“The Amazing K” First Sketch ~or~ People with Disabilities in Fantasy Fiction


Yay! Development of my second children’s book, The Amazing K, is finally under way.

The Amazing K will be a very special book for me. It will be my first full-length book starring characters with special needs. One of the main characters is wheelchair bound, another is nonverbal, and another is missing one of his limbs.

KayleesketchHowever, I don’t want their disabilities to be the main focus of the book. The book is fantasy/adventure, just like most of my middle grade and young adult books. It takes place in outer space and features two bands of pirates who spend their days flying their pirate ships through the stars in search of treasure. The two pirate crews end up being stuck on a giant planet made of candy together, which might sound like fun, but trust me–where pirates, candy, and outer space are involved, there’s plenty of room for misadventures.

My hope with this book, as with future books, is to be able to write stories in which children and adults with disabilities star as regular characters. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres, but I have come to notice it is one of many genres in which people with disabilities are little represented. I’m hoping to take a step in the right direction of changing this dynamic by including characters who do have disabilities but can be just as adventurous and prove themselves heroes as well as any other character.

I mean, it’s the same idea as with seeing main characters of various races in fantasy fiction. As an example, too often, the female lead is a perfect blonde or brunette with pretty much no physical flaws–and sometimes her character is too perfect as well. I’m not saying we can’t ever have those characters; I have a blonde as a main lead in one of my upcoming series. However, I also have a Hispanic male as my other main character.

So, let’s shake it up a little. Let’s see female leads who are not drop-dead gorgeous–or maybe they are, but hey, they are not size zero, ’cause realistically, most people aren’t. Let’s show girls and boys of all different shapes and sizes and let them be beautiful. Let’s have Black leads and Hispanic leads and Asian leads–and leads who have disabilities too.

That’s my social justice rant for the day. Now that’s outta my system, back to the book.

For this book, I’ve teamed up with artist Catty Flores. I love her unique style and knew it would be perfect for a quirky, fun story like The Amazing K. Unlike The Adventures of William the Brownie (to be released November 21st!!) which was more of an illustrated chapter book, The Amazing K will be a true picture book. Still lots of text, but way less than William and more of a focus on illustrations to tell the tale. Catty Flores is also great at creating a full lay-out, text and all, which is another reason I chose her. I’m looking forward to developing the book with her!!

Above, I’ve shared our very first character sketch for Kaylee, one of the main characters. It’s probably not in final form, but as it is the first, I wanted to share and give readers a glimpse into Catty’s style. You can also check out her website here: http://www.cattyflores.com/cf/CattyFlores/Home.html

Thanks so much to Catty and to my readers as well. Stay tuned for more updates!