Autistic. Woman. Writer. A powerful combination.
Heather Cook writes fiction for children and adults. She is currently working on picture books to help children with autism and other social challenges navigate the often confusing expectations of everyday social encounters.
She was diagnosed with autism—aka Aspergers—in her 30s, which explained so many challenges and successes throughout her life. She describes her diagnosis as a “get out of jail free card,” letting her let go of expectations and be herself. After that, she spent three years traveling the United States in a van she converted into living quarters herself, to get to know the USA and her inner landscape.
Now she works as a peer counselor, helping autistic individuals and their families, she tutors autistic kids, and writes short stories for fun and to improve her fiction-crafting skills. This is her “Second Chance Life,” and she is crafting a life she loves.
In her first life, she taught German at a public high school for three years and a community college for five years, and worked in early childhood education for several years. She was also a freelance editor, serial entrepreneur, and once translated a novel from German to English.
She has a BA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she was awarded the Literature Prize for Poetry and Prose in 2006 for her original short story “Sun Tea.”
St. John’s College explores the classics of Western civilization through an immersive Great Books program in which students read and discuss the original texts that established each subject. The all-required curriculum is equivalent to a double major in philosophy and the history of science and math, and a double minor in literature and the classics.
Heather is a world traveler and adventurer. She has shorn sheep in Greece, gone skydiving out of a helicopter in the Swiss Alps, been body surfing in Malibu, toured temples in Japan, accidentally snuck in to see da Vinci’s Last Supper in Milan, attended a bull race near Barcelona, painted a church in Mexico, survived hospitals in England and Germany, piloted her Cessna 182 airplane throughout the USA’s Southwest, has been white water rafting, mountain climbing, rappelling, horseback riding (competitively), and has had many other adventures in 14 countries.