Barbara Claypole White

Adversity: Son diagnosed with OCD at age 8

Advocacy: Uses fiction writing and blogging to provide hope to those with OCD

“Readers often say, ‘I’ve never told anyone this before…’ And the book clubs I visit turn into therapy. People need to share their experiences. The more we talk, the more we demystify the myth of insanity and feel less alone.”

Barbara Claypole White’s son was diagnosed with OCD at age 8, four years after he began exhibiting signs of anxiety. The path to diagnosis was long and tortuous, as was the impending battle to fight the disorder. Before coaching him in exposure therapy and guiding him through several relapses, she had watched family members struggle with mental illness in secret, and was determined to teach her son a different path.

His achievements, acceptance and strength inspire her to write hopeful family drama that chips away at stereotypes of invisible disabilities. Her debut, The Unfinished Garden, features a successful, charismatic hero with OCD, who displays extraordinary courage as he navigates a life of fear. Her second novel, The In-Between Hour, throws the spotlight on depression, and was chosen by southern booksellers as an Okra Pick. Her third novel, The Perfect Son, a Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for Best Fiction 2015, introduces her darkest hero yet: a father with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. In her fourth novel, Echoes of Family (October 2016), Barbara tells the story of a complex woman who happens to be manic-depressive.