Friday, January 11, 2013

Guest Blog with Brian Tashima

Do you know anyone on the autism spectrum?

I’ll bet you do. Or at least, you know someone who does.

When I heard earlier this year that one in 88 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder by age eight, I wasn’t surprised.

Whenever I discuss my novel with people, I almost always get at least one reaction that is along the lines of “Oh, my nephew is autistic” or “I work with special needs children.”

I know someone on the spectrum. My son has Asperger’s Syndrome. He has social challenges, sure, but he is also a brilliant, creative kid. In fact, a lot of the things that he can do seem like magical superpowers to me.

So with my novel, SECRET OF THE SONGSHELL, I wanted to create a literary hero for children on the autism spectrum — someone who saved the day with his special qualities, not despite them. A character that kids like my son could relate to and gain a sense of coolness and empowerment from.

SECRET OF THE SONGSHELL’s protagonist is Joel Suzuki, a gifted sixteen-year-old guitarist and songwriter with Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s dealing with the usual teenage issues as well as the challenges that his condition presents, and he thinks that if he can just become a rich and famous rock star, then all of his problems will be solved and he’ll be happy.

Marshall Byle is a rock star and Joel’s musical idol. He shows up one day and tells Joel that the secret to success lies in an alternate world called Spectraland, where Joel’s unique brain waves can be combined with the sound waves of music to create magical effects. Of course, once Joel arrives in Spectraland, things don’t turn out quite as he expected them to.

Basically, Joel gets trapped in Spectraland and has to use his special abilities to defeat an evil warlord who is threatening to take over both Spectraland as well as the Earth. I know that sounds pretty stock, but there’s a twist near the end that shakes things up and ties in with the whole theme of the book, which is that happiness is a state of mind, not something that results from material possessions or other external sources.

I tried very hard to craft a story that doesn’t beat you over the head with the whole autism angle, but still gives you enough understanding of what a person on the spectrum is possibly thinking and feeling. Most of all, I wanted it to be a fun and entertaining read along the lines of all the other young adult sci-fi/fantasy books that my son and I both enjoy. I hope you’ll check it out and let me know if I’ve succeeded.

One more note: I’m donating a portion of the profits from the book to Autism Empowerment, a non-profit organization based in my town that works to promote autism awareness and education.

SECRET OF THE SONGSHELL is available in both print and e-book versions on Amazon and elsewhere.

For more information, please visit my website at

January 7 Guest blog
Michelle  @ Mom With A Kindle

January 7 Promo and review

January 8 Interview
Fang-tastic Books

January 9 Interview
Roxanne’s Realm

January 10 Promo

January 11 Guest blog
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

January 12 Interview and review
Marked By Books 

January 12 Interview
Books, Books The Magical Fruit

January 13 Guest blog
Monique Morgan

January 14 Guest blog and review
Moosubi Reviews!

Secret of the Songshell was just named a finalist in the 2012 USA Best Book Awards for fantasy fiction

Secret of the Songshell
The Spectraland Saga, Book One
Brian Tashima

Genre: YA sci-fi/fantasy

Publisher: Prism Valley Press

ISBN: 978-0615648156
ASIN: 0615648150

Number of pages: 318
Word Count: 79000

Cover Artist: Purnima Prasad

Book Description:

Joel Suzuki is a gifted teenage guitarist with Asperger's Syndrome who gets transported to a world where his unique brain waves can be combined with the sound waves of music to create magical effects. Once there, he must use his newfound abilities to locate the Songshell, a powerful artifact that will help him stop a mysterious evil entity from destroying the alternate world as well as the Earth.

About the Author:

Brian Tashima was born and raised in Hawaii and has been a resident of Vancouver, Washington since 2000. In addition to being an author, he is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who has won a Hoku award (Hawaii’s version of the Grammys) and has had his music featured in short films, international compilations, and numerous other forms of media. He is currently a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), Willamette Writers, Northwest Independent Writers Association, and three Vancouver/Portland-based rock bands.

Twitter: @SpectralandSaga

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Roxanne Rhoads said...

My son was diagnosed with high functioning Aspergers. It is inspiring to see someone do something positive with a book featuring characters with Aspergers and Autism. Everyone should find a book or character that they can relate to. This is the first book I've seen like this and I love it. It's being added to my must read list.

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