Since The View from the Fishbowl was first published, many asked why I chose a person with quadriplegia as the hero of the story. I’m not sure I have yet given a satisfactory answer but I’m gonna try.
I went to school to become a Special Needs teacher. Then, went back to receive a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology. Many people assume I was sending a clinical message with the choice, but it really isn’t simple to explain why a disabled hero.
Maybe the easiest answer would be, “Why not?” A hero is someone who shows courage and cunning in the face of adversity. Such heroes come in all ages, socioeconomic classes, races, and nations. An American quadriplegic is equally suitable as a Brazilian child living in a slum, a Canadian doctor, or a Scottish nobleman, right? We should represent disabled people in all aspects of life. Disabled people are more than objects of charity or sad examples of possibilities lost. So, yes, the choice was partly to make this group of people visible to the world, with their complexities and challenges and gifts, as similar and as different as each of us.
A bit more complicated than that tho’
But maybe the more accurate answer was simply that I wanted to tell the most engaging story I could tell. I wanted the most interesting person I could think of to be its hero. JJ is based on one particular person I knew years ago, but is also an amalgamation of many disabled heros I met. People who are authentically themselves, having to live lives creatively and courageously, trying to achieve the same thing all of us aspire to: meaningful lives, close relationships, and personal fulfillment. These qualities draw me in and I thought my readers would too. Since many of my readers report having fallen in love with JJ, I think I chose well. I hope JJ’s story gives you an afternoon of enjoyable reading, and leave you wondering what he will do next. If so, I will have succeeded!
Disabled hero books
Please check out The JJ Johnson Suspense Series, The View from the Fishbowl, Volume 1, and my 2nd book in the JJ Johnson series, Disabling Evil, available on Amazon in ebook or print. Great summer reading, if I say so myself. Let me know.
Elizabeth Crounse Hudson met many resilient disabled heroes, like JJ, as she meandered through a career in Human Services in clinical and administrative roles. She is a passionate advocate for Special Needs individuals and their right to live as unencumbered a life as possible. You can find Elizabeth on Facebook and Goodreads.
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