My name is Emily Holyoak, and I write Young Adult stories about teenagers on the autism spectrum. My dream is to see characters who represent autism on bookshelves, so my daughters can see themselves in books as they’re growing up. I also had epilepsy in childhood and have neurodiverse disabilities due to SCN1A.
My debut novel is called Newfangled. It’s scheduled to be published Fall 2022 with INCLUDAS publishing!
Dinah relies on her service dog, Higgins, and far-off fantasies to help her cope with the normies. A roller coaster of changes begins when she’s assigned a new therapist, and a new family in her mom’s autism support group throws her completely off. She accepts the challenge of helping organize fundraisers for the new boy and his cute older brother, unknowingly inviting some of the biggest changes she’ll ever face, like first romances and how to socially interpret text messages.
When I’m not writing, you’ll find me doing my best at this special needs mom /military wife /full-time student/ part-time freelance thing. When I have time, I like to play God by means of The Sims or Animal Crossing, live out my design fantasies vicariously through HGTV, or be crushed by my never-ending list of books I want to read before I die. Some of my favorite books are: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, Well Met by Jen DeLuca, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, and The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune.
My family suffers from a genetic mutation called SCN1A which can manifest in seizures, autism, migraines, and mood disorders. It’s my goal in life to educate others and advocate for awareness of these disorders that accompany SCN1A.
Emily is a 35-year-old mom of two autistic girls. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Professional and Creative Writing at Central Washington University. She currently ghostwrites at The Urban Writers. She’s a member of the International Women’s Writers Guild, The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, The Poetry Society of America, and a 6 time NaNoWriMo participant. She, her two girls, their two cats Pumpkin and Loki, follow their spouse /dad around the United States Air Force.
My oldest daughter is a sensory-avoider. Her least favorite sound is when she’s riding in the car and the tires make a sound against the pavement. She can only wear comfy clothes without tags and prefers snuggly onesie pajamas over all other clothes. She loves reading and can read middle-grade books on her own, is learning to play the piano and guitar, and loves Cold Stone Ice Cream. Her cousins in Utah and Colorado are her favorite people in the world. Pumpkin and Loki are her babies and she can’t bear to start her morning until she’s hugged them both. While she loves socializing and playing with friends, making them is a step that’s really hard for her. She wants to be the mother hen and take others under her wing. She broke her elbow in August of 2021 and describes that experience as the hardest thing she’s had to endure. She loves every animal on the planet and wants to adopt all that can’t take care of themselves. Her dream is to become a wildlife conservationist and own her own rescue ranch. Her current favorite things are: Pokémon, dinosaurs, Minecraft, Animal Crossing, Dogman, and watching superhero movies. Her favorite Marvel hero is Spiderman.
My youngest daughter is a sensory-seeker. She was in the NICU at 3 weeks old for refusing to eat like other babies, and she’s been in and out of hospitals ever since. At 4 months old, she had her first seizure. She had many others after that, becoming officially diagnosed with epilepsy like her mother before her. At 8 months old, she suffered a seizure 30 minutes long that almost took her life. She was life-flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City where she underwent many diagnostic procedures, only to come up empty. These symptoms were identical to mine and it caused us to pursue genetic testing, which resulted in us discovering SCN1A. This genetic mutation filled in the gaps of my own epilepsy in childhood. Now at almost 5 years old, we’re happy to say that she is growing out of her seizures, just like I did. Soon after we got our first daughter’s diagnosis of autism, we observed that as soon as our youngest began to walk, she took off with an abnormal gait, running in the exact same pattern back and forth for hours. She loved the swings and everything that made a rushing noise in her ears. She’s a thrill-seeker, a daredevil, and fears nothing, including injury. She broke her ankle jumping on the trampoline, spraining it again weeks later by twirling on the stairs. She loves to wake up in the middle of the night and sing at the top of her lungs. Her current favorite things are: Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig, Vlad and Niki, Numberblocks, and Frozen.
What People Say
And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.John Steinbeck
I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.Lewis Carroll
This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.Glennon Doyle