Saturday, May 1, 2010

Author with Special Needs

From: Jessica Aday Kennedy

Date: April 29, 2010 8:04:48 PM PDT

To: Janet Ann Collins

Subject: Re: Interview Questions

Jessica, I interviewed you on August 26, 2009 about your condition as a ventilator dependent quadriplegic and you mentioned that you write full time. Can you please explain how you manage to do that without the use of your hands and arms?

It’s strange, but a person is considered a quadriplegic if they don’t have full use of both arms, hands and legs. I have partial use of my left arm and hand. I peck at the key board with one finger. I’m a triplegic =+)

Can you recommend any devices or software for other people who have similar physical limitations?

I’m stuck in bed many days. I’ve got a desk from It slides over my bed. When I’m not in my wheelchair I can still work.

I’m legally blind. I bought keyboard stickers. They let me have large letters on my keyboard I can see. Anyone with poor eyesight could use them. They’re about $10.00.

All MS Windows programs have disability features. They can make your icons bigger, allow you to press one key at a time (Shift and a letter pressed separately will give you a capital letter). You can move the mouse using the number key pad. The magnifier is the feature I find most useful.

I use TextAloud to read to me. It helps me in the editing process and to listen to email and the internet. It allows me to hear what I’ve written. Anyone that writes could use this tool.

Why do you write for children, and where do you get your ideas?

I’m the biggest kid that ever lived. I always am buying toys, watching children’s movies, playing games, etc. Becoming disabled allowed me to remain a child. I don’t have a husband or children of my own and revel in the fact I don’t have “grown up” responsibilities.

When I’m looking for things to write about the ideas can come from any where. For example, my book that was just released is “Klutzy Kantor”. I tried to think of what makes kids laugh. Tripping and falling cause a chuckle from everyone. Then I tried to think of what adults look for. A positive lesson and entertaining story appeals to them.

A smart, but awkward and clumsy kid may not easily fit in. So my character is a klutz, but smart. Who do I know that’s smart and a klutz? My sister is very smart and a total klutz.

I like fantasy fiction. I flipped through my monster manual from Dungeons & Dragons and saw the Pegasus. My main character became a clumsy Pegasus. I also ran across a leprechaun. The leprechaun became my nemesis.

My friend (she’s from India) told me a wacky riddle. I wound it into my story. I hope I succeeded in writing a funny picture book that kids and adults will enjoy.

How much time do you usually spend at the computer in a typical day?

I spend almost twelve hours on my computer every day. My coordination is poor. Half my time is spent fixing what my fumbling fingers have attempted to type. This interview will take at least two hours. It’s frustrating and probably the biggest hurdle in my writing.

I joke. “Be careful what you pray for, because God may give you the circumstances to provide you with the life experiences necessary to become “patient.” For this reason I don’t pray for patience.

Please tell us something about your books and where we can learn more about them and you.

Visit my blog at for writing and marketing tips or my website at for information about me and my writing.

I have eight picture books under contract. I try to use humor and a style that will attract reluctant readers and boys.

All of my children’s books have a positive message, are Christian friendly, cater to boys and reluctant readers, and include a teacher’s guide as part of the book or for download on my website.

When I’m not writing for children, I write Christian and inspirational articles for adults.

Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?

I’m running a contest/drawing to celebrate my fifth essay’s inclusion in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. I will give one Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad book to a lucky winner and if fifteen or more people leave a comment, I will give two away. Be sure to leave your email address.

You can gain double entries by announcing the contest at this blog and

Here are the rules.

Leave a comment at the two blogs for additional entries for each.

Blog about the contest for two entries. (leave link)

Tweet about the contest (leave link)

Announce it on Facebook for two entries (leave link)

For an additional entry announce the contest on Live Journal, Jacket Flap, Book Marketing Network, LinkedIn or another social network (leave link)

The contest will end at midnight Monday May 3, 2010.

Thanks, Jessica. I'll mention your contest and review your book at


  1. Jess, you're amazing and I am in complete awe of your tenacity and determination. You're an inspiration to everyone.

    Jan, thank you so much for posting this great interview about a very special author.

    Love and hugs to you both, Nanyc

  2. Great interview, Jessica you are something.

  3. Excellent interview ladies. Jess, you're one awesome person.


    Enter drawing- FREE copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad w/ "A RealDad" essay by Jessica Kennedy


  4. Great interview! I enjoyed learning so much about Jessica. She is quite an inspirational woman.


  5. Thanks for dropping by.

  6. Jess I loved the book and I am happy you are a writer and one of my personal heroes. Great Interview Jan