Friday, August 25, 2017

[Link] Diversity in Your Characters: Writing Physical Challenges

by Fiona Quinn with Katie Mettner

Continuing in our series on diversity in literature, today we are talking with Katie Mettner and her use of physical challenges as a character quality.

Fiona - 
Katie, I introduced myself to you from social media after I learned about your book Liberty Belle. First, could you give us your book blurb; and second, can you talk about why you decided to write about a character with physical challenges?

Katie - 
Main Street is bustling in Snowberry, Minnesota, and nobody knows that better than the owner of the iconic bakery, the Liberty Belle. Handed the key to her namesake at barely twenty-one, Liberty has worked day and night to keep her parents’ legacy alive.

Now, three years later, she’s a hotter mess than the batch of pies baking in her industrial-sized oven. Photographer Bram Alexander has had his viewfinder focused on the heart of one woman since returning to Snowberry. For the last three years she’s kept him at arm's length, but all bets are off when he finds her injured and alone on the bakery floor. Liberty knew falling in love with Bram would be easy, but convincing her tattered heart to trust him may be impossible. Armed with small town determination and a heart of gold, Bram shows Liberty frame-by-frame how falling for him is as easy as pie.

In the opening scene you meet Bram Alexander, who is at the bakery to pick up the baptism cake for his niece. His sister-in-law Snow and his brother Jay are both in wheelchairs. Snow is very prevalent in Liberty Belle because she is a researcher for MS where Liberty is being treated for MS. Snow is married to Dully Alexander, Bram's older brother, and Dully is a special education teacher. They foster a boy with Down Syndrome.

All of my characters have some form of disability or special challenge. When I write a new character I internally know, by whatever power is telling me, what their name is and the condition they will have. The rest is up to me to figure out and carry out.

MS is a disease that is so varying and runs a different course for each patient that it was very easy to focus on just one or two parts of the disease for this character physically, but really explore the emotional and social aspect of the disease and how that affects the whole being.

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