How would you classify your latest work, what inspired its inception?  

What I hoped to achieve with Capable sits at the intersection of memoir and handbook.  I strived to create a compelling, relatable story that also teaches.

How long did it take you to complete?  

7 years

Who are some of your top 5 authors or writers you look up to & admire? 

For style, my favorite authors are Amor Towles (Gentleman from Moscow) and Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist).  For substance, I love Paul Tough, (How Children Succeed), Debbie Reber (Differently Wired), Carol Dweck, (Mindset) and Andrew Solomon, (Far from the Tree).

Why do you write?  

I set out to write this book with one purpose: to help other parents who face a diagnosis with their child.  I wanted to give them a visceral experience through story that hopefully inspires them to parent courageously so that their child sees himself as capable.

What’s the biggest take away you want your readers to come away with after  reading your latest work?   

I want readers to say, this woman wasn’t special.  She parented her kid with high expectations, and it made a difference in his life and I can make a difference in my child’s life too.

How is the writing/reading scene in your locale?  

There is a vibrant writer’s community in Northern Colorado.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?  

Best book hand’s down–Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky

When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?   

There was no single “aha” moment, I had written a lot academically.   But when everything that I believed in and preached as an educator and educational researcher was challenged by the even tougher job of parenting a child who had been judged as “different”—I had to write about what I learned.

How have you evolved as a writer over the last year?  

I have absolutely loved discarding my academic writing style and finding the storyteller within me.

If you could meet, have dinner, have a drink with anyone (writer/non-writer) (dead or alive) who would it be?   

Harriett Tubman.  I talk a lot in the book about not parenting from a place of fear.  She was someone who stared fear in the face and did not flinch.  I would love to ask her once she made it North, how did she bring herself to go back over and over again?

What’s next for you?   

I am writing a companion guide to Capable that moves from story and memoir to guide book.  In it I will provide the nuts and bolts for how to maintain “capable” messages that will ultimately change your child’s life.

More on Educational Leadership:



Read “Capable” Book Review: /deborah-winking-think-different-inside-deborah-winkings-new-book-capable/

End of Interview