystery writers!

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  6. Laurie Kellogg says:

    What a wonderful post, Beth. I hope your book helps to educate the public on the challenges of Autism.

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