Becoming a grandmother gave Debra Soloman, CMA (AAMA), the drive to go back to her first love: writing.

“As a young person, I always wanted to write. I wanted to be a newscaster,” says Soloman. However, she started her family earlier than she anticipated and found herself spending most of her time raising her three children. After 15 years in an unhappy marriage, Soloman decided to move with her children from Des Moines, Iowa, to Omaha, Nebraska, to start a new life.

There, she obtained her medical assisting degree. For the past 18 years, she has worked in family practice, urology, and cardiology, and she now works for the Methodist Diagnostic Center. Soloman recently went back to school and earned an associate degree in applied sciences with a major in medical management.

While she loves her career, Soloman says she always felt a calling to write. When her first grandchild was 10 years old, she answered that calling by writing him a book about a cat, entitled Jasper and His Magical Tail.

“He had a dream about this cat who could write with his tail. I took that idea and turned it into a Christian book in which the cat is teaching a little boy the Ten Commandments,” says Soloman.

Around that time, she took a class at the Institute of Children’s Literature (ICL) to polish up on her writing skills. “The class gave me the confidence I needed. Writing is a creative outlet for me,” explains Soloman.

Her most recent book, I Have Autism, was written for her 7-year-old grandson, Xavier, who has the disorder. “I wrote it to help him so that he would understand himself,” she says. “He loves and adores it. The first time he read it, he smiled at every single page.”

Soloman hired a freelance illustrator to draw pictures of a boy who resembles her grandson. Each page includes sentiments that relate to Xavier along with an accompanying picture. For instance, the first page shows an illustration of a boy holding his hands over his ears with the words “Sometimes loud noises hurt my ears.” Another page displays a picture of the boy holding his hands in front of his face along with the statement “I get really shy and nervous around a lot of people.” The last page of the book fittingly includes an illustration of Soloman, her daughter, and Xavier.

She plans to donate a few copies of the book to Xavier’s school and to the Autism Center of Nebraska Inc. in Omaha. All her books are self-published and sold on Any profits made from I Have Autism will help with services her grandson needs and go toward a college fund for him.

The next book she plans to write is for her two granddaughters, who are sisters. “It will be about all the wonderful things that come with having a sister. They live on a farm, so I’ll feature the farm too,” says Soloman.

After the book is finished, each of her grandchildren will have a book written just for them. “As soon as I finish the books, I give them to my grandkids,” says Soloman. “It’s such an exciting and special moment for us.”