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Author Interview: Robert Callaway

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Kathy Stickles is talking with Robert Callaway, author of Becoming Forever Families.

FQ: Would you tell us a little bit about your own background and how you came to write this book and the previous ones about the Wilkinson family? What made you want to put your feelings down on paper?

CALLAWAY: I was diagnosed on the autism spectrum over 30 years ago, and a therapist who knows me very well recognized that I have an important message to share, which will help many people. I have learned how to overcome practically all aspects of this disorder, and I share how higher functioning individuals with this disorder and similar brain developmental disorders can overcome them and live happy, fulfilling lives. This information is shared in the story of the Wilkinson family, along with the trials they experienced, and how these life experiences prepare them to become forever families.

FQ: Never having read the previous books, I am hoping for a little background on the Wilkinson family from previous stories. While I know that the books are considered non-fiction, I am wondering if the Wilkinson family is a real one in your life, or a family created for the story to make your points.

CALLAWAY: As this book, Becoming Forever Families, is a sequel to my other two books, it is highly recommended that the prequel Living a Miracle be read first, so that the reader can understand the story and the continuity within this book. Ethan was diagnosed with autism, which created some unique issues for him and his family, including his two younger sisters. The Wilkinson family is based on information from a neighbor lady I knew, whose grandson was diagnosed with autism, and needed helpful information from me to share with him and his parents.

Names have been changed in this story, and I have included some fictionalized material within the story, based on actual events I have witnessed, to make the story of the Wilkinson family more understandable, and to help make the points I present very clear.

FQ: I really do love the title of the book. I thought it was a lovely statement and am curious as to whether the title came first, or did it kind of just show up as you wrote?

CALLAWAY: The title of this book came to me first, as this concept was briefly mentioned in my previous book, Living a Miracle. I felt this is a rather important title, as family members have very strong connections with each other, and want them to continue forever.

FQ: Do you have any plans to continue the Wilkinson family story in another book and, if so, what do you see coming next? Is there more for them to teach us?

CALLAWAY: I don’t have any immediate plans to continue this story, as I desire to promote these important messages I have written with as many people as possible. However, I may continue their story at a future time with a message of how a high functioning autistic adult can teach and help other people in ways never imagined previously, so that people can realize that their family ties really can continue forever.

FQ: I see from your bio that you have done a variety of things in life. I have to ask what possessed you to switch to writing and teaching others through that writing?

CALLAWAY: When I realized that I was becoming much more capable in many aspects of my life, and I recognized more blessings that God has given me later in my life, I had a strong feeling that I really need to share this important, true information; that it would resonate with a great number of people.

FQ: Have you put any thought into a different genre of writing and what you might be able to produce, or is non-fiction where your passion lies?

CALLAWAY: The family story in my last two books does include more realistic fictionalized material, especially with my last book. My first book, however, is more non-fictional, with some biographical information. I do enjoy writing both types, but I enjoy writing fiction a bit more.

FQ: Although I might be able to guess the answer to this question, I have to ask...If you could meet anyone (alive or dead) for one hour, whom would you choose and why?

CALLAWAY: I would choose my wife, who has now passed on, because I would like to see her again and talk about some important items, including my published books which were written since her passing, and the important messages they contain.

FQ: I really enjoyed your Reading Guide and believe it would make an excellent guide to run discussions in small group sessions. Have you ever done this? Perhaps meeting with Bible study groups or similar groups?

CALLAWAY: I am in the process of working with some people to make this happen, and I’m sure that when this book reaches a larger number of people, especially Christians, that they will desire to incorporate this book into their book clubs, as it touches on a very interesting subject.

FQ: I see from your author biography that you have a background in science and mathematics. I've often heard from scientists that you can't believe in science and also believe in God. Why do you think some scientists believe this? I've always wondered about it.

CALLAWAY: I know that since God has created all things, that all science is included in this, and I know that those scientists who don’t yet understand this fact will learn of this at some future time. I know that everything is connected, including how we all fit into the picture.

FQ: Now that Becoming Forever Families is complete, what comes next for Robert Callaway?

CALLAWAY: I have been working on some anecdotal short stories. This is still a work in progress. As noted earlier, a continuation of the Wilkinson family’s story might be forthcoming.

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