In this special episode, we chat to Kay Kerr, author of Please Don’t Hug Me and the newly released Social Queue. Topics include: autism representation, Kay’s writing processes for both of her books, and self-care. We also discuss Please Don’t Hug Me in spoilery details in the second half of the episode (we’ll let you know when this starts!).
About Kay’s Books
Please Don’t Hug Me
A funny-serious story about what happens when you stop trying to be the person other people expect you to be and give yourself a go.
Erin is looking forward to Schoolies, at least she thinks she is. But things are not going to plan. Life is getting messy, and for Erin, who is autistic, that’s a big problem. She’s lost her job at Surf Zone after an incident that clearly was not her fault. Her driving test went badly even though she followed the instructions perfectly. Her boyfriend is not turning out to be the romantic type. And she’s missing her brother, Rudy, who left almost a year ago.
But now that she’s writing letters to him, some things are beginning to make just a tiny bit of sense.
‘I thought I was nobody’s teen crush, but turns out I was just missing the signs.’
Zoe Kelly is starting a new phase of her life. High school was a mess of bullying and autistic masking that left her burnt out and shut down. Now, with an internship at an online media company—the first step on the road to her dream writing career—she is ready to reinvent herself. But she didn’t count on returning to her awkward and all-too-recent high-school experiences for her first writing assignment.
When her piece, about her non-existent dating life, goes viral, eighteen-year-old Zoe is overwhelmed and more than a little surprised by the response. But, with a deadline and a list of romantic contenders from the past to reconnect with for her piece on dating, she is hoping one of her old sparks will turn into a new flame.
About the Author
Kay Kerr is a former journalist and community newspaper editor from Brisbane, now living on the Sunshine Coast with her husband and daughter and working as a freelance writer.
Kay was writing Please Don’t Hug Me, her debut novel, when she received her own autism-spectrum diagnosis.
Relevant mental health resources:
- Yellow Ladybugs is an Australian-based organisation that runs regular informal social events for girls with ASD, generally between the ages of five and sixteen. They aim to foster a sense of belonging and to connect the girls with their tribe. They also have a page with a registry of practitioners who may be able to assist with girls and ASD.
- Dr Tony Attwood is a psychologist who specialises in girls and women with Asperger’s (or now known as ASD). He has written several publications on Asperger’s syndrome. Here is a video of Dr Attwood talking about good mental health for autistic girls and women.
- Aspect is an Australian-based organisation that provides information about ASD as well as how to find support.