Goooood morning, y’all!
Today, we are featuring a guest post from author LJ Hamlin! Within the post, she will talk about writing disabled characters, and the important of including them in all kinds of narratives!
I really enjoyed reading her post, so I hope you will too! Please feel free to comment your own thoughts on the subject in the comments section at the end!
My name is LJ, and I’m here today to talk about some of the disability rep in my books. Disability rep in fiction is very important to me as a disabled woman. I’ve hated never finding myself even in queer romance. Yes, I find Bisexual characters quite often, but not with mental illnesses or chronic illnesses. If I do find it, too often these things are cured by love or magic, both being problematic. Disability does not need to be nearly resolved or cured by the end of a book for it to be a good and satisfying story in my opinion, and I know many disabled writers feel the same and are doing their best to write books that show more of the reality of different disabled lives.
One of my first own voices characters was an MC in my m/m series, “the Visions.” He is one of two main characters in the first book (“Blood Visions”), the second (“Dark Visions”), and will be in the third part of the series. Dustin, my MC, has a diagnosis for anxiety and depression; he takes medications for them, and his experiences in book one and two show me how I am on good days, part three will show some more of what difficult days are like due to a trauma triggering a down slump. His trigger is not mine, but his down slump is inspired by real life events. However, Dustin’s support system is different to mine–he has his partner, Ronan, and the agency of detectives he works with.
I want to show that a person with anxiety and depression can still have a full life and lots of experiences. Dustin is a psychic who helps his detective lover solve cases involving the supernatural, so his adventures are very different from mine and the mentally ill people I know, but I still feel we can see ourselves in him. The bouts of social anxiety while on cases–meeting new people, for example–is very real to me.
In my f/f story coming out soon, “Fangs and Fairytales,” three out of the four stories include some form of disability. One, a retelling of Red Riding Hood, mentions kidney issues being treated with medication. Another has a princess who has had to have a full hysterectomy and her thoughts on that are something I deal with as someone with severe endometriosis and complications. It was therapeutic to write her and to show her still loved by all. The third story shows a vampire with a disability, when she was human she had a twisted, withered leg and she walks with a cane–her vampiric transition didn’t take this away.
I do have a passion for especially including disabilities in stories with supernatural characters, because they’re so often erased. I’m volumes 1 and 3 of the Into the Mystic anthologies, I included a hard of hearing werewolf and a vampire with EDS (Ehlers danlos syndrome), a condition I also have. I will continue to write characters like this for as long as I’m writing as I’m really sick of not being seen in paranormal romance. It’s one of my favorite genres and I want to see myself in it! I know I’m not the only one craving more diversity in this amazing genre.
LJ is a disabled queer writer in her late twenties, she’s been writing for many years and loves to share her stories she’s never without a few projects on the go and writes as much as her body allows. She is a lover of animals which often shows in her books and her social media.