By D. A. Charles

Today, I’m writing about the release of a new book, Shattered, by D. A. Charles. I’ll be back later with a full review, but I’ve been involved with this story, in one way or another, for nearly ten years, and I’m thrilled that the release is finally here!

As a disabled person—I am totally blind and have been since about age five—it’s frustrated me all my life that disability representation in the arts, books, movies, TV and so forth, has been so lacking. And if disabled people are there, we’re often portrayed unrealistically as helpless or superhuman. Often we are given miraculous healing that is not possible even today, and we’re almost never shown as living a real life, doing the things every person wants to do, growing up in a normal family, going to school, getting a job, falling in love. I have always wanted to change that, to do my small part and write stories and books that will show people like me in ways that anyone can relate to. My genre is romance, and my dream is to write stories with the usual romance genre foundation but with characters who just happen to be disabled, and yet the stories won’t necessarily be about the disability, or what I call the how-I-live-life-as-a-blind-person stories. This was why I wrote my fan fiction story, seeing Bella. My book release day will come soon, but today is all about my friend and what her book means to me!

In the midst of writing Seeing Bella, I came across Impact. I’d found it! Another story giving a true and believable presentation of disabled characters, but a story showing all the depth of being human, grief, anger, struggle, loneliness, despair, joy, success, romance, and love. These themes are universal, and there they were! I cared deeply about the story, deeply about the characters, and though the story dealt with their issues of dealing with new disability, the universal themes together with the disability issues, drew me in and made me love them fiercely. This was the kind of thing I’d wanted to read ever since the first time a teacher put my hands on a braille book!

I reached out to Denise and we became dear friends. We talked about many things as the story was being written. And when the time came to think about publishing it, she asked me to be part of the team. It meant the world to me that she asked, and I was committed to help her make Shattered into the best it could possible be. She is a brilliant writer with a true gift for telling us a story that will live in our souls. Today, as Shattered is released, I feel so proud, proud of and for my friend, proud that I was a part of it in some small way, and oh so joyful. To see her dream come true.

The beauty of shattered is that we can all read these characters and relate to them through our own human experience. We can learn as we grieve and cheer for them, and we can know that whatever and whoever we are, abled or disabled, any race, any nationality, any gender and sexuality, what makes us human, makes us one with each other. We’re really not that different after all. Words from a song by country singer Collin Raye say it better:

“I laugh; I love; I hope; I try,
I hurt; I need; I fear; I cry,
And I know you do the same things too,
So, we’re really not that different, me and you.”

As we read shattered and lose ourselves in the world of the book, we can all see the truth of those words, we really aren’t all that different.