We always love it when Amy Lane pops in for a visit, and today she’s here on The Deep of the Sound Blog Tour to give us a little bit of insight into Keir, one of the characters in The Deep of the Sound, I’m certainly looking forward to meeting. As always with Amy, it’s a beautiful post… so don’t miss it.
Amy’s Adventures in the Pacific Northwest—Part 7
My oldest son wasn’t breathing when he was born. I mean, they got him to start after about two minutes, but the fact was, the overworked staff at the hospital blew me off for hours because my water didn’t break, and we were the ones who noticed his heartbeat was going down with every contraction.
I pushed him out in three contractions—one of which I had to hold because I was in transit.
They told us, “Well, there shouldn’t be any long term damage…” And throughout years of testing, which revealed pretty much nothing but that he had low body tone and neurological disruption, they stuck to the party line, “We’re not really sure how it happened…”
But we knew. And we stopped caring. What mattered was that he wasn’t talking at five, and his body tone was low, and he needed to work really hard to keep up with his little sister’s reasoning. What mattered was getting him educational intervention because there was no magic pill, no operation, no magic diagnosis that was going to change the little boy we loved very much. So we figured our job as parents was to help that little boy grow up into the best adult he could.
And he’s done wonderfully—he’s in college, is holding down a job, is involved with social causes—but his peers were not always so lucky.
A communication handicap of any kind puts up a barrier between a child and the world. And many of the children in his school didn’t just have one diagnosis, they had many. The goal of schooling wasn’t to get them to read well enough to go to college—it was to get them to function well enough to hold down a job and deal with social security and live on their own.
It wasn’t always successful.
Not every kid had the same resources our son had—and many of them had disabilities that were fare more extensive. There was no safety net for these kids. The graduated from high school, and if they weren’t disabled enough for further care, they were cut loose. They could go to Junior College (when they barely made it through high school) and continue in the system or they could try to get jobs and apartments when they barely made it through high school. Mental health care is expensive and time consuming—and not every parent has time to take their child to the doctor’s on a continuing basis, not when they’re trying to make a living and keep a roof over their heads. Watching my son’s graduating class of fellow Communicatively Handicapped students disintegrate into the four winds—teen pregnancies, runaways, drug abuse, jail time—has been painful.
I saw those kids as children. You have such hope for children.
So when I wrote Keir, Cal’s fractious, troubled brother, I was thinking of my son’s friends. He misses them. Very often those kids were bussed from school to school together so they could attend the same program. He’s known many of them since Kindergarten. And explaining why these kids were having such a hard time—to my communicatively handicapped son!—has been a revelation to him.
He is lucky. He has his original set of parents, and he knows that through necessity, that doesn’t always happen. Through luck mostly, we make a livable wage. He has luxuries, and he had an awesome childhood, and thirty minutes a day, he has the undivided attention of an adult (me!) who can help him negotiate the social pitfalls of adulthood. Believe me, he needs every second. And he has a brain that lets him process things, even if it’s not as fast as the kids who weren’t in special ed, and the older he gets, the more he realizes that this was a gift and not a gimme. Not every kid had his benefits. Not every kid is going to have his success.
Keir is an amalgam of the kids I watched my son grow up with. Some of them had so many diagnoses it was hard to tell what agitated them and what soothed them. Some of them were simply bored—their parents were working so hard to support them, there was no time for the activities that would have helped them not to obsess over the things in their lives that hurt them. Some of them had deep-seated problems that I know I wasn’t qualified to deal with—but the mental health care system wasn’t doing such a bang-up job either. Like the kids in my son’s lower grade classes, Keir had so much potential. Like the kids my son has watched self-destruct over the last four years, Keir has so much potential to go wrong.
So I hope I did this character justice. He is not all bad. He is definitely not all good. But Cal loves his little brother and wants the best for him. Through no fault of his own, Cal just isn’t able to provide the best, and that, perhaps, is what hurts most of all. I want people to see that Keir deserves the best—all children and young adults like him deserve the best.
And we need to do better.
The Deep of the Sound by Amy Lane
Publisher ~ Riptide Publishing
Published ~ 15th June
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Cal McCorkle has lived in Bluewater Bay his whole life. He works two jobs to support a brother with a laundry list of psychiatric diagnoses and a great-uncle with Alzheimer’s, and his personal life amounts to impersonal hookups with his boss. He’s got no time, no ambition, and no hope. All he has is family, and they’re killing him one responsibility at a time.
Avery Kennedy left Los Angeles, his family, and his sleazy boyfriend to attend a Wolf’s Landing convention, and he has no plans to return. But when he finds himself broke and car-less in Bluewater Bay, he’s worried he’ll have to slink home with his tail between his legs. Then Cal McCorkle rides to his rescue, and his urge to run away dies a quick death.
Avery may seem helpless at first, but he can charm Cal’s fractious brother, so Cal can pretty much forgive him anything. Even being adorkable. And giving him hope. But Cal can only promise Avery “until we can’t”—and the cost of changing that to “until forever” might be too high, however much they both want it.
Meet Amy Lane
Amy Lane exists happily with her noisy family in a crumbling suburban crapmansion, and equally happily with the surprisingly demanding voices who live in her head.
She loves cats, movies, yarn, pretty colors, pretty men, shiny things, and Twu Wuv, and despises house cleaning, low fat granola bars, and vainglorious prickweenies.
She can be found at her computer, dodging housework, or simultaneously reading, watching television, and knitting, because she likes to freak people out by proving it can be done.
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for an eBook package of all of Amy Lane's backlist titles with Riptide! (Excludes The Deep of the Sound and anthologies.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 20, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!