Again it’s been many weeks since I last posted. My excuse this time is that I was occupied with finishing my latest wip (work in progress), the third novel in my young adult Revenger series.
I never set out to write a series. But when I planned a sequel to Twenty Minutes Late, the publisher suggested a series might be the way to go. Both Twenty Minutes and this blog were inspired by the same event, that is, what happened to Ryo Kiyan, which resulted from a widespread ignorance of Asperger’s Syndrome and the prejudice engendered by that ignorance. I gave the syndrome to my hero, Ben Canfield. A novel needed more than that, so I added a mystery-suspense plot. That became the core of the book, as has been true of all its sequels.
Twenty Minutes was written in the third person with several different viewpoints, including Ben’s. He has two or three chapters that show his feelings about what’s happening to him.
The next two books are written in first person. In the latest, Under Cover, I discuss those previous events in retrospect. My heroine, Cree, who has become Ben’s girlfriend, muses on how it was for Ben:
Aspies often have a problem with social connections. For some reason, their neurological set-up makes it hard for them to understand how those things work. In his junior year Ben got to be friends with a girl who shared a lot of his interests. He must have thought he found his soul mate. After a while he got up the nerve to ask her out, something he’d never done before with any girl. When she refused and started avoiding him, he thought he must have done something horribly wrong. He kept trying to find out what it was and apologize. She, the neurotic bitch, accused him of stalking and got him in real trouble.
Ben? Stalking? He might have come on a bit strong, but he thought they were friends and never dreamed she’d see him as a danger. It’s tough being an Aspie, with people thinking the worst of you. They always seem to.
The school bigwigs were too dumb to know that his persistence was part of the Asperger’s, that he had no malicious intent whatsoever. They held all sorts of hearings and were getting ready to expel him. Before they actually did, Ben transferred to Southbridge High.
That’s a big chunk for a quote, but it’s my book so I don’t think I’m infringing on anyone’s copyright. What happened to Ryo happened in the workplace. Since this series is for young adults, my characters are all teenagers and the events take place in school. The basic problem is the same as it was in real life. In the first book, Twenty Minutes, we see it happening as it happens.
Ben is a recurring character in the series, as are several others. Only in the second book, Long Sleep, did I refrain from dwelling on his Asperger’s, although I believe I mentioned it. I’ve tried to show how it affects him, how he copes with it, and how others view him, some with affection and understanding, others not. In Long Sleep there is more of an emphasis on sociopaths. People of that ilk make another appearance in Under Cover. They will also figure in the book I’m starting now, with the tentative title of Blackout. Even so, Ben and his Asperger’s will play an important role, for the simple reason that my main purpose is an attempt to bring about a better understanding of that syndrome. I firmly believe that if the people in Ryo Kiyan’s workplace had known something about Asperger’s, his fate might have been entirely different.
Next time I’ll discuss a post I came across by an Aspie who tells us what it’s like to have Asperger’s. (Hint: it’s rough.) I wish I could reproduce the whole thing but there are rules about that. I can only give you the link, which I will.