A Writer’s Inspiration…
As a teen I was selected by Rotary to attend a youth leadership camp. It was a wonderful experience meeting up with other young people from around the state and participating in various workshops and activities.
One of the most memorable was a trust building activity that involved partnering up and adopting a physical disability for half a day. I ended up being blindfolded to simulate losing one’s sight, and, if you’ll excuse the pun, it was an eye-opening experience.
Not only did it teach you the obvious – how much you take sight for granted – it made me realize just how important it was to utilize my four remaining senses and other skills. Pinpointing sounds, scenting the air, the sensation of heat or cold on your skin, feeling with all parts of your body not just your hands and finding ways or implementing strategies to keep yourself safe.
I learned to think outside the box, particularly to solve issues or problems. And this lesson has stayed with me to this day, so much so that I incorporated the 25 year old experience into one of my books.
The heroine in ALLIANCE FORGED, Book #2 in my fantasy romance series, is a priestess, but I also decided that rather than make Kymora blind from birth, a childhood illness would take away her sight. And, because this is a paranormal romance book, to compensate for her loss of sight, she would develop the ability to decipher people’s feelings through listening to their voices and sensing their emotions in their auras.
The whole idea of a character who was once able to see then has to deal with the devastating loss of a vital sense and struggle to use such a powerful ability would be more interesting, not to mention a challenge for me as a writer.
What sort of impact would this disability have on Kymora as she grew up? How would she adapt? What skills would she develop to compensate? With her newfound ability would she learn to use it responsibly or abuse it? How would being blind affect her life choices or career? How would people perceive or treat her because of her disability?
Just to complicate things, I decided to make her not just a priestess but the spiritual leader of her religious order. A woman with the ability to read people’s emotions through their auras would be well suited to a life of helping others, but what trials and experiences would she have to go through to achieve this? Would those around her believe she was capable of fulfilling this role? Could she? Would people accept her being in such a responsible position despite her disability?
The more I thought about these questions and the discoveries I made as a teen during the experience at that leadership camp, I knew how easy it was for people to formulate misconceptions, or hold certain opinions of you and make assumptions on what you could or couldn’t do because of your disability. It’s human nature to think that a disability is a liability, and the person so ‘afflicted’ needs to be coddled, excused, dismissed or seen as different or lacking something.
And to make the storyline even more interesting, in the book the Na’Chi, a race of half human-half demon people, believe physical perfection is a desirable quality. Varian, the leader of this group, has facial scars received in a battle with a demon, and his plot thread mirrors and complimented Kymora’s…but that’s another story.
In ALLIANCE FORGED, Kymora faces all these issues and, as a writer, I was glad I didn’t play it safe and write about a more conventional character. It would never have been as much fun or as exciting a challenge to portray.
So, what are your thoughts on reading a story about a character with a disability? Does it intrigue you? Have you read romances with this sort of story line? Or do you prefer a character who faces other sorts of challenges?
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(release date - July 3rd 2012 from Berkley)
There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a blind priestess lays claim to a half-breed warrior, body and soul…
Hunted and marked for death by Na’Reish demons for their half-blood heritage, the Na’Chi are searching for a new home—something an alliance offered by the human leader could provide. With both races divided by prejudice, when Light Blade rebels brutally attack the Na’Chi, the alliance seems doomed to fail.
Varian, leader of the Na’Chi, a hybrid race of gifted warriors, is cursed with the darker impulses of his demon heritage. Controlling the part of himself that craves the high of the battle is a struggle he’s afraid he’ll lose—until he meets Kymora Tayn, a priestess driven to serve her deity. While he’s unwilling to trust anyone outside his people, he finds himself drawn to Kymora’s strength and passionate nature, and discovers she has the power to calm the darkness inside him.
When the Na’Reish raid human territory for blood-slaves and kickstart a war, the key to the survival of both races—Na’Chi and human— is an alliance. However, when Kymora is kidnapped, pitting human against human, Varian realizes he must embrace his darker half, not only to save the alliance…but also the woman he loves.
Kylie Griffin Bio
Kylie Griffin’s obsession with all things paranormal/fantasy started at an early age, when she used to imagine the jacaranda tree in her front yard was a spaceship used to defend the world from invading enemies. Writing stories seemed a natural extension to her childhood adventures.
Today, she’s a primary school teacher sharing her love for the written word with young children. In her spare time, she writes and reads all things paranormal.
Kylie lives in a small rural village in outback New South Wales, Australia, where she volunteers in a number of emergency service organizations in her local community. Visit her website at www.kyliegriffin.com
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