A young boy’s life path is changed forever when he receives the diagnosis every parent fears. Matthew Pickering has always known that he is different. Loud noises never seem to pierce other people’s ears the way they do his, or bright lights burn their eyes as intensely as they do his own. Other people are not stared at in the same way as him, or mistreated to quite the same extent, simply for being themselves. Although the word ‘autistic’ may mean very little to four-year-old Matthew, it is set to take on great meaning for him throughout his teenage years, and into his adult life. Facing judgement and discrimination from society is an everyday occurrence for Matthew, but when those whom he loves the most seemingly turn against him too, his life begins to take a dramatic downwards spiral. With a whirlwind of emotions he doesn’t even understand controlling his unusual and violent behaviours can anything, or anyone, save Matthew from himself?
Lauren Woodcock was born in Sheffield, United Kingdom in 1987. By the age of seven, her life was notably different to those of her school friends, with her younger brother being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, encouraging her to grow up quickly and assume the role of caring and responsible older sister.
Her brother's condition instilled a deep-seated will to help others in a similar situation, and in 2005 she began a four year degree at The University of Sheffield in 'Speech Science', which covered a range of disabilities and difficulties, including Autism. In 2010 she took on her first full-time role as a Speech and Language Therapist, working in a home for young adults with Autism and Severe Learning Disabilities; helping them to make their wants and needs known, and their voices heard.
It was also in 2010 when Lauren decided to take her long-standing passion for reading and writing into a new project, and began to pen the first sparks of what would later become her debut novel, Those Who Will Not See. The 50,000 word novella (then named Great Minds Think Differently) was written within a month, and focused on the early adulthood of Matthew Pickering who, diagnosed with autism at an early age, was trying to survive in a society not designed for him.
Having networked with a range of editors, Lauren broke Great Minds Think Differently down into its key components, and spent the majority of 2011, while continuing her full-time employment, expanding and elaborating its structure and plot. Three new protagonists were added in to tell their own versions of events, and Matthew's childhood and adolescence were explored, creating a coming of age story with an unusual twist. The new title Those Who Will Not See was given to represent the blindness and ignorance society often has towards individuals with disabilities.
The next chapter in Lauren's own life began in June 2012, when her daughter Ellie Rebecca was born. While on maternity leave she ignored the advice to 'sleep when she sleeps', and instead began to 'write when she sleeps', allowing her to finally complete the writing and editing phase of her now full-length novel.
Those Who Will Not See was published for e-readers in November 2012, and in paperback in June 2013. It has since received high acclaim for its stark depiction of living with autism, both personally and through family members. It was recommended in The Sunday Times in October 2013 as 'a great read and a perceptive insight into that much misunderstood condition, autism', and went on to receive 'Number One Best Seller' status in Amazon's Special Family Needs sector.
Find out more at www.laurenwoodcock.co.uk
Lauren is currently working on her next project while juggling a busy family and work life.