PROSPECT — Local author Kimberly Fox draws on her own experience for inspiration.
Her third novel, “To be a Star,” released Dec. 3, takes place in western New York, near Buffalo, where Fox grew up.
The romance centers on Taylor, a narcissistic yet handsome movie star whose life is changed when he falls in love with Tessa, a nurse with a 6-year-old autistic son, Andrew.
Fox is well qualified to tell a story about a little boy with autism, having raised one herself.
According to Fox, the experience has been challenging, but also very rewarding.
“I know what a lot of parents have to go through,” she said.
Fox says the novel, which took her six months to write, appeals not only to the romance genre’s traditional female audience, but to autistic parents.
Fox’s autistic son, is currently in high school.
Fox said teachers love his sweet and charming personality. Unlike some autistic children, her son is very affectionate, she said.
Fox said her son can understand what people say to him and talk, but he can’t express himself unprompted.
“I’ve always wondered what he’s thinking. I can see that intelligence in his eyes,” Fox said.
Fox hopes the book will teach the general population about autism.
People with autism need to socialize and be a part of their communities, Fox said.
“I want people to know, hey we’re people too,” she said.
Autism, unlike other developmental disorders, does not have any physical signs, Fox said.
“He looks very normal. You’d never know there is anything wrong,” she said.
Fox is donating a percentage of the profits from “To be a Star” to the Autism Society of America.
Despite the serious challenges of autism, the book is not a lecture on the disorder.
“The book is intended to entertain,” Fox said. “The main thrust of the story is the romance between movie star and nurse.”
Fox has a life-long passion for reading and writing.
“I grew up reading romance, so I guess that was my natural inclination,” Fox said.
She submitted her first article to Highlights for Children when she was ten. Although it was rejected, the magazine encouraged her to keep writing.
Before becoming an author, Fox wrote occasional news stories for the Prospect Pages, but she said she would rather write fiction.
“I prefer to write the stories that are in my head,” Fox said.
Fox is a self-described voracious reader. Her own taste is eclectic, including authors such as Tom Clancy, Nora Roberts, Steven King, and Dean Kuntz.
“It’s pure escapism for me,” Fox said, which is why her books revolve around glamorous Hollywood stars.
Fox said she never creates outlines for her books.
“Basically the characters just tell the story for me and it just flows,” she said.
Fox found her current publisher, iUniverse publishing, online after failing to find a publisher through the traditional route of agents.
“In this computerized world, anybody who has a cook book or a pet book can publish, but you really need to know how to write, to capture an audience, to be an author,” Fox said.
Fox has been doing most of the promotional work for her books herself, but it has been difficult getting the word out.
“In this economy, even well known authors have to do a lot of leg work,” Fox said.
She said she hopes the timing of her release around the holiday season and selling e-books will help push sales.
Fox said she has gotten very positive feedback for her first two novels, parts one and two of “A Distant Star,” a romance novel about a sexy Hollywood hunk who falls in love with a supermodel.
Fox is already working on her next novel; a mystery-romance-thriller entitled “Shattered Star.”
After her next novel is complete, Fox hopes to take a turn to work on a new series.
“If you can get your readers hooked on a series, that’s gravy,” she said.
Although it’s very difficult to break in to the book market, Fox believes “To be a Star” will have wide appeal.
She said she was very proud of new latest novel.
“I really think it is a break out book,” Fox said.
Fox will be signing her new book, “To be a Star,” at Images of Prospect on Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.