I am lucky. Not everyone can say those three little words. Like most people I might not have the most money – like most I have to budget and think carefully before splashing the cash, but I do own my own home, I have a gorgeous garden, a small menagerie of pets (okay, I would have more disposable money without the latter but would I be as happy?), and I have a wonderful wife to share all of the above.
It has not been easy for me to get to this position though. I struggled to make friends – do anything, share anything, anytime friends – at school. I went to university twice because I failed to read the questions at job interviews correctly and struggled to land myself a “proper” job. I lived alone for years, not unhappily fortunately because I like my own company, but always wanting something more, like other people have.
That’s why I want to help people who aren’t and haven’t been as fortunate as me. As Spock says in Star Trek, “the good of the many outweighs the good of the one”. But what can I do? I’m of a quiet personality. That’s probably another effect of the Aspergers that is part of me. I’m not sure if I’m made for the big fundraising campaign. But even so I want to help people get the help I need.
I got help, thanks to a cousin who recognised how I might be different, and after a stray word to a manager at work I got a course of intensive coaching into living with and understanding myself better. This lead to a better job and the confidence to find the girl who would become my wife.
The National Autistic Society is “the leading charity” in the UK for people with autism (including Aspergers syndrome) and their families. They provide information, support and pioneering services and campaign for a better world for people with autism.
My novel Mr Tumnal is about a man who undeniably has Aspergers. Not that it’s a story about Aspergers. It’s also not an autobiography, but there is an awful lot of Me in the book. It seems somehow fitting to me to use my book to help raise money to help people like me who haven’t had the help that I have benefitted from, people who have not been as lucky as me.
That is why from now until the end of September I am pledging to give 50% of the profits (and at least £1) from the sale of my book (eBook or paperback – whichever takes your fancy) anywhere in the world to help the National Autistic Society.
97p in every £1 goes directly to helping people affected by autism.
By the end of September I like to have raised £60 because:
- £5 a month pays for 5 anxious parents to get advice from our Autism Helpline.
- £10 a month helps pay for a befriender to meet regularly with someone with autism.
- £20 a month helps us to give practical support to someone with autism who is looking for work.
Help me to help them, and get to read a book too that has been a very special part of Me for the best part of a decade.
Lewis Tumnal is a man with the life he always dreamed of: a job he loves, a wife who loves him and the smartest, sassiest daughter he could wish for. It’s also the imaginary life of Louis Tumnal, an English teacher and lonely bachelor.
When he joins a photography class he meets Kathryn Summers and the real and the imaginary become entwined, Louis and Kathryn need each other to free him from his childlike and innocent world and the magic that has bound him for twenty-two years. But at what cost?
†50% Profit share to National Autistic Soiety is for all copies sold between 15 August to 31 September 2015 in either paperback or ebook formats anywhere in the world.
‡Neither book, Mr Tumnal, nor T E Shepherd are affiliated in any way or endorsed by National Autistic Society.