Aspergers, autism, mother's love, thriller

A Debut Blog Post for a Debut Author

Hello everyone! I’m excited to post my first blog and hope you enjoy reading it. Let me start by telling you a little bit about myself.

I was born in Houston to Dutch parents, who fled the Netherlands after the occupation and devastation of World War II. Both of my parents were in the Dutch underground and being raised as the child of immigrants was very interesting, to say the least. After living in Houston all my life and having a fulfilling career as an international lawyer, my husband and I moved to Fredericksburg, Texas, a small town in the hill country, which we love. Neither of us practices law anymore and I am able to devote my time to my writing – a true pleasure!

I have one son and two stepsons. Two of them are autistic and live in a residential community outside of Austin. They are twenty-five, twenty-two and twenty-one. As you will find out when you read SAVING MAX, my experience as a parent raising my boys formed the basis for much of the novel.

One of the main focuses of this blog is to share the joys and trials of raising autistic children with other parents and to provide some resources for those parents. For those of you with autistic children today, there are so many more resources for them than when my sons were young. When I was raising my boys, there were virtually no social outlets for them, hit-and-miss medications, and a world out there that had no idea what these kids were all about and how to try to help them. I spent years advocating for my children, trying to support them amongst their critical peers, and also trying to make sense of the myriad of medical advice that was often conflicting and confusing.

I want to be very clear that I am not an expert on autism in any sense of the word. All I have to offer is my experience as a mother, which I hope will be helpful to other parents. Today both of my sons are doing great. They have jobs, are happy and fulfilled and we see them very often. We couldn’t have dreamt that everything would turn out so well for them when they were young! I also hope in this blog to encourage those parents in the trenches and to never give up, no matter how seemingly hopeless or how much despair you might feel.

I’d like to share a few more details of my everyday life. Every day I get up and go horseback riding. I have two retired racehorses – one of which was a racing champion who was later put onto a slaughter truck until someone saw his papers and saved him. Both of my horses are about seventeen hands high. Fortunately, I’m very tall! I ride with a small group of women and we spend our time cutting up, laughing, and jumping our horses. I also own a B&B, Antoinette’s, which keeps me busy, especially in the summer months. My other hobbies include water coloring, exercising and lots and lots of reading (as you might imagine!).

I hope through this blog to not only provide resources to parents and more insight into my world, but also talk about my new experience as a debut author. It is truly amazing! The response to the novel – even though it won’t be out to the general public until the end of September – has been great. Wonderful book club readers have given reviews and I am always very keen on getting feedback from readers. I encourage all of you to send me your comments once you have read the book. I’ll also be providing links to interviews I will be giving and reviews of the book. I’ll be reading other major thrillers and will give you my thoughts on them. I’ll also fill you in on my second novel, which I plan to finish by the end of the year. I’ve never had to work with a deadline before and it’s a little daunting. Fortunately, I have a fantastic agent and a terrific editor who are with me every step of the way.

I hope this provides a little bit of information about me and can’t wait to hear from all of you. Thanks and stay tuned!



Buy the Books

The Tulip Eaters


Available from these retailers:

  • amazon
  • amazonkindle
  • barnesnoble
  • indiebound
  • Kobo
  • iBookstore Logo

Saving Max


Available from these retailers:

  • harlequin
  • amazon
  • barnesnoble
  • indiebound
  • walmart


Talk about Saving Max or The Tulip Eaters on Good Reads.


“Antoinette van Heugten combines the tender, unshakable bond between mother and son with an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat thriller.” — Diane Chamberlain, bestselling author of THE LIES WE TOLD


Sample & Readcast The Tulip Eaters and Saving Max on Scribd.


July 2010