The brain processes all the sensory information we receive and helps us to organise and understand it. We then respond through thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Receptors all over our bodies pick up sensory information, but for people who have sensory integration difficulties, this doesn’t happen automatically, and they may get stressed – or even feel physical pain – as they struggle to deal with all the sensory information coming their way.
Hello everyone, and welcome to my blog. I’m so happy to be part of RJ Scott’s blog tour. I admit, my personal experience with autism is quite limited, and when RJ invited me to participate in her blog tour, I had no idea what I’d write. But the above quote made me think of writing Blind Space.
Blind Space is a fun little scifi enemies-to-lovers novella I wrote a few years ago. In it, Captain Tristan Kelly — a soldier assigned to protect the spoiled son of a rich politician — is captured by space pirates and temporarily blinded.
I woke to men shouting, seemingly just down the hall from my room. I couldn’t make out their words, but there was no missing their urgency. Men yelling wasn’t necessarily indication of a serious problem. It was probably just two men having a disagreement, as often happened when we were locked together in such tight quarters for any amount of time.
I was halfway into my pants when the alarm went off, a loud, blaring horn that caused me to clamp my hands over my ears. Not just an argument, then. This was an actual emergency.
Still barefoot, wearing only my uniform pants, I stumbled into the hallway and turned toward the commotion at the end of the hall.
I had only a moment to see it all: Rikard, fully dressed and blindfolded, with his hands tied behind his back, and the pirates with their loose silk shirts and bright, spiked hair. They were all wearing wrap-around mirrored shades over their eyes, and I had just enough time to realize what that meant, but not enough time to do anything about it before the flashgun blinded me.
Flashguns were a favorite weapon of pirates—they blinded the victim, but not permanently. With laser treatment, eyesight could be restored almost immediately. Without treatment, eyesight would generally return in four to six weeks. It incapacitated without lowering the trade value of the commodity. Even knowing it was coming, the sudden loss of sight was unbelievably disorienting. I stumbled and fell into the wall. I had to use it to hold me up. I kept blinking— some part of my brain seemed to think it would help.
Tristan remains blind for most of the rest of the book.
Looking back, I can’t remember exactly why I decided to make Tristan blind. What I do remember is how hard it was to write a story from the point of view of a blind man. I swore I’d never write a blind character again. (Something my daughter loved reminding me of when I wrote Damned If You Do, which — you guessed it! — involved a blind man. But at least he wasn’t the POV character!)
Blind Space is a simple enough premise, but I kept stumbling over new situations where Tristan’s lack of sight changed the scene dramatically. Eating dinner, using the bathroom, shaving. Everything was suddenly more difficult. I had to rely on Tristan’s other senses. Smell especially became a big part of the narrative. And later, when Tristan gets his sight back…
Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but if you leave a comment on this post, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a free ebook or audio download of Blind Space, and you can find out how it ends. 🙂
Be sure to check out RJ’s blog to see the whole Five Senses Blog Tour schedule. Also, stop by the TTC Books & More Autism Auction. There are tons of fabulous prizes you can bid on from a bunch of different authors and publishers. I’ve donated signed paperbacks of Winter Oranges and Trailer Trash, as well as a complete set of the Coda books in paperback. (And if the winning bid is more than $50, the winner can choose the hardcover edition of Promises rather than the paperback.)
Thanks to everybody for stopping by, and thank you to RJ for organizing the blog tour!