Chynna Laird, mother of 4, 2 with special needs, turns author
By GaelMc on August 11, 2012
Chynna Laird is a writer, psychology major and mother of four. Her rich life experiences and daughter, Jaimie, and son Xander who live with Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder inspire her. Her mother and grandmother had bipolar disorder. She writes to raise awareness for families dealing with special needs children worldwide.
In the fourth grade a publisher led Chynna’s class in the process of writing, editing and publishing a book. Chynna was excited. “My book was, The Adventures of Superbug. Superbug was invincible with a size 12 tennis shoe. We hand wrote the books on plain paper. The binding process involved lamination and staples. Publishing meant placing our books in the school library. I checked daily to see how many kids borrowed it. It did pretty well, surprisingly. Instead of taking it home at the end of the school year I forgot poor Superbug. Years later, my hysterical sister returned from school waving a borrowed book. It was Superbug! It was a sign. I was meant to write.”
Chynna advises young writers to find a writing mentor, a teacher, a counsellor, or an author passionate about writing. “Having one person believe in you and your writing is important, especially one who knows about the craft of writing.”
Chynna says young writers build confidence and experience by writing in a genre that emphasizes their individual strengths. “In fiction writers create characters and really use their imagination. In nonfiction, writers draw from personal experiences.”
As Chynna writes on many taboo subjects she doesn’t think “...there are any subjects the younger writer shouldn’t write about”. However she cautions, “Taboo issues should be approached in a respectful way (as) it takes talent to write about difficult subjects in an entertaining, respectful and informative manner”.
Chynna emphasizes the need to research subjects by using ‘Google’, a library or by consulting with knowledgeable experts. Personal experience combined with facts lends additional impact. And, “Your writing mentor will help you pull it all together”.
“A writer’s age doesn’t determine the worth of a story. My daughter creates brilliant stories about issues we should discuss more. She is nine years old.”
Chynna’s favorite project was Blackbird Flies, her first fiction book for younger readers. She wrote it in a few weeks as a ‘happy distraction’ from writing her memoir, White Elephants. While writing Blackbird Flies she asked herself, ‘What would I have done differently if I had the chance?’ Payton, my protagonist in Blackbird Flies, does it.”
Her characters keep Chynna interested in her works until the last page. She revels in the situations they create. If her attention strays or she gets stuck, she turns to another project until she can return to the first one with fresh eyes.
Chynna loves books for young people “...when I take my kids to the library I visit the young readers and teen sections before heading to the adult section. Connecting with young people through books, reading and writing fills my soul with happiness.” He YA suspense paranormal was recently released titled Dark Water.
Through an unhappy childhood Chynna turned to music, books or writing to create safety in tough times. “Writing is for those who need creative distractions.”
Being a successful author is not just about writing. Chynna says “Authors are responsible for a great deal of their own marketing and promotion. You have to set time aside for that. If you don’t promote yourself no one will discover your work.”
Chynna’s most powerful source of inspiration is her four children. “They are all energetic and excited about life, but my two children with special needs inspire me the most. They help me see the world through different eyes and show me that there isn’t just one set way of doing things. We each do things to the best of our ability and that’s fantastic.
“I’m also tremendously inspired by every day people doing or achieving extraordinary things. My grandparents, long passed, will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life.”
Her future is filled with books. Her first (and, she says “probably, only”) adult suspense/thriller, Out Of Sync, was just released in March. She is working on a YA fantasy series. “Finally I am working on a sequel to my award-winning memoir, Not Just Spirited. I actually have a lot of projects on the go to keep me busy.”
She advises writers to “Keep moving forward. If you have a story inside of you, write it out. The challenge lies in finishing the story. So many writers start but half-finish projects. Finish it.
“Work toward your dream. Writing books was never in my plan and here I am waiting for my sixth book to be released. Pay attention to the tiny forks in the road where your dreams want you to go. You’d be surprised where you’re taken.”
To learn more about Chynna visit: