Author Showcase Feature with Book Excellence Award Finalist Romy Wyllie

Book Title: Loving Andrew: A Fifty-Two-Year Story of Down Syndrome

How did you know you wanted to be an author? Our house was left untouched in a devastating wildfire that swept through our neighborhood. I suddenly realized that we could have lost all our records of bringing up a child with Down syndrome. A voice urged me to start writing and tell the story of bringing up our first born child, Andrew, as an integral part of our family at a time when most families placed their handicapped children in institutions.

What is your advice for aspiring authors? If you had to do it again, what would you have done differently? Choose a subject that you know something about; use your own experiences as a basis; do thorough research and write every day. Make a good outline and follow it as much as possible. Don’t get involved with editing, cutting, moving text around until most of your book is written. Then edit and CUT!

Do you have any writing rituals or practices? After a morning exercise routine, I work in my office every day. I try to deal with emails and essential phone calls as quickly as possible, then settle down to writing. Most days I work for about 5 or 6 hours. Once I have started, an inner voice seems to take over and help me write. When I have completed a chapter, I will print the draft so I can read and do some preliminary editing. However, I try not to get bogged down in editing until I have completed the whole book.

What message do you want readers to remember? Although some parts of Loving Andrew are sad, I would like to think that readers find it an uplifting story about a person with Down syndrome, who was first and foremost a contributing member of society and was more like others than different. I hope readers will experience what Andrew’s pastor felt: “To know Andrew was to love him.” The last sentence of the Epilogue summarizes the message of the book: “We lived though our difficulties, built up a family who brought us many rewards, and help Andrew be the best he could, being what he was with the gifts that he was given.”

How can fans get in contact with you?
Through my web site: http://www.romywyllie.com