I can’t believe spring is here. The only thing that excites me more than spring was the release of Hawthorne Manor on May 2, 2023. This story is a humorous exploration of the foibles of aging and the beauty that exists in a found family. The book is filled with witty banter and eccentric characters and yet addresses important issues about family, life, acceptance, understanding, and unconditional love. The heart of the book is a topic that is deeply personal to me—autism.
I have a niece and nephew who are on the autism spectrum. They are incredibly beautiful people who have endured more than they should have to. I witnessed their struggles as teenagers. They are survivors, thriving in a world that doesn’t always understand them. So, when Elliot and Mikael came to me in my sleep, asking me to tell their story, I couldn’t say no.
Hawthorne Manor is a story with which everyone will resonate. We all have imprints from early childhood. As a young boy and throughout my teens, I was teased and bullied because of my skin color. In the book, Elliot is teased and bullied in school for being on the spectrum.
Mikael is an amazing person and a compassionate nurse. He acts as a caregiver and nurturer, an innate quality that comes with a price. My husband is an excellent ICU nurse, and I drew from his many years of work—from patient care to family care to his own self-care and discovery of who he is and why. When you witness a caregiver in action, it’s pretty amazing how they are wired.
Mr. Hawthorne plays an important role in this book as well. Ageism is a real discrimination in this world that no one seems to want to talk about. Society places beauty and youth on a pedestal. Ageism is extremely prevalent in the LGBTQ+ community. The older a person gets, the more invisible they become. Mr. Hawthorne is eighty-eight years old, and Elliot and Mikael are in their early twenties. When we can look past someone’s age, we will see their relevance and gift of wisdom.
One of the differences in my characters that ultimately sets them apart from characters in other books is that they are like you and me. They hurt and feel pain the same as we do. They love deeply and—most importantly—they are flawed.
The core of the plot is not just a beautiful love story but a sense of realism that allows readers to escape their lives as they are reading.
Hawthorne Manor is about finding your place in the world and connecting with people who understand the core of who you are. We don’t get to choose the family we’re born into, but we do get to choose the family we find—our “found family”. In Hawthorne Manor, a found family forms for everyone. It’s an amazing place to be.
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