That’s My Boy

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Us

Readers familiar with my background know that I have an intellectually disabled, neurodiverse son, and readers familiar with my work know that intellectual disability and neurodiversity feature in the novels Kindling, Are You Seeing Me? and Munro vs. the Coyote / Exchange of Heart.

Inevitably, the question has arisen:

“Is that your boy on the page?”

The long answer is I used aspects of his manner, language, attitude and interests as a jumping-off point to create characters that assumed their own living, breathing, authentic fictional lives. The short answer is no.

My new novel Boy in the Blue Hammock will be out next spring and, surprise surprise, it centres an intellectually disabled, neurodiverse protagonist. And already I can hear the question again, distant but persistent, making its way towards me like I’m a destination on Google Maps:

“Is that your boy on the page?”

My answer this time around?

Yes.

Absolutely, yes.

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‘Boy in the Blue Hammock’ – The Teaser

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Spring 2022, to be specific.

In a time of isolation and scarcity, a regressive regime rules with absolute power, turning neighbour against neighbour, and crushing dissidence with deadly force. A microcosm of this monstrous time: the tiny Pacific Northwest town of Gilder.

In a house on the fringes of the decimated hamlet, Tao – a failed service dog turned pet – wakes to find his leash tied to the stair, his hind leg broken and his family killed. With the world he knows shattered, there is one course of action: lay with his slain masters and wait for the enemy – the “hounds” – to return and end his life.

But it is not the hounds that find him – it is Kasper, fifteen years old, disabled, limited ability to speak, sole survivor of the family. With the discovery of Boy, Tao understands he now has a duty: guide the last living member of his pack through the ravaged streets of Gilder to safety. The destination? The only refuge he can conceive of in a world gone mad?

The site of his training five years before.

Boy in the Blue Hammock is an epic tale of loss and loyalty, of dissent and destruction, of assumption and ableism. With a powerful narrative and evocative prose, the novel poses one of the important questions of our time: when evil silences the people, who will protect those without a voice?

COMING SPRING 2022  

Teen Fiction Travels: Interview With Amy Mathers

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At the beginning of May, I had the privilege of touring Ottawa, Rideau Lakes and Hamilton as part of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Book Week Tour 2018. Look out for a post or two soon about this mighty adventure.

In the meantime, enjoy this interview I did at the Hamilton Public Library with the incredible Amy Mathers. Amy and I connected up at the end of Book Week and discussed coming to Canada, magic realism, neurodiversity, disability, writing from personal experience, and how I need to stop writing about dodgy mothers.

Enjoy!

LISTEN HERE!

 

Six Nods To #NoVoices

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(Image from Flaticon)

#OwnVoices is an essential movement. If you don’t know about it, you should read this. Incontrovertibly, marginalized groups must be afforded every opportunity to tell/write/publish/sell their own stories. Privileged, able, cishet, white, middle-class, dude scribblers like me do not have to stay out of the imaginative lanes of these groups, but we must drive with extreme care. It bears repeating — #OwnVoices is an essential movement.

No less important are those groups with #NoVoices.

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