Recently, diversity has been at the forefront of many conversations in the publishing world, and with good reason. But as an aside to the current discussions, it’s got me thinking about how often we see characters with disabilities in books and on screen, and when we do, how those characters are portrayed. It’s why I included coeliac disease in Girl, Lost, because I’d never seen a gluten free diet portrayed as anything other than a ‘fad’ and something to be mocked. 1 in 100 people live with coeliac disease in the UK, myself included, and a lack of awareness is what contributes to 99% of the conversations I have about it, so I wanted to get some more information out there.
(Of course, I had one reviewer complain that jam and chips don’t contain gluten, so there’s still work to be done! FYI reviewer, the issue with jam comes from others dipping their gluten-y knives into the jar, and coeliacs can rarely eat chips in restaurants because they are often fried in the same oil as gluten-containing food. Yes, we’re that ‘sensitive’!)
I’ve been thinking about including fibromyalgia or another chronic illness in a future book, but I need to make sure I do it right. I was diagnosed in 2016, and although my health now is the best it’s ever been, I still have limitations, and have to consider my health in anything I do: work, socialising, holidays. Living with a chronic illness is just that, living side-by-side with something that often makes life a bit more difficult. I’d like to see that reality portrayed more often, and I hope to take up the challenge one day. If you’re interested, I’ve written more about life with fibromyalgia on The Bandwagon blog, link on the homepage.
For now, I’m writing a book that attempts to tackle homophobia, racism, and the idea that we are incapable of escaping the sins of our parents and the paths they set for us. I hit 49k words yesterday, and I’m aiming to send it to my wonderful beta readers within a few weeks. I’m also waiting for the edits to come back for The Wake, my second novel for Bloodhound Books. I am so excited to share this book with you in October!