I virtually met Cindy on our Geek Club Books Facebook community where she talked about becoming an author:
My journey with DJ hasn’t always been easy but as my husband Michael and I wrote this book, I was able to look at some of the highlights of my life and began to feel blessed by all that we have accomplished.
I hope our book encourages others to share their journey and continue to strive for the best. I NEVER thought in a million years that I would see my son on the front page of a book…Or that my name would be on the title as the author.
I just want to thank my family, Facebook friends and celebrities we’ve met for your support and helping to make this possible. Listening to some of your journeys gave me the courage to write my own novel and talk about the things that I was too scared to talk about before.
THIS IS A DREAM COME TRUE!!!
Tell us about your new book, That’s My DJ: A Family’s Journey with an Autistic Child.
Cindy: That’s MY DJ is a very personal novel about our family journey with an autistic child. It was written by me and my husband Michael Mayhew. In this novel we go over the highlights from the day DJ was born. We talk about my first failed marriage, my struggle as a single mother, the moment I found out DJ had autism and how I handled the situation, when I met my soon to be husband, Michael, and overall how we as a family live and function on a day-to-day basis. This book doesn’t pull any punches and is pretty straight forward. We deal with the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to autism and our family matters.
What inspired you to write it?
Michael: Cindy always said she wanted to write a book about DJ but didn’t know how to go about doing it. I have a little experience in writing so we collectively put the pieces of the puzzle together and started writing the book. Not to mention, there was a terrible incident that happened with DJ that we wanted to get off our chest. One of DJ’s teacher put hot sauce on his finger to allegedly stop him from digging in his nose…Once we were able to get all the details we were appalled by the overall outcome. So we decided to talk about the incident in the book to show how we handled such a terrible situation.
Who’s your illustrator and how did the images capture the spirit of your book?
Cindy: We actually did our own illustrations, and the self-publishing company CreateSpace did the formatting. The illustration shows our son DJ holding his arms up in victory, because he made it through the first stages of his life and was close to thirteen by the time the book was complete. The title, “THAT’S MY DJ” comes from the popular song by the rap artist Lil Wayne, and the letters DJ are a picture puzzle of him growing up. The puzzle is a very significant symbol of autism.
Who is the ideal reader and how do you see the book being used?
Cindy: The ideal reader would be other parents with autistic children that are going through some of the same things that we are experiencing. Autism awareness is very important in the autism community and it’s important that we share our stories so we can try to learn from each other and teach each other as well. Also, a lot of people are becoming more curious about autism these days. So our ideal readers have become those people that want to know what autism and family lives are all about.
What’s the message you want your readers to take away after reading the book?
Cindy: Awareness, acceptance and hopefully love. Awareness is very important because autism is very big in America and most likely across the world. We have to analyze everything we know or think we know about autism so that the world has a better understanding and acceptance of our autistic children and adults, no matter what part of the spectrum that person is on.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your book?
Michael: Autism Awareness Month is in April. We hope this becomes well known across the country so everyone can become familiar with Autism Awareness and help honor and celebrate our autism community. It’s time to end all the controversies and autism community wars and start coming together as a nation.
Do you have a proud moment you’d like to share?
Cindy: The day DJ was born was one of the proudest moments of my life. He was my first son and I still adore him to death. I was also very proud when I received the first copy of my book; I was in total shock of how pretty the front cover looked!
Michael: My proudest moment was when I gave up my selfish needs and became a full time father to my kids. Looking back, I gave up the life I thought I wanted and gained a whole new perspective of what life is about. I know that may not make too much sense, but once you read the book you’ll understand.
I was also excited when Cindy met the actor Will Smith and gave him a copy of the book. I hope he reads it and gets familiar with the Autism awareness movement.
If our readers leave with only one message after reading this interview, what would you like it to be?
Cindy and Michael: AUTISM AWARENESS!!!!!
Where to buy the book and discover more:
Images courtesy of Cindy Mayhew