Samantha Picaro is the author of Limitless Roads Café. Her identity as #ActuallyAutistic informs her writing, where the heroines are determined, and comedy is balanced with drama. She has a B.A. in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work, and she has put those degrees to use in the nonprofit sector. When not writing or at her non-writing job, you can find her trying new coffee flavors, reading (of course), and volunteering for various causes. She lives in New Jerse
Did you always want to be an author? You probably hear this answer a lot but, yes, I always wanted to be an author.
What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? My most recent book is Limitless Roads Café. I was inspired to write it because I wanted more autistic girls on bookshelves, especially by #ActuallyAutistic writers. I also wanted to write a book where the protagonist is focused not on love or keeping a secret from parents but chasing a dream and preventing a beloved café from closing.
How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? I hope readers are inspired by the characters to take chances, and pursue dreams as well as challenge doubt from others as well as from within. I especially hope to make readers with disabilities feel seen and empowered.
What are you most excited about with this book? I’m excited to add more #ActuallyAutistic writing to bookshelves.
How did writing a book help your career take off? I have formed connections with fellow readers and reviewers, influencers, and other types of people. I’ve gained the confidence to start preparing my next book for publication.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in your professional industry? You don’t just write for readers. You write for yourself, because you want and need to tell a story.
How do you handle setbacks and criticism? I remind myself every author receives setbacks and criticism. There is no such thing as the perfect book or perfect way to market or publish. If the criticism is constructive, I try to move past my feelings and improve my writing.
Being an author today is like running a business. How do you manage all your publicity, social media and keep your engagement up with readers? The ability to schedule posts on Facebook and Instagram is a total time-saver. I try to keep up engagement by mixing up posts. I have different types of posts, like questions (i.e. “What is your favorite outfit on a book cover?”), books I’d recommend from the same genre, and so on.
How do you hold yourself accountable and achieve the goals that you set forth? Like my main character, I make LOTS of to-do lists and checklists. Whether it’s in a notebook, on my calendar, on my Notepad on my phone, or on sticky notes, I make lists. I check off accomplishments as I move along.
How do you structure your day and make time for writing? It’s all about prioritizing, at which I’ve become a pro. I put work or my volunteer responsibilities first, then get down to writing, marketing, and whatever else I need to do. I do my best to get errands and chores out of the way so I’m not switching between checking the laundry and editing my manuscript.
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers? If you’re a writer, it’s important to still read. The more you write, the stronger a writer you become but the same can be said for reading. After all, most, if not all, writers become writers after being readers first.
Connect with Samantha via her website.
Images Courtesy of Samantha Picaro