#64 Crafting Neurodivergent Characters in Children’s Books with Jen Malia

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Author Jen Malia


I met Jen Malia before the pandemic at the ASJA Conference. She had seen my work in the New York Times and other places, and I’d seen hers. We went to a lunch event together, walking and talking through the rain, and said we would keep in touch. And we did. I’ve been thrilled ever since to watch Jen’s writing and publishing career soar.

When she updated her site, I loved it. I knew that before Writing That Gets Noticed launched, I would need a site refresh. She told me about the talented Jenny Medford of Websy Daisy and six months later, she worked on my site while I was speaking at AWP in Seattle. I love how she captured my personality and energy.  Thank you Jen, for the recommendation.

Now you can buy all of Jen’s books on my Bookshop page.

In This Episode:

  • Writing from a neurodivergent perspective [3:29]
  • Working as an advocate [5:48]
  • Drawing real life into fiction writing 6:13]
  • The benefit of using sensitivity readers [6:31]
  • The importance of writing inclusive books 5:25]
  • Tips on the process of publishing children books [12:36]

Watch on YouTube

About Jen Malia

An autistic mom of three autistic kids, Jen Malia is the author of The Infinity Rainbow Club series and Too Sticky! Sensory Issues with Autism. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing Coordinator at Norfolk State University. She has written for or appeared on the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPRParents, GlamourWoman’s Day, and others. She has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern California and is pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Originally from Pittsburgh, she currently lives with her husband and three kids in Virginia Beach. 

Connect with Jen


Information about Jen’s Books

Jen’s Publisher’s information

Connect with Estelle

Her website: (sign up for her newsletter and receive her pitching guide).
Writing That Gets Noticed: Find Your Voice, Become a Better Storyteller, Get Published: Available wherever books are sold and now a class at NYU.
Adjunct Instructor, NYU (Sign up for her latest classes, including her new NYU class called Writing That Gets Noticed, now appplicable for a journalism certificate)
Substack (craft tips, editor information, writing opportunities, early announcements and for paid subscribers special Freelance Writing Direct extended videos).
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Writing That Gets Noticed is in a Gift Guide

Thank you to Carol A. Cassara for including my book in her gift guide. It really is the perfect holiday gift for the writer or blogger in your life.

New Interviews


Don’t miss my latest substack issue called Forget About “Beautiful” Writing where I offer an extended version of my podcast interview with Amy Jones, Editor-in-chief of Writer’s Digest for paid subscribers.

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Don’t miss my announcement that Writing That Gets Noticed is now a Journalism Course at NYU for the Journalism Certificate.