Me: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Jay: I received custody of my five year old (at the time) son in Sept 2018 and exactly a week later his testing results from when he was with his mother came back confirming that he was on the spectrum of Autism and ADHD. I had to become a quick study as far as understanding what Autism and ADHD was and how it will affect him and also how I raise my son while also getting him up to speed as much as I can with his peers as he was starting Kindergarten the following week. It was a struggle initially but with my and my son’s perseverance, we made it work. I would say it took almost the whole school year for me to understand him and for us to get a routine down. I was initially reluctant to reveal to others my son was on the spectrum but once I did, I received a lot of messages from friends and strangers revealing they also have children on the spectrum and asked for methods I used to help myself and my son. I eventually came to the conclusion it would be pretty cool to take some of the lessons I’ve taught my son and put it in a book so perhaps it could be helpful to others whose children will experience similar situations when they start school.
Me: How long does it take you to write a book?
Jay: This book took about a month to write with a collaborator. And then an additional couple of weeks working with the illustrator.
Me: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Jay: I am active duty Air Force stationed in Germany so I’m working between 10-12 hour days Monday through Friday. I usually wait until my kids (I have a teenage daughter as well) are all settled for the evening and then I’ll write and interact with my collaborator in the evening because it’s still daytime in the U.S.
Me: Do you intend to keep writing?
Jay: I am still not sure if I want to commit to writing full time but I do plan on writing a few books on teaching other children how to interact with children on the spectrum as well because I truly feel the world needs more of that. My son has a difficult time making friends and I really feel with all the other awareness and inclusion going on in the world, why not incorporate special needs children in that as well?
Me: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Jay: To be honest, I am not sure, haha. I am a stickler for outline first though, if that counts as a quirk.
Me: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Jay: Life lessons. Every scenario in this book I personally had to help my son overcome these challenges. I loved the idea of an owl because we all know owl’s are deemed as wise and I really wanted to make it fun for parents as well as kids.
Me: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Jay: To be honest, the most surprising thing is that it was not as intimidating or as daunting as I initially believed it would be. Even the process of getting it copyrighted was more simple than I imagined.
Jay Mckoskie is inspired by his special needs son. In an effort to help not only his child, but all kids on the spectrum and their parents, he decided to write books that encourage positive teaching on tough topics. By applying his knowledge of what his own son struggled with, he has been able to craft stories to help other kids and their parents get through their own difficulties. He hopes to help teach other children how to interact with children on the spectrum because it’s difficult for them to make friends because they’re so different.
When Jay isn’t writing, he enjoys spending time with his two children and his girlfriend. He can often be found cooking mouthwatering meals for his family, and he travels every time he has the opportunity. He hopes that his knowledge can help other parents of children on the spectrum and the children themselves.